Nicknamed "Texas Dolly" after Jimmy Snyder misread "Doyle" as "Dolly", Doyle Brunson has played professional poker for over 50 years.
Doyle Brunson was born in Longsworth, Texas in 1933. After high school, he was headed for a promising career in basketball, after having been scouted by the then Minneapolis Lakers and with a basketball scholarship to Hardin-Simmons University. However, just before the NBA draft, Brunson shattered his knee. Although he went on to earn a masters degree in administrative education, his knee injury put an early end to his hopes of a professional basketball career.
After graduating, Brunson secured a job as a business machines salesman. Rumour has it that on his first day, he was invited to play in a Seven-Card Stud game, in which he won over a month’s salary in around three hours. Not long after, he quit to become a full-time poker player.
Doyle Brunson’s early poker experience came from illicit gambling dens of the South, where he apparently won hundreds of thousands of dollars. During his touring as a rounder, he met up with the now legendary Amarillo Slim and Sailor Roberts. The players teamed up and would pool resources for gambling. After a trip to Las Vegas, they lost a six-figure amount, and the partnership broke up.
Brunson eventually settled in Las Vegas, and began participating in official poker tournaments, with huge success.
In both 1976 and 1977, Brunson won the world poker championships, and became the first poker player to win $1 million in tournaments. He went on to finish second in 1980. In total, he has won six World Series of Poker events.
In 1978, Brunson’s famous How I Won A Million Dollars Playing Poker (also known as Super/System: A Course in Power Poker) was published. This book is still often seen as the "poker bible", and many top players swear by some of the poker strategies it outlines. For over ten years, Brunson also wrote the According to Doyle column for the Gambling Times magazine.
Most recently, Doyle Brunson won the Seven-Card Stud Razz tournament in 1998. In 1999, he made the final table, against almost 500 poker players, for the inaugural Tournament of Champions.
Doyle Brunson currently lives in Las Vegas and continues to play poker at the Bellagio.