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Doyle Brunson: This WSOP Might be My Last
Ten-time WSOP bracelet winner Doyle Brunson has been playing at the World Series of Poker for 40 years but according to the 78-year-old living legend this year is likely to be his last.
“This may be my last one ever because it’s just too long,” Brunson told PokerListings.com in Las Vegas. “I like to play seven or eight hours, and I can go a little longer than that but these WSOP days are too long for me.”
Brunson, who won the world championship consecutively in ‘76 and ’77, has been playing fewer and fewer WSOP events over the last couple years, opting instead to play high-stakes cash games.
Texas Dolly is presently embroiled in the $50,000 buy-in Players Championship at the WSOP, competing against players like 12-time bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth and Phil Ivey, whom many consider to be the best player on the planet.
Still sharp as ever, Brunson sees a lot of poker in his future although it won’t be at the WSOP.
“I always knew poker would be my profession all my life so it just depends on how long you can keep your mental acuity and physical stamina and I’m blessed with good ancestors which is usually what it is,” said Brunson.
“I expect to keep playing as long as I keep winning. Don’t nobody have to tell me when to stop. If I start losing I’ll know it’s time to quit but that hasn’t happened yet,” he said.
Forty Years of WSOP Memories
Doyle Brunson was among the original group of seven poker players who voted Johnny Moss in as champion of the first-ever WSOP Main Event in 1970.
He’s played with the very best in the world on a regular basis for over four decades and consistently beats the game. He’s arguably witnessed more poker history than anyone else on the planet.
In short Doyle Brunson is the most revered poker player in the world, and for good reason.
But according to Brunson he’s not interested in the legacy that will outlive him.
“I’ve found that legacies don’t mean much,” said Brunson. “Living is for the living,”
“When a guy is gone you know people should just say, ‘Yeah he was a pretty good guy, now where are we going for dinner?” he joked.
Interested or not, Brunson will leave the biggest legacy in poker, as a player, an ambassador and the author of the poker bible Super/System.
But even if the legacy he leaves isn’t important to him, the memories he’s made over the last 40 years are.
“I’ve got my memories. It’s not just this year, I’ve got 40 years of WSOP memories,” said Brunson. “But the game belongs to another generation now,”
“There’s so many youngsters that I don’t know, so many great players, but the best players who are going to be around for the next 20 years are the Phil Hellmuths and the Phil Iveys and the Daniel Negreanus, the Erik Seidels.
“I am amazed particularly at what Phil Hellmuth has done because he’s not known to be an all-around player. Obviously Phil Ivey is one of the best that ever lived, but Hellmuth has proven himself that he can play all the games, and he plays so hard in these tournaments that you have to give him credit," said Brunson.
In 2006 Hellmuth won his 10th bracelet, tying for most wins with Brunson and Johnny Chan at ten. In the intervening few years Hellmuth has won two more bracelets, and finished second on three separate occasions.
And while Brunson respects players like Hellmuth and Ivey he’s careful not to underestimate any opponent, something learned through a lifetime of playing poker at the highest level.
“I don’t underestimate anyone that antes up and puts their feet under the table. A lot of people are guilty of that but I’m not. I’ve got a lot of faults but underestimating my opponents is not one of them,” said Brunson.