Hand nicknames have been a part of the beautiful game of poker as long as it has been played such as Rainbow, Dead Man’s Hand, Backdoor and many more. The Doyle Brunson Hand is arguably the most famous hand in poker and often called the luckiest hand. Let’s take a look on how this famous hand got its name.
Doyle F. Brunson is a retired American poker player who has played professionally for over 50 years. The 83 year old was the first player ever who officially won more than one million dollars in poker tournaments. In 2006, a poker magazine named him the most influential force in the world of poker. In addition he is one of only 4 players who won a World Series of Poker (WSOP) tournament in four consecutive years. Brunson is also the first of six players to win both the WSOP Main Event and a World Poker Tour title.
In the 1976 WSOP Main Event, Brunson was heads-up with a player known as Jesse Alto. Alto was an amateur and his day job was a car dealer, whereas Brunson was a professional. The story could have been about how one of the world top professional poker players lost against an amateur car dealer. Alto bet out with A-J, an excellent starting hand when heads-up. Brunson called with 10-2 suited. The flop came A-J-10, giving Alto two pairs. Brunson went all-in with the weaker hand, Alto of course called. Brunson caught runner-runner 2s on the turn and river to make a full house and won the Main Event!
The very next year, Brunson was defending his title heads-up against Gary “Bones” Berland. Brunson looked down at his cards and found the already notorious 10-2, this time not even suited. However, Berland was looking down at the even more woeful 8-5 off-suit so both players did not make a huge move pre-flop. It was the flop that would make this hand interesting for both players. The flop 10-8-5 gave him a pair and his opponent two pairs. Brunson bet high and Berland pushed his whole stack and then the most mysterious thing of all happened – the River came up a 10. It was the exact same hand, the 10s-2s Full House that had given Brunson the championship bracelet the year before. He took the consecutive bracelet and another $340,000 in prize money.
From that moment on, the confounding 10-2 has been known to all in the poker world as The Doyle Brunson Hand. Although this hand is widely called the luckiest hand, if you happen to hold two pairs of black aces and eights, it is known as terrible luck or ‘The Dead Man’s Hand’. People are superstitious or even if they don’t count themselves as superstitious, they do have little rituals, or charms, that they believe will put them in a better position to win.
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