With a father like Doyle Brunson, most people would assume Todd grew up living and breathing poker. The fact is, however, the first time Todd played was after he graduated from high school when he accompanied his father to Australia (where Doyle was competing in a poker tournament), and the game didn't actually become a regular part of Todd's life until he went to college.
Growing up, his family moved between Texas, Las Vegas and California before ultimately resettling in El Paso when Todd was about 15 years old. His teenage years were relatively relaxed, as Todd and his two sisters were given a lot of freedom by their parents and often hightailed it across the border to Juarez, Mexico, to hang out. When Todd was 18, his parents relocated to Las Vegas once more and he stayed behind to attend college at Texas Tech in Lubbock.
Todd had just finished his third year of university and was on his way to acquiring a law degree when he decided he wanted to pursue a career in poker instead. He'd spent the past few years teaching himself how to play with his buddies and had developed a real taste and talent for the game. At the age of 21, he won his first major prize: first place in the $200,000 Diamond Jim Brady tournament at the Bicycle Club in Los Angeles, then one of the biggest poker tournaments in the world.
Following his win, he dropped out of university and began a steady ascent in the world of poker, earning his first bracelet in a World Series of Poker event in the $2,500 Omaha Hi-Lo Split in 2005.
Todd has achieved great successes at the poker table and has finished in the money in dozens of tournaments, including 13 WSOP and four World Poker Tour (WPT) events, as well as the Poker Superstars Invitational Tournament, the First Annual Jack Binion World Poker Open, the Hall of Fame Poker Classic and the 2004 Plaza Ultimate Poker Challenge.
Despite his tournament success, Todd preferred the big money allure of high-stakes cash games to fill his bank account. Known as one of the best, if not the best, high-stakes cash game player in the world, Todd is a regular in the cash games at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, where he lives with his wife, and he was one of the pros who took on Texas billionaire Andy Beal in the most recent of the legendary matches between Beal and The Corporation.
Todd Brunson contributor to Super/System
It wasn't until the recent poker boom that Todd became more interested in tournament play and let events like the WSOP, the Poker Superstars Invitational, and the Ultimate Poker Challenge series increase his bankroll and his exposure in the poker world.
"Poker tournaments have gone through the roof thanks to the Internet and televised tournaments that expose players' hole cards. Cash game players, including myself, have been drawn back into the tournament arena by the huge prize pools and large numbers of novice players looking for instant glory," Brunson said.
For Brunson, the game has primarily been about the money rather than fame, glory or glamour. However, with fame comes many more moneymaking opportunities such as sponsorships and poker books. He is a prominent representative of his father's poker room, DoylesRoom.com, and he recently wrote the Seven-Card Stud Hi-Lo section for Super/System 2, the sequel to his father's legendary book, Super/System. He also contributed a chapter to Daniel Negreanu's upcoming poker work. In addition, Todd is working on a poker book of his own.
His credibility and the advice he is writing up are only enhanced by his 2005 WSOP win. Not only was it a historic moment in his own poker career, but it was a historic poker event as Doyle also won a WSOP bracelet in 2005, making them the first father and son to win a bracelet in both the same year and overall at the WSOP.
Todd will likely continue to make history in the world of poker as he impresses and wows poker pros and enthusiasts alike with his skills and successes. Indeed, his steady march out of his father's shadow and into an equally legendary status of his own can only increase as he builds upon his extensive poker knowledge and expertise.
Todd graduated from poker at college to the Vegas games. He worked his way up to the biggest limits and has been successful at all forms of poker. He demonstrated surprising writing skills as the author of the Seven-Card Stud Hi-Lo section in Super/System 2. Todd will be in the spotlight for many years to come.
Todd has occasionally criticized his dad's plays in public. Doyle maintains his composure and sarcastically responds, "I know, Todd. I'm the idiot who sired a genius."
Doyle calls Todd after big games and especially after big tournaments. Doyle will ask, "How did you do?" If Todd won, the answer is always, "I played, didn't I?"