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WSOP: Doyle Brunson’s family, friends share memories of poker legend


Gabe Kaplan turned enthusiastic about poker after Doyle Brunson received his second straight World Collection of Poker Essential Occasion in 1977.

Finally, the actor and comic ventured to the Horseshoe throughout the WSOP and met Brunson for the primary time.

As a gesture of friendship, Brunson gifted Kaplan a replica of his poker technique ebook “Tremendous System” and wrote an inscription inside.

“After which he mentioned, ‘This ebook I’m promoting for $100, however I would like you to have it at no cost as my reward to you,’ ” Kaplan recalled. “That free $100 ebook within the final 40 years has value me $35 million.”

Brunson was remembered for his religion, fearsome negotiating expertise on the golf course and character throughout a celebration of life Sunday. A close to capability crowd gathered in Jubilee Theater at Horseshoe Las Vegas as family and friends shared reminiscences of Brunson.

The longtime Las Vegas resident and one in all poker’s most influential gamers of all time died Could 14 at 89.

Brunson began taking part in poker in unlawful backroom video games in Texas within the Fifties and recorded 54 consecutive successful poker classes in 1963, in response to his agent, Brian Balsbaugh. His 10 WSOP victories are tied for second all time, and he additionally earned a World Poker Tour title in 2004 to go along with hundreds of thousands of {dollars} extra in money video games and on the golf course.

Brunson was inducted into the Poker Corridor of Fame in 1988 and was one of many stars of the televised poker growth throughout the 2000s.

“We’ve heard all through our lives how gamers get fortunate in sure video games. What we don’t hear is when the video games get fortunate,” poker TV producer Mori Eskandani mentioned. “Baseball bought fortunate when Babe Ruth hit his first dwelling run. Boxing bought fortunate when Muhammad Ali knocked out his first opponent. Poker bought fortunate when Doyle Brunson dragged his first pot.”

Brunson was identified for his uncommon enterprise ventures, together with a seek for Noah’s Ark. The religious Christian purchased a non secular TV station in Cellular, Alabama, and likewise spent hundreds of {dollars} together with his spouse, Louise, to put in water wells in Africa.

Throughout the early days of the WSOP, Brunson organized bible research and paid to herald well-known preachers, in response to buddy and enterprise companion Dewey Tomko.

“From 6 o’clock to 7 o’clock on daily basis, we might stand up from the desk and go to the bible examine, come again at 7 o’clock and folks had been screaming at us, ‘The place’d you go?’ ” Tomko mentioned. “This lasted for a reasonably very long time. Finally the World Collection of Poker outgrew us.”

Whereas Brunson was finest identified for his poker expertise, he additionally was a famend bettor on the golf course. Brunson’s son, Todd, recalled his father waking up every day and getting on the cellphone to discover a golf match, then taking part in 54 holes within the Las Vegas warmth earlier than a late-night poker session.

Six-time WSOP winner Daniel Negreanu remembered one occasion at Shadow Creek when Brunson and poker star Phil Ivey wouldn’t budge whereas negotiating the phrases of the guess, and the group by no means teed off.

“I’m not saying that Doyle was a troublesome bargainer, but when he was a hostage negotiator, there’d be a whole lot of useless folks in all places,” mentioned Kaplan, drawing large laughter from the viewers.

Brunson received each of his Essential Occasion titles with the 10-2 hand, and Balsbaugh proposed to make Oct. 2 referred to as Doyle Brunson Day in celebration of poker.

Todd Brunson capped the ceremony with a narrative about his father’s involvement in The Highlands Membership, a web based poker web site within the early 2000s. The location was utilizing participant deposits for day-to-day bills, in response to Todd Brunson, and there was no cash to pay the buyers when it shut down.

“I feel my dad owned 40 % of the location, however he took 100% of the accountability and paid again all of the buyers,” Brunson mentioned. “It’s one thing he by no means talked about, by no means took credit score for. However you cease and take into consideration that, he wasn’t accountable. His title wasn’t on that web site. That was actually a tremendous factor, in my view, that he did.”

Contact David Schoen at or 702-387-5203. Observe @DavidSchoenLVRJ on Twitter.


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