For those at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino on Sunday, no, that wasn’t a man dressed up as Doyle Brunson for Halloween (although, that would have a been a great costume). It really was the poker legend himself making a surprise return to the World Series of Poker, but it didn’t last long.
Brunson arrived in the afternoon for Event #58: $1,000 Super Seniors No-Limit Hold’em and immediately drew the attention of the packed room. He took his seat, greeted the other players at his table, and looked down at his first WSOP cards in three years.
Last Time He Competed at the WSOP
The Poker Hall of Famer last played in a WSOP event in 2018 — Event #23: $10,000 No-Limit 2-7 Lowball Draw Championship. His son, Todd Brunson, talked him into playing the day before and it turned out to be a wise decision. Not only did “Texas Dolly,” who hadn’t competed in a WSOP event for years, create a buzz at the Rio, but he also proved he can still compete at a high level and reached the final table before busting in sixth place for $43,965.
Brunson earned his first WSOP cash since 2013 but fell short of his 11th bracelet. He hasn’t since competed in the annual poker extravaganza since but he did tease the possibility of doing so this year via a June tweet.
Back from ‘Retirement’
When Brunson left the Rio after busting from the final table in 2018, it was assumed that was the last time the poker world would see him compete in the WSOP. Three years later, now 88-years-old, the two-time Main Event champion had to take one more shot at a bracelet event in a series he once dominated.
On Sunday, he entered Day 1 of the Super Seniors tournament at around 3:30 p.m. PT. He was escorted to his seat by fellow Poker Hall of Famer Mori Eskandani, long-time poker producer and President of PokerGO.
Brunson raised to 1,600 right off the bat on his first hand back at the WSOP. The big blind moved all-in, forcing Brunson to muck his hand, which wasn’t exposed. The poker legend laughed and his opponent showed and “Texas Dolly” smiled and moved on to the next hand.
For those hoping to catch a glimpse of the poker legend in action, you didn’t have much time. Brunson busted out of the tournament less than an hour after he sat down to play.
He shoved his final 6,000 in pre-flop with and ran into the of Jana Vondach, who won the hand after the board ran out . Brunson’s shot at an 11th bracelet came to an abrupt end, but he did delight the crowd just by showing up to compete one more time.