Doyle “Texas Dolly” Brunson (born August 10, 1933 in Longworth, Texas) is an American poker player who has played professionally for over 40 years. He is a former world champion of poker and the author of several poker books.
The first player to earn $1 million in poker tournaments, Brunson has won ten World Series of Poker bracelets throughout his career, tied with Johnny Chan for the record. He is also one of only four players to have won consecutive main events at the World Series of Poker, in 1976 and 1977. Doyle Brunson used runs his own online poker room named DoylesRoom.
Doyle Brunson was born in Longworth, Texas, a town with a population of approximately 100, and was one of three children in his family. Because of Longworth's size, Doyle Brunson frequently ran long distances to other towns, and became a promising athlete. He was part of the All-State Texas basketball team, and practiced the one-mile run to keep in shape in the off-season.
Although he was more interested in basketball than running, he entered the 1950 Texas Interscholastic Track Meet and won the one-mile event with a time of 4:38. Despite receiving offers from many colleges, he decided to attend Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas because it was close to his home. The Minneapolis Lakers were interested in Doyle Brunson, but a knee injury ended his playing days.
He had taken a summer job and was unloading some sheet rock at work. When the ton of weight shifted, Doyle Brunson attempted to stop the shift with his leg out of instinct, but it landed on his leg, breaking it in two places. His leg was in a cast for two years, and the injury ended his hopes of becoming a professional basketball player. He still occasionally requires a crutch to get around because of the injury. Brunson changed his focus from athletics to education and obtained a master's degree in administrative education.
Brunson had begun playing poker before his injury, playing five card draw and finding it “easy”, and he began to play more often after being injured. His poker winnings paid for his expenses, and he obtained a bachelor's degree in 1954 and a master's the following year. After graduating, he took a job as a business machines salesman, but on his first day in the job he was invited to play in a seven-card stud game and earned over a month's salary in under three hours.
He soon left the company and began a career as a professional poker player. Brunson started off by playing in illegal games in Exchange Street, Fort Worth, Texas with a friend named Dwayne Hamilton. Eventually they began traveling around Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana, playing in bigger games, and met fellow-professionals Amarillo Slim and Sailor Roberts. Hamilton moved back to Fort Worth, while the others teamed up and traveled around together, gambling on poker, golf and, in Doyle's words, “just about everything”.
They pooled their money together for gambling, but after six years they made their first serious trip to Las Vegas and lost all of it, a six-figure amount. They decided to stop playing as partners but remain friends. Brunson finally settled in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Other than his poker success, his greatest achievement is probably the book that is considered to be the bible of poker: Super/System. Originally self-published in 1978, Super/System was the book that transformed poker by giving ordinary players an insight into the way that the professionals like Doyle Brunson played and won, so much so that Brunson believes that having written the book cost him a lot of money. An up-to-date sequel to Super/System was published in 2004.
Besides Brunson, several top poker players contributed chapters to Super/System including Bobby Baldwin, Mike Caro, David Sklansky, Chip Reese and Joey Hawthorne. The book is subtitled “How I made one million dollars playing poker“, by Doyle Doyle Brunson. Brunson is also the author of Poker Wisdom of a Champion, originally published as According to Doyle by Lyle Stuart in 1984