The Godfather of poker and two-time WSOP Main Event champion.
One of poker's most experienced and respected poker players, with decades of success in the highest stakes cash games and tournaments, Doyle Brunson has won ten WSOP bracelets, was the first poker player to win $1,000,000 in tourney poker and was a regular on the Vegas circuit until recently.
Born in 1933 in a small town in Texas, Brunson was going to be a professional basketball player, but after a foot injury he traded basketball for green felt and cards. In the '60s he travelled across America in search of good underground games - the Mafia was always around, so a fight at the poker table often turned into a conflict outside it. As Brunson himself recalled, he was repeatedly shot at and robbed, and staying alive in those years was almost as difficult as winning in poker.
By the 70s Brunson had moved to Las Vegas and become a regular in the most expensive games and was part of the genesis of the first World Series tournaments. He became truly famous after winning two major tournaments in 1976 and 1977, both by a strange coincidence. - In an amazing coincidence, he won both times with a T-2, which has since become known as the Brunson Hand. He is even more famous for 'The Super System', one of the first poker strategy books to teach tens of thousands of players the intricacies of poker.
What does it take to become a really great gambler? Firstly, a desire, and perhaps a need or even an obsession to win money. It takes a special instinct to make money with poker. Great players rarely come from a wealthy background. If a player has a lot of money, he usually sees the game as a sport. In addition, you must not only understand the game, but also be able to apply your knowledge at the table. This is probably one of the main differences between good and great players.
To play poker, you need to train your character, otherwise you won't be able to cope with periods when nothing works and everything is against you. Poker, especially at high limits, requires extreme concentration. Before you get into a serious game, get your priorities straight. If there are problems in your life, resolve them before you start playing. I learned this lesson the hard way. I've only had four really big downswings in my life, and each one came in the wake of life issues that kept me from concentrating at the table.
Sometimes I wonder why I started playing poker in the first place. It's an exciting, educational, inspiring, motivating and emotional adventure that has given me so much and continues to to this day. And I am thankful that I followed that path, or accepted the path that was meant for me, and did not turn my back on the opportunities that fate was sending my way. I continue to play poker because it energises me and keeps my mind from getting old. Sure, the money remains part of the motivation, but so does that adrenaline when the last card is turned over, that indecision for a moment while your brain processes the information, and the joy of winning when the chips are pushed in your direction.
But I became a professional player for another reason. I play poker because of freedom. I'm my own boss, I live by my own schedule, I choose my own friends and enemies. I'm as free as a cloud in a bright blue sky. That's the most beautiful thing in a player's life - freedom...