Interview: Doyle Brunson Talks About Teaming Up with Son Todd on New Poker Training Course
The Godfather of Poker, Doyle Brunson, played his last World Series of Poker tournament this summer. Many may have expected him to fade from the poker scene a bit.
Not even close.
Doyle still plays in some of the biggest cash games in the world on a daily basis at the Bellagio, and recently announced that he’s teamed up with his son Todd to unveil the new Brunson Poker Pro training course.
Doyle Brunson: “I hope the training site will be as helpful as the first ‘Super/System’ book was to players.”
Upping the Game
The course costs $149 and includes a book, flash cards, audio CD, charts, and training website access. The system’s website promises it covers everything from bluffs, to tells, to board textures.
“Now you can learn the game of NL Texas Hold'em and its advanced strategies in a much shorter time and gain professional knowledge without playing for years,” the site notes. “We are teaching poker the way your brain processes information faster by seeing, hearing, and doing. “
Doyle is no stranger to poker industry endeavors and was the face of the Doyles Room online poker site for several years before Black Friday. The Brunsons unveiled the new project via Twitter.
“Todd has been wanting to do it for a couple of years, but I’ve had too much on my plate so we are just getting around to it,” Doyle told PokerNews. “We cover basic strategy, how to vary your play, situational problems and solutions, watching for tells, and poker in a lot of general areas.”
Todd says they hope to take students beyond just basic information, but offer students help the ability to recall what they have learned in real-life, in-game situations.
“It’s a system focusing on proven learning techniques,” he sys. “It will help beginners through experts. It’s not just information thrown at you. We focus on helping u retain the info.”
With decades of poker experience between them, a total of 11 World Series of Poker bracelets, best-selling strategy books, and a name synonymous with poker, the Brunsons seem like naturals to offer some training to others.
Doyle Brunson: “Todd has been wanting to do it for a couple of years, but I’ve had too much on my plate so we are just getting around to it.”
Doyle may single-handedly be responsible for many of the advanced strategies and aggressiveness in the modern game with the publishing of his book “Super/System: A Course in Power Poker,” which was later followed up by a sequel. The books offer Doyle’s outlook on the game, as well as strategy from other players on other poker variants including Bobby Baldwin, Mike Caro, David Sklansky, Daniel Negreanu, Phil Hellmuth, and others. The books are expansive and the paperback version comes in at a whopping 605 pages and the sequel at 672.
Doyle hopes the new Brunson Poker Pro system builds on that legacy of helping others improve their game.
“I hope the training site will be as helpful as the first ‘Super/System’ book was to players,” Doyle says. “That’s some big shoes to fill, but it has to improve people in different areas of poker.”
Poker in the Family
As a Texas road gambler, Doyle spent many hours looking for action in Texas and the Southwest. The poker legend never had plans for his son to take up the family business. As he played in the $10,000 No-Limit 2-7 Lowball Draw Championship in June, Doyle spoke with PokerNews about Todd’s introduction to poker.
“I didn’t talk about poker when Todd was a kid,” he says. “He went to college and was in his third year to be a lawyer. I didn’t even know he knew how to play poker. He was at Texas Tech, and that’s a gambling town in Lubbock, and he started playing poker there and he came back and said, ‘I'm not going to go back to school, I'm going to be a professional poker player.’”
That decision didn’t receive a warm reception at home.
“I said, 'Are you crazy?'” Brunson recalls. “And his mother really didn't like it. I said, ‘I'll take you around [to some games] and we'll see.’ We were living in California at the time, and we went to one of the casinos there. I put him in a game and I saw immediately that he knew what he was doing. He was just a natural without my help. I didn't help him at all. I wasn’t opposed to it after I saw that he knew what he was doing.”
“People took my retirement a little wrong, which was probably my fault. I’ll probably play in some capacity as long as I’m physically able.”
Since then, Todd has amassed $4.4 million in live tournament winnings. Doyle has $6.2 million and those totals don’t include cash game success. Poker is obviously a frequent topic of discussion between father and son, and they hope to have encapsulated it into the new course.
“Todd and I have discussed poker for a lot of years now and if we disagree on things, we try to find a middle ground for the answers,” Doyle says. “There are some good training sites out there and some very bad ones. I feel this belongs in the better ones.”
On Aug. 10, Doyle will turn 85. The poker world watched him say goodbye to the WSOP tournament scene this summer. But he has no plans to slow down. Poker keeps his mind sharp, he says, as well as projects like the new training course.
“I like to have projects to keep me busy, and don’t have time to do them all and still be a full-time poker player,” he says. “People took my retirement a little wrong, which was probably my fault. I was talking about not playing any more WSOP events. I’ll probably play in some capacity as long as I’m physically able.”
Sean Chaffin is a freelance writer in Crandall, Texas. His work appears in numerous websites and publications. Follow him on Twitter @PokerTraditions. He is also the host of the True Gambling Stories podcast, available on iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn Radio, Spotify, Stitcher, PokerNews.com, HoldemRadio.com, and TrueGamblingStories.com.