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Poker News | People in Poker | Poker Superstars

Doyle Brunson AKA Texas Dolly

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Interview with Doyle Brunson - taken from Poker Books
Part 1: The Legend Returns to the Arena

With a staccato of barks and energetic yo-yo jumps, Casper and Cutie greeted us at the front door of Doyle Brunson's elegant home in Las Vegas. During the hour that Linda Johnson and I spent with the legendary gambler, his two petite canine companions never left his side, the tiny white poodle snuggling in his lap and the even whiter bichon draping himself over his master's shoulders in the comfort of a massive, leather easy chair. It was a time to relax and reminisce about the good ol' days, to talk about the book, the World Series, golf, and sports handicapping with a living legend ... a time to just sit back and enjoy the easy company of a gracious Southern gentleman who's been there, done that, in the world of high-stakes gambling, much like those fun times my cousins and I used to spend as children listening to Uncle Dewey spin his colorful yarns.

Brunson created some waves this year at the World Series of Poker when, after a 20-year hiatus from tournament competition, he made a triumphant return to the arena where he previously had won so many battles, including back-to-back victories in the championship event in '76 and '77. With the indomitable spirit of a world-class competitor, Brunson won the 1998 razz title (his eighth gold bracelet), placed second in the pot-limit Omaha event, and came in third in the deuce to seven draw tournament, bringing the number of his final-table finishes to 19 and edging him up to the fourth rung on the Top Money Winners ladder.

But poker isn't the only game in which the legendary gambler excels. When Johnson and I interviewed him, Brunson had just won a big-money golf match in which he and Mike Sexton took on Huck Seed and Howard Lederer. We began at the first tee and then moved on to poker talk at the later greens.

Linda Johnson: Congratulations on your golf bet. It's been the talk of the poker community.

Doyle Brunson:
Has it? I haven't played in several years, but they (Seed and Lederer) offered us a game that I thought we just had to play, so I went out and practiced for about a week. I didn't think we could lose at it -- we won, but it was a lot closer than I thought it would be.

Dana Smith: What was the game they offered you?

DB:
It was a scramble. Mike and I would be taking our best shot between the two of us, and Huck and Howard would be taking their best shot. But they were shooting from the blue tees and we were playing from the red tees, the ladies' tees.

DS:
They're more advanced golfers than you and Sexton?

DB: Well, I'll tell you the truth ... not really. I don't know how they figured they could win: I guess because it's been so long since I've played. But I was better than any of them, you know, when I was playing quite a bit.

DS:
They figured you were over-the-hill?!

LJ:
The way I heard it, it came down to the 16th hole and you made a 35-foot putt that unnerved them. And then their tee off from the next hole wasn't too good.

DB: Yes, after that putt we won the next two holes and came out winner by one stroke. Actually, I didn't think it would be that close, but they really played well.

DS:
Did you have a big wager riding on the deal?

DB: The total bets amounted to almost a half of a $million. We had a gallery going around with us -- there must have been 20 or 30 carts out there with 50 to 100 people, and a lot of them were betting. I bet it, of course, but lots of people took parts of it.

DS: You wound up winning, but it looks as though it took quite a toll on your knee.

DB: Yes, I've been using a crutch ever since I played. I don't think it tore anything ... just weakened it. My leg needs to be rebroken and then reset, but I'm postponing that for as long as I can. I broke it when I was 20 years old playing basketball and it never healed properly, so it's gotten progressively worse over the years.

DS: Your golf bets have been rather legendary over the years. Dewey Tomko told me about the days when you used to beat up on him when he was still an elementary school teacher.

DB: He only told you about the one time that I really beat him. I mean, he beat me many times; he's probably one of the few people who's winner over me at golf. He likes to make it sound like he's the victim, but he's not. There is a certain group that are what I call the money players among the gamblers ... me, Dewey, Billy Walters was really good, a guy named Lefty Bennett from Nashville ... Tommy Fisher was great for the money ... and Sexton's pretty good. He's never played really high, though, like some of us did, but then, not too many people have done that. But I mean, he really played well in our match. They made out like I did the playing. I hit a few shots, sure, but Mike did the playing ... he was the backbone. And he had practiced for a long time for the match, too.

