Before Daniel Negreanu was clinically predicting the cards of his opponents. Prior to Phil Hellmuth going nuclear after a bad beat. There was Doyle Brunson. The old guy with the cowboy hat was a fixture at the World Series Of Poker and poker tournaments throughout the world. Today, Texas Dolly passed away at the age of 89.

Doyle was a legend in the game, appearing on some of the earliest televised World Series Of Poker tournaments in the 1970s. In fact, Brunson is one of only four people to have won the Main Event at the tournament more than once. He won back to back, in 1976 and 1977. That’s just one of several incredible feats he as accomplished in poker.

As a kid, he was less about the cards and more about sports. He was all-state in basketball while growing up in Texas and was nearly picked up by the then-Minneapolis Lakers if it weren’t for breaking his leg.

A hobbled leg led Doyle Brunson to the poker table

With his NBA dreams dashed, Doyle doubled down on poker. He quit his day to day job and went “all in” on playing cards professionally. Well, as professionally as you can when you’re playing illegal games. Surrounded by fraudsters and mobsters, he eventually ended up in Las Vegas and the rest is history. 26 final tables at the WSOP is no fluke.

Giants of the poker world have been paying their condolences. For many, it was Doyle who sparked that interest for them. Be it through his televised glory or his incredibly popular “Super System” book which is widely regarded as one of the best books to ever explain the game.

We bid adieu to the king of pocket kings…

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