Doyle Brunson is the sentimental favorite every summer during the $10,000 buy-in No-limit Texas Hold'em World Championship.
Maybe it's the fact that Brunson, 79, is a 10-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner and a two-time Main Event champion. Maybe it's the fact that "Texas Dolly" rarely plays tournaments these days. Or maybe folks just want to see one of the old-timers take down the Internet wiz kids.
Whatever it is, Brunson always attracts huge crowds around his table at the Rio Convention Center, and they figure to grow even more this week if he keeps running well.
Brunson made a big move during Day 2A/2B of the Main Event and finished 224,000 chips, placing him in the top 30 for the first two starting flights. The tournament continues Wednesday with Day 2C, and Brunson will resume play with all the remaining players Thursday.
Nick Schwarmann is the overall chip leader with 413,600.
Brunson, who began the day with 81,025 chips, doubled up in the afternoon thanks to pocket aces and won another massive pot during the final level.
Brunson called a 6,600-chip bet by Rob Ettinger after a flop of 10-9-2, which is a scary board for any player going against Brunson. (The 10-2 is named after Brunson after he famously won both of his Main Event titles with the trash starting hand.) The turn was a queen, and after Ettinger slowed down, Brunson bet 16,000 chips, which Ettinger called. Brunson then bet 45,000 after the river 9, and when Ettinger called, Brunson flipped over king-jack for the nut straight.
The pot gave Brunson nearly 250,000 chips, and even after taking a small hit early Wednesday, the fan favorite is in great shape heading into Thursday.
Could we have a replay of 2004, when Brunson made a magical run and finished 54th? Maybe.