Poker Community Reacts as Legendary Poker Pro Doyle Brunson Dies At 89

Date IconLast Updated : Aug 4th, 2023
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Poker Community Reacts as Legendary Poker Pro Doyle Brunson Dies At 89
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Known by some of Texas Dolly and others as the Godfather, Doyle Brunson was, and always will be, the embodiment of poker.

News of his death was made public on May 14. The Brunson family issued a statement via poker agent, Brian Balsbaugh.

“It is with a heavy heart we announce the passing of our father, Doyle Brunson,” the statement reads. “He was a beloved Christian man, husband, father and grandfather. We’ll have more to say over the coming days as we honor his legacy. Please keep Doyle and our family in your prayers. May he rest in peace. Sincerely, the Brunson Family,” 

It’s believed Brunson passed away in a Las Vegas hospital, but the family have said they’ll provide more information in the coming days.

Brunson Did it All in Poker

Brunson not only walked the walk at the highest level, he talked the talk or, more specifically, he wrote the words that inspired generations.  

Brunson’s “Super/System” and “Super/System 2”are seminal poker strategy books. The first, published in 1979, included poker secrets from Brunson and poker advice from pros such as Mike Caro, Chip Reese, Bobby Baldwin and David Sklansky. 

Brunson’s tips in the first book include advice on playing aggressively with the right hands. That advice went against the grain in the 1970s through the ‘90s, when tight-is-right poker strategy was the norm. Of course, Brunson’s ability to go against the  grain was one of the reasons he made millions. 

Subsequent generations took Brunson’s advice and ran with it. “Super/System 2” advanced the average skill level in poker another notch, but Brunson still had a few tricks up his sleeve.

From his days as a Texas road gambler who found his way to Las Vegas, Brunson achieved everything there is to achieve in poker.

Iconic in Every Generation

Over the years, Brunson won 10 World Series of Poker bracelets, including the main event twice. He also picked up a World Poker Tour title along the way, as well as $6.1 million in tournament earnings. 

Brunson was a regular in Bobby’s Room at the Bellagio hotel-casino on the Las Vegas Strip. The stakes there routinely reach five-figure sums, and million-dollar-swings aren’t uncommon. Brunson’s ability to win in these games over multiple decades is a testament to his skill.

Beating The Average Pro

In the 1980s and ‘90s, professional poker might not have been too hard for a dedicated player with a bit of flair. But once the internet introduced millions of people to the game, professional poker became more difficult. Brunson remained steadfast, even in the face of an uber-aggressive generation of online poker players. 

This alone is reason to be called the GOAT. However, Brunson wasn’t just a phenomenal poker player. He was quick with a quip and always made time for fans. 

If you go through old episodes of High Stakes Poker (see video above), you’ll see and hear the best of Brunson the poker player and talker. 

Gone But Not Forgotten

News of Brunson’s passing was always going to hit the community hard, so the outpouring of respect on social media over the last few days comes as no surprise.

Everyone, from famous pros to casual fans have paid tribute to Brunson. 

Brunson’s career spanned more than 50 years. As Norman Chad pointed out, his arc was “unequaled” and, moreover, helped define poker as a game. 


The poker community has lost a great man, but his legend will never die. Through his accomplishments, writing, quick wit and warming smile, Doyle Brunson will forever be remembered.