The ‘Godfather of poker’, Doyle Brunson has died at the age of 89.
The legendary figure of the game died on Sunday in Las Vegas, his family announced, via his agent on Twitter.
Their statement said: “It is with a heavy heart we announce the passing of our father, Doyle Brunson.
“He was a beloved Christian man, husband, father and grandfather.
“We’ll have more to say over the coming days as we honor his legacy. Please keep Doyle and our family in your prayers. May he rest in peace.”
Brunson shot to poker stardom in the 1970s, winning six World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelets in that decade.
He was crowned WSOP Main Event world champion in 1976 and 1977, one of only a select few to have won the prestigious tournament consecutively.
Altogether, Brunson won 10 WSOP tournaments, second only to Phil Hellmuth – another poker veteran – who has claimed 16 bracelets. His titles won him a total of around $1m (£800,000) in prize money.
Brunson left his legacy with successes on and off the poker felt.
He played in Las Vegas cash games for 50 years and also wrote a book called “Super System” in 1979 – one of the first to delve into Poker strategy, and one that introduced many to the game.
It is estimated he had total career earnings of more than $6m (£4.8m).
“Texas Dolly”, the name by which many knew him, was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 1988.
He was famous for wearing his cowboy hat while playing and his favourite hand was 10-2 – usually a terrible starting hand in poker – but one that resulted in him winning him the WSOP Main Event twice as his final two cards.
Poker icons paid tribute to the former champion.
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Phil Hellmuth tweeted: “Poker lost its biggest Legend today. Doyle always played hard: the man absolutely hated losing!! Doyle ruled the high stakes cash games in Las Vegas for 50 years!!”
Five-time WSOP winner Scotty Nguyen tweeted: “Can’t believe this day has come – you will always be held high in our hearts, the man, the myth, the legend & THE GODFATHER of poker baby!”
Even those off the tables paid homage to the legend.
Actor James Woods, who starred in the film Casino, said: “This one is a heartbreaker. Doyle Brunson, the greatest poker player who ever lived, has cashed in his chips.”
Chess master Alexandra Botez added: “RIP Doyle Brunson. A true poker legend.”