LJ: What's the biggest golf bet you've ever made?

DB: I don't know ... I've had a lot of $300,000-$400,000 matches. In this particular one with Sexton, we had $168,000 on a five-way Nassau with two down presses. That's about $800,000 you could've won if you'd won every bet that was possible ... or lost. It's pretty hard to win that decisively, to win every bet. I actually thought we'd win them all, but we only won two out of the five bets, $336,000.

LJ: At the BARGE convention last week, Mike Caro told the story about when you were going to write Super/System and you went out and purchased almost an entire publishing company, spending incredible amounts of money just to get the book published. What's the story on that?

DB: Of course, we had planned to publish more books, but it didn't quite work out that way.

DS: Did you ever break even on Super/System?

DB: Probably by now, maybe (with a grin).

DS: Caro's doing some updating on it now, right?

DB: He says he is (smiling). We've been updating it now for four or five years and I don't think we've made much progress.

LJ: It certainly has become the Bible in the poker industry. What inspired you to do it?

DB: There were publishing companies that wanted me to write it and they'd publish the book, but I'd heard horror stories about guys writing books and never being paid their royalties. I decided that I would do it, but I said, "You have to let me distribute the books. I can get them printed as cheaply as you can, so I'll have them printed and give them to you and then I'll know how many books you've sold." But they wouldn't even consider that, so I thought well, hell, I'll just do it all myself. Then I set up a publishing company and bought all these machines and things.

DS:
You bought an entire printing press?!

DB: Yeah, we had it all. We rented a building and hired a staff, about 12 employees. Then we brought a guy in to market it and we ran ads in every major newspaper in America, I guess. Then we found out that at $100 a book, the market was pretty limited. I guess that was kind of the beginning of the end. We weren't making enough money to keep the thing going, so we decided to close it down. Of course, I was having some problems with my partner, too, so I finally just bought him out and closed the business. That's how it's become what it is today ... you know, just a few outlets that sell it.

LJ:
Mike also talked about the times when you and Bobby Baldwin and he would get together to write, saying that you often would go out and play poker instead. So, one of you came up with the brilliant idea of renting a boat and going out on Lake Tahoe to write. Would you like to take it from there?

DB: Well, we did that. We got a boat and went out in the middle of the lake and it was a hot day. I'd never been in a lake like Tahoe that's about 60 degrees on top ... you feel it and it's just cool, but if you go down below the surface it's icy cold. So after we'd been out there for a while, I decided I was going to go for a swim. "You'd better not," Mike said. "It's cold." I dived off into the water and it was real cold, and naturally, I was ready to get back up in the boat right away. I'm sure Mike elaborated on how I sounded when I came up out of the water.

LJ: Yes, and your apparel ... or the lack thereof. Did you get back in the boat OK?

DB: Yes, but I'm sure Mike also told you that I almost capsized it.

LJ:
He said that you didn't care about saving two poker players from drowning, you just wanted to get out of that freezing water.

DB: It was very stimulating, to say the least.

LJ: How many books have you sold so far?

DB: I think we're in the eighth or ninth edition now, and each printing was anywhere from 5,000 to 10,000 copies.

DS:
So, you've sold around 60,000 or so. One positive offshoot of the book is that it said to the public, "It's OK to educate people about how to play poker."

DB:
Yes, it created a lot of players. It made good players out of poor players, and real good players out of good ones.

DS: Do you think that a weak player can get as much out of the book as one who is an intermediate or advanced player?

DB: I think so, especially back in those days. There's so much more knowledge out there now, you know, and players know so many things that nobody knew back then ... because of all the books and programs nowadays. I think the greatest thing that ever happened to poker was Mike putting that poker program on the computer (Caro's Poker Probe). If I'd had that back when I was young ... I mean, I just can't imagine that players don't use it all the time.

