- Andrew Feldman is ESPN.com’s Poker Editor. He is the host of the Poker Edge Podcast and co-host of ESPN Inside Deal. Andrew has covered the poker industry for ESPN since 2004.
Ten-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner Doyle Brunson has died at the age of 89, his family said Sunday.
“It is with a heavy heart we announce the passing of our father, Doyle Brunson,” Brunson’s family said a statement, which was posted on Twitter by Brian Balsbaugh, Brunson’s agent. “He was a beloved Christian man, husband, father and grandfather. We’ll have more to say over the coming days as we honor his legacy. Please keep Doyle and our family in your prayers. May he rest in peace.”
The cause of death was not announced.
Brunson, known as “Texas Dolly” and the “Godfather of Poker,” was a member of the Poker Hall of Fame, inducted in 1988 when he was age 54. He had more than $6 million in live tournament earnings. His endless accolades included the 10 WSOP bracelets (tied for second all time with Phil Ivey and Johnny Chan; Phil Hellmuth is tops with 16), 26 WSOP final tables and a victory on the World Poker Tour.
Brunson won the World Series of Poker main event in back-to-back years (1976 and 1977), and he made the final table of that event an additional three times. The starting hand 10-2 is known as the Doyle Brunson, as he won the WSOP main event with that hand both years.
He was rarely seen without his cowboy hat and a big smile, a look that made him stand out even more during the poker boom of the early 2000s. As he aged, his WSOP main event elimination each year became a memorable moment, as it was announced to all the players in the tournament. They rose from their chairs to offer a standing ovation to the legend as he exited the room. His last WSOP cash came in 2018, when he made the final table in the $10,000 2-7 lowball event.
Beyond the tournament, Brunson consistently played in the highest stakes cash games in the world. He was a staple on the Las Vegas poker scene for decades and taught millions more how to play through his books, “Super System” and “Super System 2.” The original “Super System” often is referred to as the bible of poker. Brunson was an ambassador for the game, and he has had numerous tournaments named in his honor.
Brunson was born in Longworth, Texas. He was a standout basketball player at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas, but knee injuries prevented him from pursuing the sport professionally.
He is survived by his wife, Louise; his son, Todd; and his daughter, Pam.
Todd Brunson is also a member of the Poker Hall of Fame; when he won his bracelet in 2005, the Brunsons became the first father-son duo to both win WSOP gold.
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