The World Poker Tour continues adding to its roster of ambassadors as the tour celebrates its 20th anniversary. The company added one of the biggest of those on Tuesday in announcing the signing of poker legend Doyle Brunson.
The Poker Hall of Famer and WPT Champions Club member will attend tour stops and work with online poker partners in promotional efforts. The deal includes opportunities for players and fans to meet Brunson throughout the tour’s live tournament schedule.
“Doyle has been a part of the World Poker Tour from the very beginning,” WPT CEO Adam Pliska said in a news release. “I was there for his WPT Legends of Poker victory in 2004 when he joined the WPT Champions Club, and to also be here to welcome him to the WPT family after all this time feels surreal.”
Deep poker legacy
The 88-year-old Brunson is a household name in the world of poker. The Texan was one of the original road gamblers who toured the south looking for action in back rooms and underground poker clubs. When Benny Binion brought some of the game’s best together to play in the first World Series of Poker in 1970, Brunson was among those at the table.
His poker legacy includes winning the WSOP Main Event in 1976 and ‘77, and his 10 bracelets have him tied for second all time with Phil Ivey and Johnny Chan. Brunson has more than $6.1 million in live tournament winnings, but also plays in some of the biggest cash games in the world.
In 2004, Brunson entered the WPT Legends of Poker on a bad streak – his first losing year after 50 years playing poker for a living. At age 71, he worried the game might have passed him by just as poker was exploding around the world. He’d lost $6 million in just a few months.
“I started losing and the losses kept coming,” he noted in his autobiography, The Godfather of Poker. “It seemed like I couldn’t win no matter what I did.”
A huge WPT moment
Despite that, Brunson was among the field at the Bicycle Casino and would go on to make some history. The WPT had grown into a television phenomenon.
The Legends event produced the biggest event yet with 667 players. Brunson went on to win the tournament for seven figures and the biggest tournament score of his life.
“It was my most satisfying win in a long time, probably since my World Series Main Event victories several decades earlier,” he wrote in his autobiography. “It was even more important to me than the $1.2 million first prize, though I didn’t mind that at all, because I replenished my bankroll and shored up my formerly sagging confidence.”
“If I hadn’t done well in that tournament, I might have quit right then and there. But at this crossroads in my life, whatever doubts I had disappeared like the whirling dust devils that blew through my old west Texas prairie.”
Chomping at the bit to go to the WOP. Argggg
— Doyle Brunson (@TexDolly) June 14, 2022
Joining the WPT team
With the signing, the WPT adds a real sense of history to the game. Brunson is beloved by many players as well as fans of televised games like High Stakes Poker.
As an ambassador, Brunson now joins a wave of WPT ambassador signings that includes poker vloggers Brad Owen and Andrew Neeme. The tour announced the signing popular DJ Steve Aoki in April.
In his younger years, Brunson progressed quickly from a scouted basketball player to a professional gambler after graduating from Hardin-Simmons University. He’s one of the only players to become a member of the WPT Champions Club, a WSOP Main Event Winner, and a Poker Hall of Fame member.
In addition to his tournament poker success, Brunson has authored several formative poker strategy books. His book Super/System is considered the forerunner to modern poker strategy.
In a news release announcing the signing, Brunson noted: “I’ve said this many times before, but it bears repeating: we don’t stop playing because we get old; we get old because we stop playing.”