DS: So, your lessons were a little bit more expensive than they might have been today?

DB: Yes, although I was a little bit ahead of my time as a player. That's probably the reason why I was the dominant no-limit player during that period of time. But today, a lot of players have the knowledge that I had back then.

LJ: What was it like to be a road warrior?

DB: It was tough, that's what it was. You had to be a very dedicated person -- you had to have a single-minded purpose just to play poker. We'd drive 500 miles to play in a $5-$10 blind game. There weren't that many games so you had to go to just about all of them just to make a living. It was all no-limit poker back in Texas, Oklahoma, and the South.

LJ: Who did you run with?

DB: Sailor (Roberts) and Slim (Preston) and I were partners, so we traveled together. There was a sort of nucleus of professional players, about 15 guys, who played the circuit from one town to the other. Johnny Moss was one of the primary ones, Bob Hooks played a lot, and Bill Smith was there, too. And Jack Straus -- he was a great guy and one of the most entertaining people I've ever known in my life.

LJ: What do you mean by "partners?"

DB: We played off the same bankroll. Nowadays, you hear all this commotion about partners. We were partners, but we didn't play partners. I mean, we never did anything wrong. Being bankroll partners was to our disadvantage because everybody knew about it. We would never make any out-of-line plays like one guy betting and the other one raising or they wouldn't let us play with them.

LJ: Did everybody get along well together?

DB: There was a camaraderie back then that was almost like a fraternity. We had good times.

LJ:
Was it dangerous?

DB: Oh, yeah. You had to win the money, you had to collect the money, and then you had to get of town with the money. You had to worry about getting arrested, getting robbed, getting cheated ... it was a different world back then. I've been robbed probably four times. Twice people just came into the game and held us up and once, a guy sneaked up behind me. Then one time a bunch of guys jumped on me as I was coming out the door. That was the only time I really got hurt and they wouldn't even let me give them my money! They just seemed intent on knocking me out ... they circled around me and kicked me in the head and hit me with pipes. For some reason, I've never been knocked out; I've taken some awful blows, but I just don't go out. I had the money in my pocket and would've just handed it to them gladly, but they kept on beating on me. I started grabbing dirt and throwing it up into their faces. In the end, I finally got up and whacked a couple of them and the rest of them ran off.

DS: A lot of people have heard about the robbery you suffered during the recent World Series of Poker. Do you mind discussing it?

DB: Don't mind at all. I went home after the Omaha tournament and drove into my driveway and two guys just walked out of the night wearing black clothes and black ski masks and carrying pistols. "We're going inside," they said. "I'm not going inside," I answered. Then they put a gun up to my head and said, "Well, then, you're going to die right here." I had already turned the key in the door and so I fell over like I was having a heart attack, but they dragged me inside. The alarm was set and it went off ... but it was a silent alarm, of course. I grabbed my chest and fell as far away from it as I could. I know that they must've thought I had money in the house, but I didn't ... there was only $200 in the whole house. I did have some money in my pocket, though.
Five times this guy put the gun right to my head and said, "You're fixin' to die." I thought that if I was going to die, I was just going to die right there and then. Finally, the alarm went off audibly and the guy hit me with the gun and broke a cut on my eye. About that time, my wife, Louise, came down the steps and they made her turn off the alarm. The alarm company called and as Louise was about to answer the phone, they said, "If you don't tell them everything's all right, we're going to kill you." She told the alarm company that she was Mrs. Brunson and said everything was all right and that her code was such-and-such. She gave them the wrong code and that was supposed to alert them.

