The Last Words of 2011 Go to Doyle Brunson

Posted on December 30, 2011


This was probably one of my favorite posts of the year. I wrote it after seeing Doyle Brunson, known to many as the Godfather of Poker, speak at a local casino. Much of what he said was good life advice for poker players and radio hosts. Bringing this post back seems like the best way to end a year I could think of.

Doyle Brunson is considered by many to be the godfather of poker. At 77 years old, he’s been playing poker since long before it became the mainstream trend it has grown into in the last 10-15 years.

Brunson started making his living playing poker when games were played in backrooms and seedy hotels in little cities all across Texas, Oklahoma, and Mississippi.

Since then he’s seen the game evolve into a much more regimented corporate enterprise with televised games played around the world for millions of dollars.

In other words, Brunson has watched his profession evolve from an unregulated industry full of unique characters into one with a much higher-profile and a more corporate environment.

Sound familiar?

Yesterday I was lucky enough to see Doyle participate in a question and answer session with about 75 fans where he talked about everything from the game’s crazy past to what he thinks the future holds. Several of his comments about how to have a successful career as a poker player sounded like good advice for an airtalent.

Brunson said being a successful poker player requires the ability to evolve; both in skill and style.

When Doyle started playing poker five-card draw was the game of choice. Since that time the type of games favored by gamblers have changed several times before Texas Hold ‘Em, the most commonly played game today, took root.

Each time the game of choice changed there would be professional players who got left behind because they couldn’t adapt.

The need to evolve also applies to poker’s growth from backroom to boardroom. Some players adapted to the new way of the world and made millions, others didn’t and went broke.

Brunson also says it’s important to have your personal life in check. With higher stakes and a more corporate environment, the days of being a complete wreck away from the tables and still making a living are over. A well-balanced life is another key to having a long, successful career.

Finally, Brunson said being a successful poker professional requires committing to the job and having a passion for it.

At 77 he doesn’t play poker because he needs money, Brunson made millions as part of the online poker boom. He plays because he loves it. He has a passion for the game that continues on today.

Adapting to new circumstances, having a good balance between career and personal life and having a true passion for what you do… sounds like a successful airtalent to me.