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TODD BRUNSON



Todd Brunson
2005 Jason Kirk  


Todd Brunson - Source LasVegasVegas.com

Few players will ever find themselves standing in a bigger shadow than the one in which Todd Brunson found himself when he began playing poker professionally. In any other career the younger Brunson would have been free of any expectations, but at the table his name carries weight like no other. It's almost an understatement to say that his father is a living legend. Doyle won his 10th WSOP bracelet this past summer at the age of 71 and doesn't show any sign of slowing down soon. So how does a young man gain distance from his father's reputation? In Todd Brunson's case it was by coming up through the ranks on his own and proving himself through his own success.

In 1989 20-year-old Todd Brunson was living in Lubbock, Texas, where he studied law at Texas Tech University. Unbeknownst to his father he had been playing poker throughout college and had developed a real taste for the game. After his junior year he had discovered that he enjoyed poker more than continuing his studies, and he decided to go pro. Some people might assume that he got assistance from his father, but all of Todd's success as a young professional was due to his own efforts. At the age of 21 he won his first major prize, first place in a $200,000 tournament at the Bicycle Club in Los Angeles, and from there his career has been a long, steady climb upward.

The end result of all of Todd Brunson's hard work was arriving at the point where he could play the biggest games in the world on a regular basis. Unlike some other players who play at the top of the game, Todd was always willing to move down in limits if he thought he could earn more money playing a smaller game. He had a chance to experience the flip side, moving up from his regular game, when he joined with the other regulars at the Big Game in taking on Texas billionaire banker Andy Beal. Michael Craig's excellent book The Professor, The Banker and the Suicide King describes what a vital member of the team Todd was. Few of the other top pros fared so consistently well against the banker as he did, something Beal himself attributed to Todd having a read on him. When it came to playing in the biggest game the world had ever seen, nobody was as cool a customer as Todd Brunson.

Much like his famous father, Todd has enjoyed his share of tournament success. He has 12 major tournament wins on his resume, including victories at the 2004 Festa al Lago and the 2005 WSOP $2,500 Omaha hi-lo event. As time has gone by his results have improved steadily, leading to a career year in 2005 when he took 3rd place in the $15,000 Mirage Poker Showdown heads-up no-limit hold'em tourney, 8th in the $5,000 WSOP No-Limit Hold'em event, 6th in the $10,000 WSOP Pot-Limit Omaha tournament, and 2nd in the $3,000 Ultimate Poker Challenge event. His Omaha hi-lo win made him and Doyle the first father-son bracelet-winning duo in the history of the WSOP - and Doyle's win also made them the first such duo to win bracelets in the same year. In addition to his success at the poker table, Todd can also now add success as a writer. When Doyle Brunson decided to publish Super System 2, he enlisted his son's help - not with a section on hold'em, a game in which he is known as a particularly strong player, but instead as the author of the section on seven-card stud hi-lo.

A young man with a father as famous as Doyle Brunson could easily have become overwhelmed by the pressure of his name, but Todd Brunson has proven himself to be an able player in his own right. Not only has he held his own against the top players in the world, but he was one of the most dominant forces in the biggest game ever played. Still young, and with a reputation as a top player earned through his own efforts, Todd Brunson has a bright future ahead of him both in tournament poker and world's highest-limit cash games.


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