The alarm company person said, "Wait just a minute. That's not the right code." Then Louise said, "I know," and gave her the same code again. About three minutes later, the phone rang again and one of the robbers picked it up. "That's an invalid code, ma'am," the alarm person said. Her voice came over my telephone answering device recorder and so we could all hear it. The robber tried to talk like a woman, but surely the alarm company person finally got alerted and I guess she called the police that time.
Then the robber came back over to me and said, "I'm gonna' kill you for what you've done to us." Louise jumped in between us saying, "No, don't kill him. Kill me." That seemed to flabbergast the guy, so he said to me, "Where's the safe?" I told him I didn't have a safe, that I've never had a safe in my life. I said, "If you just want money, I've got money in my pocket." So, he reached in it and pulled out $4,000 worth of chips.
"You call that money?!" he said, and threw them down on the floor. "It's in my other pocket," I told him. I had been on the floor all this time and the guy had kicked my head two or three times. He reached down and brought out my billfold and those $85,000 in chips that I'd won in the razz tournament the day before. I'd put them in a little red pouch in my pocket and actually had forgotten that I even had them with me. They took the chips and my billfold, handcuffed us together, and left.

DS: Then what happened?

DB:
Louise said, "Did you ever think that after 37 years we'd end up like this?" And we started laughing.

DS: To think that you could laugh it off ...

DB: We were very thankful to have survived it. These were very professional guys. They acted almost like military men and never panicked. The police kept insisting that they had followed me, but no ... they were waiting at the house for me. "Fellas," I said, "they didn't follow me home. I've been looking for that kind of stuff for 40 years. They were waiting for me in the bushes." They were two cool guys.

DS: After an ordeal like that, people often feel violated and find it hard to sleep in their own house. Is the robbery the reason why you have since moved to this spacious new home?

DB: No, we were going to move anyway, but it prompted us to move sooner. We were never comfortable there afterward and stayed for only two more nights. Here, the security guards follow me to my door every time I come through the gates. And I've gotten a permit to carry a gun, something that I should've done years ago. I feel like Wyatt Earp's been resurrected.
Author's note: More of "Wyatt Earp's" stories in the next issue of Card Player.

Part 2: The Legend Lives On

"Proving once again that he is the Champion of Champions, Doyle Brunson conquered a formidable field in the $1,500 razz event to win his eighth World Series title. The only other player with that many victories was the late Johnny Moss," the 1998 WSOP reporter wrote in his daily tournament bulletin. When Brunson placed second in the ensuing pot-limit Omaha event, he described him as one of the "titans of poker." Champion of champions ... titan of poker ... add the word "legend" and you have a verbal trio that approximates the stature of Brunson in the world of poker, his world.

In his quietly understated style, the amiable, soft-spoken player and author continued telling Linda Johnson and me about his poker odyssey from the dimly lit backrooms of Texas to the glitzy casinos of Las Vegas. We listened in rapt attention and yes, a slight bit of awe, as he described some of his adventures along the paths of glory.

Linda Johnson: You mentioned that in the old days, there were two busts during the home games. Were there any shootings?

Doyle Brunson: One time a long time ago, a guy got killed. It wasn't exactly a robbery, though. A man just came busting in and shot the guy. One of the funny stories happened when we were playing in Austin, Texas. Suddenly, windows broke all over the house and seven guys with shot guns came at us from every angle. They lined us all up against the wall and made us drop our pants. Some girl there said she'd never seen so many naked butts and shaking knees in her life! So there we all were, half naked, and the robbers would always pick on the biggest guy, which usually was me. This little biddy guy -- he was about five feet tall and his eyes were glazed over -- punched me in the stomach with his shot gun and asked, "Who runs this game?" I said, "I don't know" (it was an unwritten law that you didn't snitch on anybody). Then wham! He hit me on the side of the head with the butt of his gun and repeated, "Who runs this game?" Again I said, "I don't know." He had one of those old guns and he pulled the hammer back and cocked it and put it right up to my temple. "Who runs this game?" he asked. "That guy right over there!" I answered.

Dana Smith:
That got your attention! Do you miss those days?

DB: Well, you know, they were fun. And I was young and full of energy and ambition and I just wanted to play. I can't say as I miss them, but they were very exciting. I wouldn't want to do them now, but back then it was a great life.

DS: Are there players who are still leading that life today?

