WPT: Hello, Dolly

Oct 5, 2004 1:35 PM

A tournament honoring Doyle Brunson, one of poker’s all-time greats, will debut this month at Bellagio in Las Vegas.

The Doyle Brunson North American Poker Championship, the 16th tourney on the World Poker Tour (WPT), will take place Oct. 19-22.

"This is particularly fitting," said WPT founder and President Steve Lipscomb. "We at the WPT who have helped transform the world of poker are standing on the shoulders of others who have carried the game to this point. Who better to honor than Doyle Brunson, who so selflessly gave away his poker secrets in writing Super/System, the bible of poker instruction, in order to improve everyone else’s game? We elected to conduct this event in Doyle’s adopted hometown of Las Vegas in its inaugural year. Doyle will be surrounded by friends and family as he plays in his namesake tournament."

With five decades of experience at the table, Brunson remains one of the most venerable names in poker. To this day a legend of the game, Doyle "Texas Dolly" Brunson made a name for himself playing in back room, high-stakes poker games in rough-and-tumble Texas towns, before continuing on to win nine World Series gold bracelets.

Brunson authored the acclaimed book "Super/System: How I Made Over $1 Million Playing Poker" and recently won The Legends of Poker at the Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles, a tournament scheduled to air during the WPT’s upcoming third season in 2005.

Born in Longworth, Texas, Brunson grew up on the West Texas plains playing basketball — not poker. The talented youth had his heart set on becoming a professional athlete and was drafted by the NBA’s Minneapolis Lakers (the predecessor to the L.A. Lakers), but a knee injury ultimately destroyed his basketball dreams. While earning a degree in education from Hardin Simmons University in Abilene, Texas, Brunson traveled from university to university playing poker for extra cash.

After graduation, Brunson took a full-time job selling adding machines and bookkeeping equipment, but it became evident he could make more money with his poker skills. Quitting to become a "rounder"— making the rounds from one poker game to another — Brunson honed his skills and developed a reputation as a fearsome competitor.

Soon his consistent winning made invitations less forthcoming. Moving to Las Vegas in the 1960s, Brunson found a place where he could play high stakes poker in cash games with players from around the world. In 1976 he won his first World Series title, and he captured the title again the very next year with the exact same hand, 10-2, which has since become known as a "Doyle Brunson."

The next stop on the World Poker Tour, the Doyle Brunson North American Poker Championship, will be the sixth stop this season. The tour has already awarded over $11 million in prize money to date in season three.

The season three shows will begin airing on the Travel Channel in March 2005. To play in a World Poker Tour event, visit www.worldpokertour.com for the complete 2004-2005 Tournament Schedule and casino contacts.