Poker is a game of risk and gambles. It’s a game where players take measured moves in hopes of big returns over time. A player may sustain some short-term losses but is hoping for long-term gains.

Through the years, many players have beaten the odds to become successful on the poker felt as well as in business and life. From life on the tables to the business world to raising a family, here’s a look at a few players who have parlayed their skills at the poker tables to success in life.



A poker legend and Hall of Famer, Brunson rose from humble beginnings in the north-central Texas town of Longworth. Always a competitor, he excelled on the basketball court and as a runner on the track. He won a gold medal in the one-mile event at the state track meet in 1950 before attending college at Hardin-Simmons University. After leaving college with a master’s degree in 1955, Brunson went on to be a school principal before taking a job selling business machines.

But, a life in sales wasn’t in the cards. After learning to play poker while in college, Brunson found he could make much more money at the tables than in sales. As a Texas road gambler, he spent many hours looking for action in Texas and the southwest United States with partners Amarillo Slim Preston and Sailor Roberts. Together, they would be some of the big names in the early days of the World Series of Poker.

“My fledgeling poker career was no different than my athletic career, or anything else I did,” Brunson wrote in his autobiography, The Godfather of Poker. “I was addicted, obsessed. I put everything I had, all my energies, into my new vocation.”

The hard work paid off. Even at age 85, Brunson is not only a regular in the highest cash games in the world, but also has 10 WSOP bracelets including winning the Main Event in 1976 and 1977.

The poker legend and Hall of Famer has come a long way from rural Texas and remains the elder statesman of the poker world.