Los Angeles, CA–Radar Pictures has secured the life rights to two-time World Series of Poker Main Event champion Doyle Brunson, with plans to develop a biopic on the legendary player. Radar’s Justin Smith will adapt the script from Brunson’s life story, covering his more than half-century as a professional poker player.
Brunson was the first player to win $1 million in poker tournaments and has won ten WSOP bracelets throughout his career, tied with Johnny Chan and Phil Ivey for second all-time, behind Phil Hellmuth’s sixteen bracelets. He is one of only four players to have won the Main Event at the World Series of Poker multiple times. Brunson was the first of six players to win both the WSOP Main Event and a World Poker Tour title. In January 2006, Bluff Magazine voted Brunson the most influential force in the world of poker and he announced his retirement in 2018.
Smith enthused, “There have been many gambling and poker scripts sent to me. None of them has intrigued me as much as Doyle’s story. There’s no better life story than Doyle’s that I know of. Having played the biggest poker games with Doyle myself, I’m extremely honored to be in a unique position to be able to help tell his story and capture the environment accurately from an insider perspective.”
Smith and Ted Field will produce for Radar. Doyle Brunson, Brian Balsbaugh, Daniel Cates, Mike Svobodny, Mike McGuiness, Illya Trincher and David Oppenheim will executive produce.
Field added, “I met Doyle for the first time when he was 88. From the twinkle in his eye, I was immediately aware that even at that age, with his razor sharp mind he could still be formidable in any proposition he might undertake. If Doyle wants to bet with you, look out. His improbable life story needs to be told with all its rollercoaster ups and downs and we at Radar feel privileged to have the chance to do it justice.“
The story of Doyle Brunson, an American treasure and the greatest poker player of all time, is one for the ages. It’s a story of guts and glory, of good luck and bad, of triumph and unspeakable tragedy, of courage and grace. He has survived whippings, gun fights, stabbings, mobsters (the real-life ones portrayed in the movie Casino), murderers, and a death sentence when, riddled with incurable cancer, he was given months to live by doctors who told him his hand was played out. Apparently, fate had never played poker with Brunson—he lived. Of a group of 32 men he played poker with in the tough alleys of Texas, just he and one other survived the treacherous perils of that life. A master of the bluff, his most outrageous bluff came after being pistol-whipped and told he’s going to die with a gunman pointing a pistol at his forehead. Again, he lived. He’s gambled for millions of dollars—and with his life against the real-life mobsters and killers made famous in the movie Casino—and was the biggest sports bettor in the world with a reputation of betting enormous sums of money on just about anything.
Doyle has not only made more money at golf than anyone else until Tiger Woods came along, he once bet one million dollars on a single hole—that, when he was virtually wheelchair-bound and could barely stand. He’s been hard-up flat broke more times than he’s got fingers and has won millions of dollars just as many times. Brunson has seen it all: from the athletic dreams and a leg shattered by a freak injury which waylaid his path to the NBA (he was drafted by the Lakers), to the devastating death of his first-born daughter, to outrageous exploits like trying to discover Noah’s Ark and raise the Titanic. Doyle’s rollercoaster of a life defines the saying: Truth is stranger than fiction. Twice a winner of the prestigious World Series of Poker in Las Vegas, he’s won millions and lost millions—sometimes in seconds—but decidedly more of the former than the latter.
Brunson can still be found playing in the highest stakes poker games in the world, often with as much as one million dollars in front of him. To every one of the 250 million people worldwide who play poker each year, Doyle Brunson, is the legendary “Babe Ruth of Poker”—the greatest gambler and poker player who has ever lived.
Radar is repped by Buchwald. Doyle is represented by Brian Balsbaugh of Poker Royalty.