Doyle Brunson

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Doyle Brunson after he lost his hair when an Ace fell on the river, for someone else instead

Doyle "Dolly" Brunson (born 1933), also known as Doyle Dolly and Sergeant Bilko, is a legendary American professional poker player, a failed prop bettor and gambler, author, and World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet collector. He is the first player to win over $1 million (US dollars) in poker tournaments, and probably invested more than that in entry fees. Brunson has won a remarkable ten World Series Of Poker bracelets while roped to Johnny Chan, and in recent years whipped Phil "Hellmouth" Hellmuth's behind with a superior brain. In 2003, Playboy Magazine voted Doyle Brunson "Dolly Of The Year."

Early life[edit]

Dolly Dealing, Brunson's best-selling book, sold more copies than The Bible since 1990. This book taught millions exactly how he plays, and probably ended up costing him money

Doyle was born the seventh son on the seventh day from a riverboat gambler, in a town with a name and population not much different than most other small towns. Like most gamblers, Doyle was a quick learner, learning to run before he could walk and learning to lose before he could win. His father raised him (in poker games) from the age of 15 months, and being too young to say "fold," Doyle had lost over $14 playing draw poker with his father by the age of three. Unable to run away if he lost, Doyle was forced to learn how to play poker properly, and quickly became highly skilled at predicting what cards his opponents had by reading their faces.

At the age of four, Dolly began writing his first book on poker titled "Dolly Dealing," which included the groundbreaking “going all in to find out where you’re at” betting move.

Gambling career[edit]

In 1943 he cleaned out his entire family by winning a "friendly" holiday home game and left home to become a gambler. He teamed up with others like Armadillo Slender, Sailor Roberts, Tailor Tim, Action Man and a boy named Sue. Together they built the world's first gambling training center which they named "The Valley Of Dreams" (Las Vegas).

By the age of 14, Doyle had won more than $6,000,000 playing poker (despite the fact that he published a book revealing exactly how he plays, and losing more than that years later) and he would have been able to retire if he hadn't lost a lot more betting on golf, basketball, cricket, golf, rugby, craps, roulette, snooker, swimming, tennis, darts, volleyball, soccer, bowls, baseball, slots, blackjack, pigeon racing, croquet, politics, badminton, athletics, horse racing, greyhound racing, NASCAR, and fantasy football.

In 1967, his poker friends split up after a major fight over which type of poker was the most profitable. Doyle and Sailor preferred the trendy new game of Texas Hold 'Em. Doyle liked Hold 'Em because sharing five community cards amongst all the players meant that you could squeeze more than twenty suckers onto a single table, as in craps. The other players wanted the gang to start playing in H.O.R.S.E games because "horses" (suckers) would often often simply fold their hands, as it was less embarrassing than trying to pick up their cards and act like they knew how to play.

The nickname[edit]

Dolly's First Bracelet

In true poker player style, Doyle is remarkably vague about how he got his nickname and even which of his names is real. Some say his nickname is “Brunson” and it comes from the sound of a man saying “Better Run Son” in a Texas drawl, or that his real nickname is “Dolly” because his poker face looks just like a Cabbage Patch doll.

Doyle's WSOP bracelets[edit]

Year Event Details Prize Won Pawn Value
1941 Birthday Present Candy Bracelet+ Matias was here prize 2000000£ nil (eaten 1941)
1943 $10 Brunson Family Festive Freezeout $98 + No washing up for year + Grannie's Medi-Alert Bracelet n/a (lost c1948)
1976 $10,000 No Limit Holy Grail World Championship $230,000 $11 (damaged)
1977 $5,000 Omegawd Howdecall $80,367 $2 (plated)
1977 $10,000 NLHE Whirled Championship $340,000 $2,000
1978 $5 Rebuy Rileys Snooker Club $413.26 $2
1982 $500 Deuces Wild Chase The Ace Warm-Up $183,000 $200

The pawn values stated above are guide values only and actual offers may vary from those shown. Information correct at time of invention. No responsibility accepted for errors or omissions. Your bracelet is at risk if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage or other loan secured on it. Your bracelet is not at risk if you do not own one or do not use it to secure loans to go gambling. You may not get the whole bracelet back if you do not repay the full amount borrowed plus interest and administration fees by the agreed date. Uncollected items may be scrapped, auctioned, left outside a charity shop to be collected by eastern europeans or otherwise disposed of.


Brunson Burner

In 1968 Doyle invented the “Brunson Burner” – a portable pocket sized device that enabled playing cards to be burned safely during poker games without requiring the dealer to fold his hand. This simple invention is credited with the eradication of dealer’s claw syndrome, a condition so prevalent in Las Vegas and poker rooms worldwide, that it almost caused the collapse of the gaming industry in 1970.

The Brunson Burner, in its original form, fell out of use in 1973 when, in an effort to reduce the carbon footprint of poker, physical card burning was replaced by fingernail-scraping.

The patent rights for the Brunson Burner were lost by Doyle during the only World Series of Poker game he ever lost in 1980 when he played against a "Mr. Zippo" in an unbroken session lasting a record breaking 13 months and 6 3/4 minutes. Zippo eventually won when Doyle went all in with A Q and lost to Zippo’s 10 2s.

In a remarkable exchange of fortunes, Zippo ended up selling Brunson Burners as cigarette lighters and running a circus, whille Doyle famously went on to win the Texas Hold Em Main Event at the World Series Of Poker twice (1976 and 1977) while using Zippo’s ruse of declaring an unbeatable hand of ten twos.

Famous Brunson hands and how to use them[edit]

Hand Name Blinds UTG Early Middle Late
Lh Left Used to shield cards when peking Used to steal from the blind Used for intimidating chip tricks Used to support chin Used to push all of one's chips in
Rh Right Used to post blinds Used to fold cards Used to tap table when checking Used to cover mouth to conceal teeth tells Used to play other players (never play your cards)
T2s Trash Check or call any bet Raise the blinds to let more light in Lower the blinds to allow check in the dark Go “All In” to find out where you're at Limp and blame it on gypsy factory accident
AA5 Dunkley Raise one chip less than your opponent has Go "All In" making speech about being bored Bet with string and make splash in pot Bluff fold to river straight Limp raise turnip shouting "Ship it country boy!"
AQo Junk Try to fold, fail and call any raise Try to fold, fail and limp Try to fold, fail and raise Try to fold, fail and re-raise Try to fold, fail and trap call
Axs Costalot Act weak, call any bet Raise minimum, if she calls fold Dummy fold for info, limp, call Whistle and raise using blue chips Say check and see what happens ! (at least on the button)