Doyle Brunson Proves He Still Has it Despite WSOP Main Event Exit

Doyle Brunson

Doyle Brunson isn't going to win the 2021 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event. He won't even reach the money as he was eliminated on Day 2abc late Tuesday evening. Even so, the 88-year-old showed the poker world once again that he can still compete at a high level against much younger competition.

"Texas Dolly" was put in difficult spots, multiple times tasked with trying to find a fold with a big hand against a bigger hand. In a more standard spot, he lost a crucial race. Yet, despite all that, he stuck around well into Day 2 when most players likely would have been gone much earlier.

Two-Outer Bad Beat Special

On Day 1, while seated at the PokerGO feature table, Brunson avoided complete disaster in a bad beat hand thanks to his strong instincts. The 10-time bracelet winner had AK when he and Chau Nguyen, holding 1010, both surprisingly limped for 500.

The flop came 29A and Eliran Yamin, who was in from the blinds, bet 1,000 with his 42. Brunson and Nguyen called to see the A on the turn. Yamin checked and Brunson finally began the aggression with his big hand, betting out 3,500. Yamin got out of the way Nguyen refused to go away and called.

The river 10 was a cruel card for the Poker Hall of Famer. Nguyen, who picked up a full house, checked. Brunson bet 12,000 and was check-raised to 30,000.

Brunson sniffed out the monster hand correctly and found a fold. Instead of losing most of his stack, Doyle still had over 70,000 chips. Some players would jam there given there were no straight or flush possibilities on the board. But not the legendary Texas road gambler.

Brilliant Fold Against Koon

Jason Koon

On Day 2, with the blinds at 800/1,600/1,600, the "Godfather of Poker" was put in another sticky situation. He'd built his stack over 130,000 following a rocky start to the day, but a chunk of those chips were about to move over to Jason Koon, a recent bracelet winner and the latest GGPoker ambassador.

Brunson opened to 3,500 with AJ and Koon came along with 87. The flop came 2QK and the preflop raiser bet 7,000 with a gut-shot straight draw, and his opponent called with a flush draw.

When the 10 flipped over on the turn, both players connected in a big way. Brunson, who turned a straight, bet out 15,000. Koon just called and they saw a meaningless 3 on the river. "Texas Dolly" had the proper instincts to just check, and then managed to find a fold when Koon bet 41,000, leaving Doyle with over 100,000 instead of around 60,000.

Even more impressive was the fact that he was holding the J in his hand, a card that blocks flushes, making it less likely he was up against a flush.

Costly Race Loss

With Brunson down to under 50,000, he called an all in from a short stack with AK. Minnesota Poker Hall of Famer Tony Hartman had moved all in for 17,000 with the 77 and was racing for his tournament life.

The blinds were at 1,000/2,000/2,000, so the shove was only 8.5 big blinds. However, Brunson's shot at reaching Day 3 became low when he lost the race as the board ran out 788106, leaving him with just 16 big blinds.

Soon after, Brunson would lose it all when he called an all-in bet with the A3 but was up against AQ. The best hand held up to send the poker legend home before the Day 2abd session concluded. Despite the defeat, Brunson made some incredible plays, proving to the poker community that he isn't chopped liver even deep into his 80's.

It's unclear if we'll see Doyle Brunson ever again compete in the WSOP Main Event, a tournament he won in 1976 and 1977. If this was his curtain call, he went out in style.

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