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Poker Stories: Doyle Brunson’s Surprise WSOP Appearance

“I think the old way is definitely going away. I think all these younger players incorporate math into poker too much, in my opinion. I don’t think they put enough emphasis on reading the other player and getting inside his head.”

Doyle Brunson: he’s known as the Godfather of Poker, Texas Dolly, and the writer of Poker's original bible. If anyone is a Poker Legend, it’s him.

So when he played his last professional poker tournament in 2018, he received a standing ovation. “I am going to quit poker because I’ve been married to the most wonderful woman (Louise) in the world for 57 years, and she’s not in very good health, and I’m going to spend our last years together as much as we can,” Brunson said. “I’m 84 myself, so it wouldn’t be any big upset if I didn’t wake up some morning. We don’t have a lot of time, and I would like to spend it with her. That is my priority.”

He’s kept his word and lived a quiet retirement for the past few years. That is until recently…

Photo: PokerNews

A Legend Appears at the 2021 World Series of Poker

On Halloween 2021, poker players in the Rio casino in Vegas were shocked when Doyle scootered into the room. At first, they thought it might be someone dressed up as the hall-of-famer for the holiday, but when he sat down at the $1,000 Super Seniors No-Limit Hold’Em event, they knew it was him.

The entire room got a buzz with Brunson’s return. And from the first hand he was dealt he showed that he was here for real: he immediately raised to 1,600 chips. Unfortunately, when the big blind moved all-in, he had to muck his hand. When his opponent showed him pocket kings, Brunson smiled and moved on.

His run did not last long, however, as he busted out of the tournament in less than an hour. He shoved his last 6,000 chips into the pot with 6h4s and ran into Jana Vondach’s pocket aces, and just like that he was out. After going in with such a weak hand, we wonder if he just wanted to head home and get some rest.

Still, the players at his table were ecstatic. “I was in one hand with him, and he took my money!” said one fan. “He’s got that infectious smile, and I think all poker players look up to him,” said another.

He may not be out on the road in Texas skinning other gamblers for everything they’re worth anymore, but it’s great to see that Brunson’s love of the game led him to make a celebrity appearance at this year’s WSOP, no matter how short. We hope that he’ll continue to live a long and healthy life with his dear wife.


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