When people say things are not as good as they used to be, this usually can be translated as things were much better as I remember them when I was young and full of enthusiasm.
However, with poker, a lot can be said about the demise of characters on the circuit. Doyle Brunson, who unfortunately passed away last Sunday at the age of 89, came from an era where personalities shone and when the game wasn’t so data-driven.
Who remembers watching televised poker when the new kids on the block were Daniel Negreanu and Phil Ivey, while old stalwarts like Doyle Brunson were keen to tell them that they still had a place in the game?
This was arguably one of the most exciting periods in poker history, with shows like Poker After Dark being the reason why many players took up the game in the first place. For many, Brunson’s appearance with his Texas cowboy hat represented the old guard against the new.
As time goes on, it can be easy to dismiss Brunson’s achievements, but it would be wrong to do so. Not only was he, of course, an excellent poker champion, but he also played a big hand in making the card game become the global success it is today.
In total, Doyle Brunson has won a total of ten WSOP bracelets throughout his career. His first bracelet came in 1976 when he won the $5,000 No Limit Hold’em event, which was also the year he won the Main Event. He successfully defended his title the following year by winning the Main Event again in 1977.
Throughout his career, Doyle Brunson amassed considerable earnings, with estimates placing his total career winnings at over $6 million. A considerable amount considering the prize money during the peak of his career was not like it is today.
His achievements, though, cannot be reduced to numbers. The number of players he introduced to the game and the aggressive style he adopted, which was not so in vogue back in the day, helped develop the game further. As mentioned, all pros these days make decisions backed by statistical data, therefore, it would be unfair to compare eras. Brunson was at the top of this game during his era, and that’s all we can judge him on.
Doyle Brunson had an illustrious career, like few other poker players. He was part of the Las Vegas cash games for an incredible 50 years. In 1979, Brunson authored a highly influential book titled “Super System,” which was one of the earliest comprehensive works on poker strategy.
The book not only provided valuable insights into the game but also served as an introduction to poker for many enthusiasts. These days every poker pro appears to be eager to release a book, so Brunson was a real trendsetter here.
Doyle Brunson’s extensive experience, strategic insights, and contributions to the poker community have made him a highly respected figure in the game, earning him a lasting legacy within the world of poker.
In 1988, his contribution to the game of poker was recognized when he was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame. He may be gone, but his legacy will continue to live on.