Ladies and Gentlemen... Tex Dolly has left the building. A legend said his last goodbyes when Doyle Brunson busted in sixth place in Event #23 $10,000 NL 2-7 Lowball. The ten-time bracelet winner was trying to win his 11th piece of bling. If Hollywood could script WSOP events, then Brunson would have beaten Brian Rast heads-up to win a bracelet in his last-ever tournament. But this is real life and Las Vegas is just brutal when giving gamblers a dose of reality.
Brunson didn't win the Lowball event, but the mere fact he made the final table is a testament to the sheer will, skill, and determination. For the last 2 decades Brunson could have been dismissed as a classical icon or dinosaur like many of the elders from his generation, but his deft poker skills kept him at the front of the class.
There will always be a big game in town, but no one has held a seat at that game in Vegas for as long as Brunson. Will there be anyone as close to a consistent winner for as long as someone like Dolly? Whether it was Bobby's Room or wherever Brunson and his buddies player, big money filtered through Brunson's table in Vegas over the last thirty years. Brunson never had an easy list of challengers and it always seemed like someone else was looking to snipe one the biggest guns in town. Sure, there was plenty of dead money gifting their chips away, but he also fended off a blitz of hot upstarts and mid-tiered pros finally ready to move up to nosebleed stakes to take a shot in the Big Game.
Look at the wrinkles on Brunson's weathered face. Each divot represented a ripple in time. Every wrinkle was another thousand bad beats that Brunson endured on the road of life. Brunson saw the transformation of the game from its murky origins in darkened, smoky backrooms of brothels to its ascension into the upper echelons of the entertainment industry under the blinding neon lights of Las Vegas Blvd. Fifty years ago Doyle Brunson was an outlaw gambler. Today, he's a sainted legend and an established pitchman for a gaming industry that is worth billions.
Most gunslingers die gasping for air with their guts spilling out. Brunson might not have won every gunfight, but he survived the ones he lost and lived to tell about the harrowing moments. The grizzled gunslinger in the off-white Stetson rides off into the Nevada sunset for one final time.
Event #23 $10,000 NL 2-7 Lowball - Final Results
On the start of Day 2 of this event, Doyle Brunson late reg'd at the last possible moment. He said it would be his last-ever WSOP event. He wanted to play one of his favorite games before he officially called it quits. Ever since that moment, the poker world had been keeping close tabs on Event #23. At the least, they wanted to catch a glimpse of the legend one last time. And at the best, maybe ole Texas Dolly can work his magic one final time?
The poker gods were kind to Brunson, but they weren't on Hollywood's payroll. Brunson would advance to the final table, but he'd bust out in sixth place. Five spots short of a bracelet. Five shot short of his 11th title.
These $10K Lowball events usually have stacked final tables with a few old-school pros, a handful of the top mixed-cash-game players in the world, and a couple young guns who had been woodshedding the game with their tech-savvy compadres. This final table was precisely that. No real soft spots at all... Johnny World, Doyle Brunson, Shawn Sheikhan, James Alexander, Dario Sammartino, Mike Wattel and Brian Rast. Freddy Bonyadi bubbled the final table in eighth place.
Johnny World was the first to exit the final table. Then Brunson exited in sixth. Brunson earned $43,963 for sixth-place, but I had a feeling it was one of the only times he didn't play for the money.
Brunson's run fizzled out in sixth place, much to the dismay of fans all over the world that railed his event in real life at the Rio, online via WSOP updates, or on the (paid) live stream. Oh, ya... I know PokerGO had exclusive rights for that event, but the WSOP shoulda aired that final table for free for Doyle's sake. It would have been cool (and one heck of a promo) if the entire world got to see him play one last time.
Rast told reporters, "And you know everyone was pulling for Doyle and I can understand that. And you know, outside of me, I was pulling for Doyle too."
Sheiky was dunzo in fifth place, followed by Alexander and Italian pro Daria Sammartino. That set up a heads-up battle between Mike Wattel and Brian Rast. Both had won bracelets before and Wattel ended a long-time drought with a victory last summer. Wattel smelled blood in the water and only Rast stood in his way of winning #3.
Alas, it was Rast's day. The pro picked off Wattel to win his fourth overall bracelet.
Wattel banked $160K for a consolation prize, while Rast won a shade under $260K. Not too shabby, eh?
Only the top 15 players cashed in the $10K 2-7 Lowball event. Among those fortunate few were Freddy Bonyadi, Ray Dehkharghani, Todd Brunson, Galen Hall, Ilya Trincher, Robert Mizrachi, Paul Volpe, and Ben Yu.
And yes, Todd Brunson and Doyle Brunson cashed in the same tournament together. The father/son duo were actually seated next to each other at one point.
2018 WSOP - Event #23 $10,000 NL 2-7 Lowball
2018 WSOP Quick Links
Happy trails, Tex Dolly...