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Best of John G. Brokopp

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Meet Doyle Brunson, Professional Poker's 'Texas Dolly'

26 October 2005

Doyle Brunson had been a professional poker legend for decades when today's young stars of the game were still learning how to play Old Maid and Go Fish.

At age 71, poker's one and only "Texas Dolly" is an international celebrity who consistently has defeated all comers for more than half a century and has a trophy chest with 10 World Series of Poker championship bracelets to prove it.

The Thrifty Gambler caught up with Brunson recently for a chat about the explosion in the popularity of poker and how he has adjusted to life in the spotlight:

The Thrifty Gambler: You recently returned from a tour of England to play in the London Open and make personal appearances on behalf of www.DoylesRoom.com. How does the European poker market differ?

Doyle Brunson: It's not advanced as it is in the United States, but there's a lot of interest in it. It's not the craze that it is here. It seems like you can't turn the TV on without finding poker games. In Doyle's Room, we've got a lot of Europeans on the site that aren't nearly as good as the American players, so consequently it's a great site for the Americans because they go on there and they can beat the Europeans in Hold'em. If they were playing Omaha or some other game, the Europeans are generally better than the Americans. Hold'em is the game of choice in the U.S., so the Americans are cleaning up on my site.

TG: How has playing before television cameras and becoming an international celebrity changed you or the way you play?

DB: Actually I play like I've always played. I don't pay much attention to the cameras. I don't get out there and try to be a performer. The cameras don't bother me. It would have years ago, but I've been through it so many times now that I almost ignore it. The recognition is extremely flattering. I try to accommodate everybody and I always try to be polite and courteous. I do it for poker's sake because I know I am the elder statesman.

TG: What triggered the public's fascination with poker?

DB: The poker rooms on the internet. People that don't know how to play can play from the privacy of their homes. They can even play for fun until they learn how to play. That's what we stress in Doyle's Room. And we have a sister site, www.Poker1.com, that's got all the information for free. You can go there and read articles, listen to audios and watch videos. It's something the amateur player should do. Then they should play at their own comfort level when they play on the internet and not over-gamble.

I think the other thing that's really triggered the explosion is the hole card cameras that show what the players are holding at the televised events. I think that's what really pushed it out there and got everybody interested. The beauty of poker is that everybody can beat anybody on a given day. It's a great game and America is just now finding out what a great game it is.

TG: How does playing on the internet differ from playing in a 'brick and mortar' poker room?

DB: On the internet you don't know who you're playing, so you have to play in a more straightforward manner. But when you're playing in real games, you're playing the person that you're in the pot with and you form your conclusion about his hand on the way he acts and so forth. So it's entirely different, internet poker and real poker. A poker player needs to be a psychologist. I've often wondered if they'd be great poker players because that's what poker's about. It's about people.

TG: How long does it take you to get a 'read' on another player?

DB: Obviously the longer he stays the more you know about him. Everybody has a different skill level. I form my opinion about people very quickly, especially at the poker table. I think you learn more about a guy in an hour playing poker than you do in a day outside the poker room. I think his true emotions come out in a poker game, his inner self kind of surfaces. That's the reason I think I've been so successful in my life playing poker. I think I can pick up on that.

John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

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John G. Brokopp
John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp