1976 and 1977 World Series of Poker Main Event Winner
The World Series of Poker began in 1970 and would attract some of the biggest names in the game. One such name was Doyle Brunson. Along with other legendary players such Amarillo Slim and Sailor Roberts, Doyle was a ‘road gambler’. This meant travelling from game to game, taking on opponents from Texas and beyond. By the 1970’s, the Texas native had settled himself in Las Vegas and he would be a big part of those early WSOP events.
If he were playing at the Main Event in current times, Doyle Brunson would have entered the 1976 World Series of Poker Main Event with several cashes to his name already. However, in the early days of the event, it was a winner-takes-all tournament. Despite a series of final tables, there were no cashes for anyone but the winner.
In those early days, No-Limit Hold’em was rarely played – it was reserved for big events in tournament format.
How the 1976 WSOP Main Event Unfolded
In 1976, this all changed. 22 players lined up in this year, with each of the contestants paying $10,000 to enter and the winner taking the entire prize fund of $220,000. Texas Dolly would make the final table once again and eventually find himself up against Jesse Alto heads up.
In the final hand of the tournament, Brunson held 10 and 2, and managed to complete a full house. The $220k and more importantly, the WSOP bracelet was his.
Repeat Performance: Brunson Wins the 1977 WSOP
Heading into 1977, the WSOP had gotten bigger. There were 12 preliminary events as opposed to 7, and the Main Event saw 34 competitors. Once again, it was a winner-takes-all tournament. This time the eventual victor would pocket $340,000.
Brunson duly found himself at the final table. He would eventually play heads up against American Gary ‘Bones’ Berland. In an amazing twist of fate, Brunson would win for the second year straight with a 10 and a 2, incredibly hitting a full house again.
It’s little surprise to know that when a poker player holds 10 and 2, it is now called the ‘Doyle Brunson Hand’.
Other Major Tournament Scores for Doyle Brunson
When Doyle Brunson was at the top of his game, there weren’t so many major events around. The World Poker Tour, the European Poker Tour and the World Series of Poker Europe would all come later.
So, much of the headline success for ‘Dolly’ would come at the WSOP (aside from these events, much of a professional poker player’s career would be based around cash games in private rooms).
In total, Brunson has won 10 WSOP Bracelets. His first came before the Main Event win in 1976, winning the $5,000 Deuce to Seven Draw. His final bracelet came in 2005, an incredible 29 years after his first. This final victory was the short-handed no-limit buy-in event, earning the Texan $367,800. In monetary terms, this final win was his largest of all.
His most notable win outside of the WSOP was the Legends of Poker World Poker Tour event in 2004, when Brunson won and took home more than a million dollars.
Playing Style and Strategy of Doyle Brunson
In today’s terms, Doyle Brunson would be considered a loose aggressive player. He would usually play a wider range of hands than many of his opponents and put the pressure on, drawing many more folds than most of the others at the table.
Brunson would actually give away a lot of his secrets with the publication of his famous ‘Super System’ book. Although the book was a success, Brunson believes it has cost him a lot of money, as it gave ordinary players an insight into how the pros viewed the game.
Life of a Poker Pro: Quick Brunson Bio
In his early life, Doyle Brunson was a natural athlete, representing the All-State Texas basketball team, with the Minneapolis Lakers taking an interest. However, a knee injury ruined his hoops dreams.
He was already enjoying poker at this time, and quickly became a pro after winning more than a month’s salary playing a seven-card stud game. His poker career had several rocky moments, with a gun being pulled on him several times. These stories have been captured in a book separately from the strategy advice of the Super System volumes.
Doyle Brunson would continue to play professionally in tournaments until 2018, ending on a high, finishing 6th in the Single Draw event at the WSOP. He still enjoys cash games at the highest level.
You Can be the Next WSOP Champion?
Back in the 1970’s there was no easy route into the World Series of Poker Main Event. The tournament was effectively reserved for the top pros who had $10,000 to play with.
It’s totally different today, as any player can enter a series of satellites that are run online, offering entry into the main event. Some of these tournaments start at just a few dollars. If you’re successful, you’ll find yourself in Las Vegas, sitting amongst the cream of the world’s poker players.
WSOP Qualifiers: You can win a package to the Main Event that includes the $10k buy-in plus hotel and travel expenses online. For international readers, GGPoker are running satellites every day with low buy-ins at the entry level. See www.ggpoker.com for the list!
If you are US based, America’s Cardroom are an easy top rec. Qualifiers are running now - and to top it, ACR has the biggest tournament schedule for US players too. See www.americascardroom.com for details. Get the best available bonus boost with bonus code SNGPLANET.
More Popular WSOP Pages:
- Joe McKeehen Poker Strategy (2015 winnner)
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- Ryan Riess Poker Strategy (2013 winner)
- Martin Jacobson (2014 winner)
- John Cynn (2018 winner)