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Doyle Brunson Life Story Sold to a Film Production Studio

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Posted on: May 5, 2022, 12:32 p.m.

Last update: May 5, 2022, 01:52 a.m.

The life story of Doyle Brunson, one of five players to win the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event more than once, is shown on the big screen.

Doyle Brunson WSOP Main Event poker movie
Poker legend Doyle Brunson in 2018 shows off the 10-2 pocket cards that won him the World Series of Poker Main Event in 1976 and 1977. Brunson’s life story is being turned into a feature film. (Picture: USA TODAY)

Deadline reported this week that Radar Pictures had acquired the film rights to Doyle’s biography. The 88-year-old retired from professional poker in 2018 after a career spanning more than 50 years.

Radar Pictures is an independent production company that finances and produces its own feature films. The studio is behind titles such as Jumanji and Riddick – with The Rock and Vin Diesel respectively – as well as The last Samourai with Tom Cruise. Radar has produced 80 films since 1984, with box office earnings exceeding $9 billion in sales.

Radar’s Justin Smith will be responsible for producing Brunson’s life story for the big screen. A poker player himself, Smith is eager for this opportunity.

Many game and poker scripts have been sent to me. None of them intrigued me as much as Doyle’s story. Smith said Deadline.

“Having played the greatest games of poker myself with Doyle, I am extremely honored to be in a unique position to be able to help tell his story and accurately capture the environment from an inside perspective,” said added Smith.

Almost unprecedented career

Doyle Brunson was the last man standing in the main events of the 1976 and 1977 WSOP. Only three others have won the world’s most prestigious poker tournament in consecutive years, the others being Johnny Chan, Johnny Moss and Stu Ungar.

In addition to his two WSOP Main Event titles, Brunson’s illustrious career includes eight additional WSOP bracelets. The Texas native, a longtime Las Vegas resident, was inducted into the World Series of Poker Hall of Fame in 1988.

Brunson’s life was not without controversy. Big poker was investigated by the SEC in late 2005 after Brunson publicly announced his intention to buy the World Poker Tour, a publicly traded company at the time.

News of Brunson’s takeover sent WPT stocks skyrocketing. But when the deal fell through, Brunson and his investors fell silent when the SEC inquired about the true intent of their offer. Although the case dragged on for two years, the SEC finally dropped the investigation in 2007.

High-stakes movies

Doyle Brunson’s upcoming biopic will be another feature film focused on the game of poker. But with the untitled film likely at least a year or two away from its premiere, here are a few other poker-focused movies for your viewing pleasure.

  • Rounders (1988) – Often cited as the best poker picture of all time, the star-studded film starring Matt Damon, Edward Norton and John Malkovich tells the story of a high-stakes underground poker game.
  • The Cincinnati Kid (1965) — The oldest poker movie on our list, The Cincinnati Kid features Steve McQueen in the lead role of Eric “The Kid” Stoner, a Depression-era poker player who stakes his reputation as the game’s top newcomer against Lancey “The Man” Howard.
  • Molly’s Game (2017) – A more recent theatrically released film, Molly’s Game tells the true story of Molly Bloom, the infamous “Poker Queen” who hosted high-stakes games for Hollywood celebrities.