Doyle Brunson — Part I

Doyle Brunson is a living legend in the poker world. He is a two-time world champion, a member of the Poker Hall of Fame, and an inaugural inductee into the World Poker Tour Walk of Fame. He also wrote Super/System, what many (including me) consider the greatest book ever written on poker.

Among gamblers, Doyle has always been “the man.” Why? Well, to put it simply, Doyle creates “action.” His philosophy and the creed by which he lives is, “You have to give action to get action,” and nobody does it better. If you want action, whether it’s playing poker, betting on golf matches, wagering on a sporting event, or proposition betting on anything, Doyle is your man.

I first met Doyle nearly 30 years ago. I was living in North Carolina and was making my first trip to Las Vegas. I stayed with Danny Robison (with whom I grew up) and Chip Reese, two guys from Dayton, Ohio, who were dominating Vegas poker at that time. They were young rich guys living the dream life in Vegas.

After arriving and taking a tour of their house (which was incredible), I asked Danny, “What’s on tap for tomorrow?”

He answered, “I’ve got a big golf match — a $10,000 nassau (meaning bets on the front nine, back nine, and total) with one automatic press a side.”

I said, “Really; with whom?”

He said, “I’m playing a guy who weighs 400 pounds!”

I queried, “How many strokes are you giving him?”

He answered, “Half a shot a side.”

I couldn’t believe what I had just heard! I couldn’t believe it because Danny was a great athlete in high school and excelled at golf. He was the number one player on a high school state championship golf team and received a golf scholarship to college. To me, Danny giving anyone half a shot a side (a minimal spot) seemed like a great bet, let alone a guy who weighed 400 pounds!

Still reeling in disbelief, I said, “No one in the world anywhere near that size can beat you at golf with half a shot a side.”

He chuckled and said, “Believe me, this will be a tough match. You’re welcome to have a piece of my action if you’d like.”

I thought I had died and gone to heaven. My entire bankroll and life savings ($2,500) was in my pocket. I took $500 of his action and couldn’t sleep that night thinking of my “sure thing.”

The next morning, we headed out to the Las Vegas Country Club. It was there that I met Mr. Doyle Brunson. I was mesmerized as I watched Doyle. The match was played from the back tees, and Doyle shot 72 (even par). He beat Danny for four bets (and me for $2,000). Although Doyle was the enemy and I hated him that day, I couldn’t help but admire the guy. Needless to say, I learned a lot that first day in Las Vegas. More about situs poker online

Doyle grew up in Texas, thus the handle “Texas Dolly.” His poker skills are well-known, but I was stunned by his athletic talent. In high school, he was an all-state basketball player and a track star in the mile run. He was headed for a pro basketball career when he injured his knee in his final year in college. Then and now, I can think of only one word for Doyle: amazing.

In my next column, I’ll tell you my favorite Doyle Brunson story.

Take care.