Legendary poker player Doyle Brunson is being mourned the world over after passing at the age of 89. Nicknamed “Texas Dolly” and “The Godfather of Poker”, Brunson was – without a shadow of a doubt – one of the greatest and most influential players the game has ever known. He first rose to fame in the 1970s and was still playing until very recently including last year’s WSOP Main Event.
Brunson’s extraordinary legacy includes winning two WSOP Main Event titles and a further eight WSOP bracelet events, a ton of TV appearances on shows like High Stakes Poker and Poker After Dark and involvement in the highest stakes cash games in Vegas for more than 50 years. He was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 1988.
Dolly was an inspiration to generations of poker players and played an integral role in poker becoming mainstream in the 2000s. His books Super System and Super System 2 remain two of the most significant poker strategy books written. A proud Texan all his life, he was recognisable the world over in his trademark Stetson cowboy hat and even had a poker hand named after him. Ten-deuce is often referred to as “The Dolly” as it’s the hand that won him two back-to-back WSOP Main Event titles in 1976 and 1977. In 2006, after Super/System 2 was published, Brunson was voted the most influential force in poker by Bluff Magazine. Most recently, he served as an ambassador for the World Poker Tour. His total live tournament winnings amounted to more than $6 million.
Brunson at the Irish Open
Brunson competed twice at the Irish Open. His first visit was in 1984 when he was one of a large group of American players invited to compete at the event by founder Terry Rogers. The group also included the reigning World Series of Poker champion Tom McEvoy as well as Chip Reese and two-time World Champion Stu Ungar. The attendance of these high-profile, high-flying Americans attracted widespread news coverage in Ireland and helped put the Irish Poker Open firmly on the map.
In 2008, Brunson competed at the Irish Open for a second time. He said at the time: “I’ve been looking forward to coming back to Ireland ever since I visited my good friend Terry Rogers many years ago. I had a great time. My great, great grandparents were Irish, and I’m trying to find out exactly where they came from.”
Paul O’Reilly, co-organiser of the Irish Open, said: “We are very sad to learn of Doyle’s passing. He was a poker hero to so many players all over the world and we are honoured that he played the Irish Open twice. His attendance in 1984 at Killarney Castle was one of the main reasons that the event got so much attention and really helped establish the Irish Open’s reputation as a must-play tournament. We extend our condolences to his family and all his many friends. RIP Dolly”