Fred Faour: Brunson’s passing leaves a major void in the poker world

Editorial use only. No book cover usage. Mandatory Credit: Photo by Merie W Wallace/Warner Bros/Village Roadshow/Kobal/Shutterstock (5884316h) Doyle Brunson, Robert Duvall Lucky You – 2006 Director: Curtis Hanson Warner Bros/Village Roadshow USA Scene Still

Fred Faour: Brunson’s passing leaves a major void in the poker world

When the news hit Sunday night that poker legend Doyle Brunson had passed, many on Twitter began honoring the man and his legacy.

And like the man himself, that legacy will be unmatched.

Brunson is famous for many things, most notably 10 World Series of poker bracelets, tied for second all time. But that does not tell the story of what he meant to the game. His book Super/System is still used today and inspired a generation. His folksy, friendly manner was a stark contrast to the snarling players looking for TV time.

Brunson was always the same at the table as he was in life. Classy. Calm. Friendly, even after taking a bad beat.

Brunson won the Main Event in 1976 and 1977. By the time the poker boom hit after Chris Moneymaker won in 2003, Brunson’s tournament game was waning. But he still won at high stakes cash games and after the Moneymaker win, Brunson had a new generation to inspire. In doing so, he added class and dignity to a game that is littered with charlatans and cheaters. Brunson proved you could play with honor, always donning his cowboy hat as he did it.

I have had the fortune to sit at tables with some of the most famous names in the game. Jesus Ferguson, Phil Ivey, Annie Duke and Daniel Negreanu among others. But Brunson was the most charming and affable of all of them. He had fun, and he made the game fun. He did for poker what Joe Montana did for football. He made it relevant. When he first started, poker was considered a backroom, seedy game full of questionable characters.

Brunson changed that image so when the boom finally hit, players did not feel like they were looked down upon.

His two Main Event wins came with his signature hand, 10-2, often called the “Doyle Brunson.” Now it will always be remembered by that name.

And so will the man himself. Poker lost more than legend on Sunday. It lost its heart and soul.

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