Godfather of Poker: Doyle Brunson

There is no poker player who has had a bigger influence on the game than Doyle Brunson. There may be younger players today who are better known than him but it was Doyle Brunson more than anybody else who made poker popular, he was the games first true star. Despite the fact that he is now pushing eighty years of age he is still a regular at the biggest poker tournaments in the world.

Header image from USA Today.

Doyle Brunson was born and raised in a small town in Texas where as a child he was a very good athlete. He was so good in fact that at one point he was looking at a career in the NBA until he got injured while working at his summer job. With this dreams of being a professional athlete over Brunson returned to school where he would eventually get a Masters degree.

It was while he was at college that Brunson started to get into poker. Had first started playing the game when he was younger but that was mainly just for fun, it was while he was at college that he started to realize that he could make real money at poker. After getting his degree he held a job for a little while but he also started playing poker professionally, it did not take him long to realize that he could make more money at poker than he could working so he quit his job in order to take up the game full time.

When Doyle Brunson first started playing poker professionally things were very different than they are today. He mainly played in back room games around Texas. Of course these games were illegal and they tended to attract some pretty shady characters. Brunson had to start carrying a gun to the games just to protect himself. After playing in these games for a few years Doyle Brunson realized that if he wanted to be a professional poker player he would have to move to Las Vegas which is what he did. Once he got to Vegas he quickly developed a reputation as one of the top players in town.

Although Doyle Brunson was well known in the world of poker before there were any poker tournaments it was the World Series of Poker that made him famous. He won the main event back to back times in the seventies and has a record ten bracelets total. He continues to play in and win major poker tournaments to this day and is widely recognized as the most influential poker player of all time. This is in part because of the huge success that he has had in tournaments and in part because the book that he wrote to teach people how to play the game has become a classic.

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