DB: I think there are a few, yes, but probably not many. Back in those days, there were different groups traveling around, a bunch of guys from Oklahoma and the ones from Texas.

LJ: Who do you really respect in the world of poker today?

DB: Anybody who puts their feet under the table! I don't mind playing with just about anybody. I really consider myself lucky to have the ability to play because for most people it seems like about 50 years of age is the cutoff point. That's when their game starts going down. The other day, somebody said to me, "You've lost 10 percent of your game." I said, "Well, yeah, but fortunately I was 30 percent ahead of everybody else to start with." Of course, I think that Chip (Reese) was probably the best of the modern poker players, but he doesn't play much now, so I don't think I could consider him to be the best player anymore. You have to have a desire to play, and he just doesn't have that much desire any more.

LJ: Do you still love playing poker?

DB: Not like I did. I liked it at Binion's, but there aren't that many games anymore. Somebody told me that you have to play to where it hurts if you lose, and I think there's a certain element of truth in that. The stakes have to be high enough that it really hurts you if you lose -- the amount could be $100 for some people and $100,000 for others -- that's what makes the game interesting. Maybe you get to the point, too, where you don't really need the money anymore and so it has to be a really high game to get you stimulated.

DS: Like the golf match you played with Seed and Lederer and Sexton?

DB: Yep, that got my adrenaline flowing.

DS: I've heard stories about the big games you used to play with Bob Stupak or Lyle Berman and others. Does any of that go on now?

DB: Yes, it does, usually when Lyle's around. It seems like he's the catalyst. When he's in town, the group gathers around. Bobby (Baldwin) usually will play and when he plays, then Chip will play, and then Howard (Lederer) and David (Grey) and Johnny (Chan) and some others will join in.

LJ: How high do you play?

DB: We play $50,000 change in, probably. The group decides what games they want to play, usually two different games. And a lot of times these days, it's limit poker.

LJ: You had a great World Series this year. You don't usually play the smaller events, but this year you did. What made you decide to play them?

DB: One reason was that some guys had passed me by and I wanted to keep my name towards the top of the list. (Brunson moved past Jack Keller, Hamid Dastmalchi, and Berry Johnston this year.) Another reason was that they were putting out these lists (odds sheets) with the favorites on them ... and they didn't even have me in the top eight! I have nothing against women poker players, but they had a few women in front of me. "I'm gonna' have to do something about that," I said. So, instead of playing in the side games, I played in the tournaments for the first time in 20 years.

DS: You and T. J. Cloutier were heads up in the $2,500 pot-limit Omaha event and had almost the identical hands on the last pot.

DB: Yes, we both had queens and fives on the flop, but he had an ace kicker and hit the ace on the river.

DS: He mentioned something about striking a deal on the end, but you declined. Why?

DB: There were two reasons. To start with, it isn't that the money doesn't mean anything to me, but it doesn't put any pressure on me, whereas it might put some pressure on somebody else who's trying to win it ... it might change their play a little bit. The other thing is that he had a slight lead on me two-handed. The person who's behind can't make a deal; it's silly to make a deal. One pot and things could be reversed. Sure, I'll make a deal according to the chips, but if I'm behind I won't. If I'm ahead, I love to make a deal.
The last tournament I won at Binion's was a hold'em tournament and there were two of us left. The other guy couldn't play at all; he was really a bad player. I had about a 2-to-1 lead over him in chips and we made a deal. Then somebody asked, "Well, Doyle, why did you make a deal?" While he couldn't play, he was raising $80,000 more on every hand. One time when I made a stand, he threw his hand away with a 7-2 -- and he'd raised me $80,000 with it! Well, I mean that guy is capable of beating you! Suppose he wins two or three hands, or I'm not holding any cards and just keep letting him run over me -- I don't have a big enough ego that I think I can't be beaten. So I made a deal with him, a save according to our chips.

DS: What's so exciting about playing the no-limit deuce-to-seven event at the Series? Is it just sort of a rich boys playground, or what?

