It’s a Wednesday evening circa 2007, and I’m playing some $10/$20 NL or $25/$50 NL at Bellagio.
Out of the blue, the floor walks up to me and says, “Hey Alec, Doyle and his entourage just walked in. They are short on players, and I figured you’d want to play big with them. Are you game?”
Fresh off my victory in the FTOPS Main Event on Full Tilt (then the biggest MTT in online history) for $288K, and having ran up $1M in cash games winnings under my screen name “traheho,” I’m ready to take my shot.
As I step inside, Doyle is there sporting his signature cowboy hat, along with three Asian businessmen. Just the five of us.
“Howdy”, he greets me with his unmistakable Texas drawl. “We’re playing $200/$400 No Limit. Take a seat.”
I was nervous. Not only was this my first time in Bobby’s Room, but I didn’t bring enough cash. I could never have imagined we’d be playing this big.
“I only brought this,” I admit sheepishly, showing Doyle my rack.
Without flinching, he grabs five red, white, and blue $5,000, known as “flags”, and throws them to me.
“I’m in for half,” he says. “Now let’s play.”
We played five handed all night. His friends (clients?) ordered Opus One and towers of food. We polished off a few bottles.
As the night comes to an end, I’m up a bunch, and pay Doyle his piece.
I have many defects, but one of my strengths is I’m fun, lively, and good company at a poker table.
My favorite story anecdote was the time he made so much money playing, that he sent a team to Alaska and beyond to try and find Big Foot and/or the Loch Ness Monster.
Naturally, they came up empty handed.
He imparted some incredible wisdom on me over the years, and I looked up to him as a mentor.
For those eager to learn the most important lesson Doyle imparted to me, I invite you to watch this short video I created a few years ago. It encapsulates the essence of our encounters and carries his incredible spirit.
I’m terribly sad to bid farewell to a true legend. Doyle Brunson will forever hold a special place in the hearts of many, certainly mine included.
It was Doyle who instilled confidence in me to pursue my dream of playing poker professionally. From the moment I started playing when I was 16, I looked up to him as an inspiration and guiding light.
RIP Doyle. Your legacy lives on, and your impact on my life and the poker community at large shall never fade.