Brian Rast won the $10,000 No-Limit 2-7 Single Draw event at the 2018 World Series of Poker this week topping a small but intimidating field of 95 players. It was the fourth bracelet of his career – two of which were in the $50,000 Poker Players Championship – and he now has over $21 million in live tournament earnings, but I hope he will forgive us as we use most of this space to talk about the man who finished sixth in the event: Doyle Brunson.
Texas Dolly Calling it Quits
Brunson, who will turn 85-years old this summer, has barely played at the WSOP in years as it is too physically taxing to do so at his age. This was his first cash at the WSOP since 2013. He registered for the tournament prior to the beginning of Day 2, the last moment players could do so. Before that, he tweeted, “Going to the Rio to play in 2-7 lowball tournament. Probably the last one I’ll ever play.”
In his last World Series of Poker tournament, the “Godfather of Poker” made a final table.
“I could really appreciate from that perspective how special it was that Doyle came, he actually played a tournament this year and final tabled it,” Rast told WSOP officials afterward. “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.”
Brunson not only said this will be his last WSOP event, but he told Poker Central – which is live streaming much of the WSOP via its PokerGO service – that he would be retiring from poker altogether after the summer so that he can spend time with his wife, whose health is declining.
“My wife is not in very good health, and I will stay with her for the duration of either her life or mine,” Brunson said.
“I’m going to stop playing completely, but while I might change my mind, I don’t think that I will,” he added. “This will be the last time that my wife and I have to spend together, and right now, every day that I leave the house I feel guilty.”
“My daughter stays with my wife a lot, and I never play until late anymore these days so I can be with her, and after 57 years of marriage I feel like owe it to my wife to stay with her.”
Brunson clarified on Wednesday via Twitter that his retirement isn’t “written in stone” and that he may still make appearances, particularly if “they start mixed games on high stakes poker.”
Brunson won the WSOP Main Event in both 1976 and 1977, winning the final hand both times with 10-2, a hand which became known as “The Brunson.” He has ten WSOP bracelets in total, the last coming in 2005.
Rast Seizes, Enjoys the Moment
Rast said that the final table was both somewhat normal and special at the same time, saying afterward:
“You know, in the last couple years, I’ve started playing with Doyle a lot. So, in that respect, it was, you know, just another day playing with Doyle, but I could still take a step back and appreciate, like from the poker world’s poker world’s perspective … he has a history of back-to-back and the 10-two named after him because he won the back-to-back championships and he’s won a lot of bracelets … He’s a legend.
While maybe not the Mount Rushmore player Brunson is, Rast is building his own legend. And while he certainly cares about the money (he has won plenty of it), the man who has never lost heads-up at the WSOP can appreciate the moment.
“….here is something cool about just being at this final table,” he said. “Friends, family, other people in the poker world who are texting you stuff and it’s like a cool thing where you get to share your career with friends and family.”
2018 World Series of Poker $10,000 No-Limit 2-7 Single Draw – Final Table Standings
1. Brian Rast – $259,670
2. Mike Wattel – $160,489
3. Dario Sammartino – $114,023
4. James Alexander – $81,986
5. Shawn Sheikhan – $59,669
6. Doyle Brunson – $43,963
7. John Hennigan – $32,796
Lead photo credit: DoyleBrunson.com