DB: It's a game that came from the South and back years ago, it was kinda the game of choice. There are a lot of little fine points in the game that take you a while to accumulate and master, so the people who know how to play the game, naturally, promote it because they have more advantage than in other games. I should've won the deuce-to-seven title this year.

DS: Then why didn't you?!

DB: Why didn't I? Well, I looked at my hand ... a 2-3-4-8 ... and I brought it in without looking at my fifth card. Eric Seidel moved in on me and I called him without looking at my other card, which had paired me. He had J-9-7-5-2 and threw the jack away. I threw away one of the cards to my pair and drew a ten. He caught an eight to bust me.

DS: The good news is that your third-place finish enabled you to move past Berry Johnston and claim fourth place on the WSOP money list. Who are some of today's finest tournament players, in your opinion?

DB: T. J.'s a fine player, probably the best tournament player today. And of course, you've gotta' go with Berry (Johnston). But there's just such a difference between tournament players and money game players, you know. You look at some of the finest tournament players and when they get into money games, they have trouble winning. People just lick their chops when they see a couple of the top tournament players sit down in their ring game. I don't understand why a player can't win at tournaments and in ring games, too. There's a difference in tournament play and ring games, of course, but how can it be so much that the best tournament players in the world can't sit down and win in a money game?

DS: In your mind, then, a truly great player ought to have both sets of skills. What is it that makes a player great?

DB: The question I've been asked the most over the years is, "What does it take to make a good poker player?" Who knows what it takes? I don't know. It's an innate ability that you can't describe ... you just can't explain it. People have tried, but they can't do it. It's something inside you that causes you to pull away from the field. I do know that with just the knowledge and ability to play, you can play at a certain level, but you have to have that "something" inside you to pull away. It's a sixth sense, or an inclination to win, or something. How can you say, for instance, that I am a better player than David Sklansky or Mike Caro? I think that obviously I probably am, but the two of them are the foremost authorities on poker. They know everything ... the situations and what you're supposed to do... yet when it comes time to perform them, they can't do it. They chill up or something happens.

DS: You tried to explain it in Super/System.

DB: The explanation I wrote in the book is the best one that I've ever thought of. And it's one that I had never thought about before I wrote the book (that's one reason why I'm glad I wrote it). It's a sense of recall that great players have. You recall what happened the last time you were in this same situation with a player of that caliber. Starting off, you put players in categories by watching their table mannerisms, the way they handle their chips, the way they handle their cards, and so on. You say to yourself that this guy's a certain kind of player, and that guy's a certain kind of player, and then when you get in a pot with them, you recall -- subconsciously -- the last time you were playing with a guy like that and a similar situation came up. So, you play according to the way the guy played previously. And that's the best way I can explain it.

LJ: There's a hand named after you ... a 10-2 is called the "Doyle Brunson." I think almost everybody knows that was the hand you held when you won your two World Series titles in '76 and '77. How did you happen to hold it both times?

DB: I don't know. I remember having it against Jesse Alto, who was a strong guy. I had just beaten him in a big pot and he was steaming ... he was a notorious steamer. He raised the pot and I called him with the 10-2 of spades. He had an A-J and hit aces and jacks, and I had two tens. He bet and I called him; there was one spade on the board, I recall. Then a deuce fell off and I moved in on him. And I caught another 10 on the river. The next year I was in the big blind and had 10-2. It was against Bones Berland and the flop came out 10-8-5. I checked and he checked. He had eights and fives. The fourth card was a deuce. I bet, he moved in on me, and I called. The last card was a 10 again. So in both hands, I made a full house.
A 10-2 almost won a third tournament when Stuey (Ungar) and Perry Green were playing the second year that Stuey won it. Perry had more chips than Stuey had and they got it all in. The flop was a J-9-8 with two clubs. Perry had the 10-2 of clubs, but Stuey had the A-J of clubs. The fourth card was a six and the last one was a blank, but if that six had been a seven, then Perry would have won the tournament with a straight and it would have been the third time a 10-2 had won it.

