Flashback Friday: Doyle Brunson’s 2018 Retirement from Tournament Poker

Doyle Brunson recently returned to Twitter after being locked out of his account for three months. He’s been absent from tournament poker for even longer. That’s because he memorably retired from the tournament scene in 2018 at the WSOP, and gave the poker world quite a sendoff.

Doyle Brunson poker retirement

Doyle Brunson, in 2018, competing in his final WSOP event. (Image: CardsChat News)

“Texas Dolly” won his 10th an final bracelet in 2005 ($5,000 No-Limit Hold’em 6-Handed). For the next decade, he only played a few tournaments per year as he approached his 80s.

The Poker Hall of Famer, a few years removed from the tournament scene, was convinced to play in the 2018 $10,000 2-7 No-Limit Lowball Triple Draw Championship by his fellow Hall of Famer son, Todd. Doyle, one of the most popular players in poker history, tweeted his intention to play one final event on June 11, 2018.

Following the tweet, the poker media headed over to the Rio to catch one final glimpse of the poker legend in action. But no one knew what to expect from him. After all, it had been a few years since he last competed in a poker tournament. So, would the then 83-year-old still be competitive in a difficult high stakes tournament?

Doyle Brunson Proves the Old-Timer’s Still Got It

Doyle Brunson showed up on Day 2 to late register for the 2-7 event. He joined a field of 95 players, many of whom are among the best in the world. And he did what he’s done for 40 years — dominate.

Brunson came ready to play, like he was the “Texas Dolly” of 1980. The poker icon put on one final show for his fans and reached the final table. One last deep run on the way out the door, a la John Elway winning a Super Bowl in his final season with the Denver Broncos in 1998.

Fans packed the rails behind Doyle at the Rio Convention Center. It was clear he was the fan favorite, as nearly everyone in attendance was hoping to see the legendary pro ship one final WSOP bracelet.

Brunson entered Day 3 in the middle of the pack with 11 players remaining. His son, Todd, was also still alive but among the small stacks.

Doyle would eventually reach the final table on Day 3, along with the soon-to-be newest Poker Hall of Fame member, John Hennigan, whom Brunson has competed against numerous times.

“Texas Dolly” wasn’t able to finish off the deal and win the bracelet, to the disappointment of his many fans. But he proved that even in his 80s, Doyle can still compete with the best in the world. He finished in sixth place, good for $43,963, his final tournament cash. Brian Rast went on to win the event for $259,670.

Although he retired from tournament poker, Doyle never gave up on the game. He continued grinding away the high-stakes cash games inside Bobby’s Room at Bellagio in Las Vegas, where he resides.

“We don’t quit playing because we get old, we get old because we quit playing,” the legendary Doyle Brunson.

Jon Sofen
Written by
Jon Sofen
Semi-pro poker player with 17 years experience on the felt and more than five years working as professional poker media.

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