In the world of poker, there is perhaps no bigger name than Doyle Brunson. For over 40 years he has been both the player to beat and the player to watch whenever he’s taken a seat at the tables. He’s won 10 World Series of Poker bracelets, is in just about every poker “Hall of Fame” there is, and has written a string of best-selling books on the game. Casino Player recently caught up with this icon of the industry to discuss his life at the tables, his goals for the future and his successful foray into online poker.
CP: What led you to get involved with online poker?
DB: A group from Costa Rica came to me with a site to see if we could work out some endorsement. At the time I couldn’t find a site that I liked, and what I saw from them, I liked. So I agreed to endorse it. It’s now the fastest-growing site on the Internet.
In your opinion, how has online poker changed the nature of the game?
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Well, it definitely created a lot more players. There are tons of players out there that know how to play pretty well and they learned the game by playing online.
So how does DoylesRoom.com differ from the multitude of other online card rooms? What features are you most proud of?
Well the games are faster, the customer service is the best in the industry—very fast and reliable. We have a lot of games and we have speed tournaments and everything a poker player wants. Right now we’re trying to develop Badugi—it’s an Asian game that no other site has.
We also have more information about poker than any other site. We have a sister site, Doylesroom.net, as well as video and audio materials. We’ve also got Mike Caro, who teaches poker. Nobody else is even to close to us.
Prior to the development of Doylesroom.com, had you ever played poker online, and what did you think of it?
Yeah I had a little bit. Online poker is such a great thing. You can do it anytime, if you’re watching TV or just if you get bored. You can play for 10 or 15 minutes—however long you like. And you don’t have to get dressed up to do it!
How would you rate the skills of your typical online opponents compared with those of traditional poker players?
It’s funny, these kids come online and they’ve probably played more tournaments in the last six months than I have in my entire career. I don’t know if they could survive in the high-limit games—probably not. But I think some of them are pretty good players and they’ve made things tougher and tougher.
Online poker players love tournaments, especially when they can win a seat in a major poker event like the WSOP. Does your site offer players such tournaments, and to what events?
Yes, we do offer a lot of tournaments and give players a chance to win a seat in events like the World Series of Poker and the World Poker Tour.
You recently revised your groundbreaking Super Systems and published Super Systems 2. Why is this the one book every poker player—including online players—should have?
Super Systems 2 has all of the popular games that are played nowadays. It’s been updated from Super Systems to include a lot of the new games that you see out there today, like Omaha 8/B and Triple Draw—the original book didn’t have them. Those games weren’t even played when the original Super Systems was written. But with Super Systems 2, I did the same things as the first time. I got the best players that I could find in each poker discipline and collaborated with them. I didn’t change the hold’em section, though, because I still believe as I did 25 years ago.
Do you have any new books that are especially designed for online poker players?
Yes, my Online Poker. That one came out about a month ago or so and its heart and soul is about playing poker online safely.
A lot of people are just learning the game. What advice would you offer to someone new to poker, especially online poker?
To play within your comfort zone. Don’t go out and try to hit a home run right away. Also, treat it as entertainment. And never play with money that you can’t afford to lose. That’s what I always tell people.
A remarkable poker career, multiple WSOP bracelets, best-selling books, and the founder one of the best poker sites on the Net. What’s next for Doyle Brunson?
Really, I just want to play at the high levels for as long as I can. My goal is to get twelve bracelets—I have 10—before I retire. And I want to play in the high-cash games for as long as I’m able. You know, you can’t play forever; even the brightest star fades in time. It will happen, I just hope that it’s not for another 10 or 15 years.
Realistically most players start to decline at about 50 years old. They start losing their mental acuity a little bit and you have to be sharp to play high-limit poker. I’ve been lucky. I remain active and healthy. I look around the table now and they’re all just kids.
Thank you, Mr. Brunson, it was a real pleasure speaking with you.