LJ: Dana, did you know that Doyle's active on the Internet now? In fact, Mike (Caro) called me and said, "I can't believe that even Doyle has beaten you to the Internet!" That shamed me into getting active with it on my personal computer.

DB: I was sort of a dinosaur like you, Linda, and thought I was too old ... I'm 65 now ... that it was too late to teach an old dog any new tricks. Then I accidentally got to playing with it and it's just not that hard. Not that I'm an accomplished guy on it or anything, but there are pretty clear instructions and it's easier than you'd think.

DS: Dewey (Tomko) told me that you and he used to hold Bible study classes for players during poker games. Do you still do that?

DB: No, not like we used to do. We had some religious celebrities -- Rosie Greer and Roger McDuff -- come out and it was a pretty big thing for a number of years. I think it did a lot of good and helped people. A lot of poker players don't go to church, you know, and it gave them an opportunity to talk to pastors on a one-to-one basis, ask questions and get answers. I think a lot of people were helped.
A friend of mine from Texas named Bob Tremain that I went to school with (he's the head of around 60 churches) has been coming out here during the World Series for about the past 15 years. He goes around and just talks to people. A lot of players have problems and nobody to tell them to, you know. I think Danny Robison is holding some classes at his home these days, too.

LJ: What advice to you have for someone just starting out in poker today?

DB: It's a different thing than it used to be, but I can't imagine a better life. My son, Todd, is a pretty good example. I didn't want him to be a poker player, but he has become one. You're your own boss, you make your own hours, and you should make plenty of money. And in Nevada at least, it's respectable. Back where I come from, they still turn up their nose at you. My college won't put me in its Hall of Fame because I'm a professional gambler. (It's a little Baptist college, Hardin-Simmons University.) That aggravated me at first, but if they don't want to, it's not that big a deal to me. A lot of my friends petitioned them to put me in it, but there's somebody there that's really an objector.

DS: Actually, Doyle, I think it's somebody you beat in a game back in Texas!

LJ: Can you think of a time when you almost died laughing at the table?

DB: I remember playing down in Texas one time with a fella named Pasqualle, a wise-crackin' guy, and Bully Johnson, who's kind of a quiet, laid-back poker player. A pot came up in which Pasqualle had two aces and he raised the pot, and then Bully raised him. Pasqualle didn't raise him back, he just called. The flop came off A-3-4. Pasqualle checked it, Bully bet, Pasqualle moved in, and Bully called him. Well, Pasqulle stood up, tore his shirt open and beat on his chest, and said "I'm the greatest! I'm the greatest!" and turned over his three aces. Bully never said a word, he just sat there. The turn came a king, then a seven. Then Bully turned his hand over ... he had a 2-5! The whole room just exploded.

LF: Has there been a highlight in your poker career?

DB: The highlight was always the World Series of Poker. To win that is the best compliment that you can have. I played in the first one and I've never missed one in 29 years.

DS: Is the WSOP tougher to beat these days?

DB: Oh, sure. The players are so good ... I mean, those kids have learned all the tournament moves, they know how to play. But I haven't played any poker since the World Series.

DS: So, is this a time in your life when you can be just kick back and be lazy?

DB: Oh, no! I'm fixin' to go to work right now. I'm into sports handicapping. I work on the computer on the baseball statistics and study them a lot. And football season's coming up ...

DS: You and Louise seem to have a very nice lifestyle. Are you happy with life?

DB: Oh, yes. We've been married for 37 years now and we get along well.
You know, Dana, this year at the World Series Doyle happened to draw a seat at the same table with Matt Damon. I looked over there at one point and there were so many cameras, most of which were focused on Damon. So, I went up to Doyle at the break and told him that, to me and the whole poker community, he was the celebrity at that table. It's an honor to know Doyle.

News Flash

The IRS Scores Big at 2015 WSOP ME Final Table

The IRS managed to snag 34.13 percent from the payouts of the 2015 November Nine, totaling $8,467,091.

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