Los Angeles, CA
The story broke on Friday. The head line on the PoRo Report read:
The move made sense considering Black Friday decimated American sponsorship deals.
Even though the article originated from Gambling911 (the accuracy of their intel is anywhere from 0 to 100% which makes any story from them a coinflip), the information was easy to verify with a Skype call to Costa Rica and a text message to the right person in Las Vegas. And yes, it was true. Doyle Brunson was leaving Doyle's Room as official pitchman.
Although Brunson was not an old school hooligan like Benny Binion, Brunson flourished early in his career as an outlaw gambler playing the Texas circuit over 50 years ago. We got a taste of his renegade nature when he decided to continue to endorse Doyle's Room even though the feds launched their crusade against funding online poker accounts.
Doyle's Room was one of the sites which had revolving doors for American online poker players. Doyle intended on thumbing his nose at the goons in Washington and initially desire to stayed online post-UIGEA. However, the Tribeca Network (where Doyle's Room ran its games) announced late in 2006 that it was leaving. Less than one year later, Doyle's Room returned to the market.
In 2009, Doyle's Room moved to the same network as Cake Poker. That relationship lasted to years because in early 2011, Doyle's Room moved to the Yatahay Network (which operates BetCris sportsbook and True Poker -- a site where I played blogger tournaments briefly in 2004).
The most interesting thing Doyle's official statement was the line: "Although they believe they have the right to market the name Doylesroom and to use my name and likeness for a period of time, I have asked them not to."
Doyle's patented Stetson and shit-eating grin became synonymous with Doyle's Room branding. Although old Texas Dolly wasn't involved in the day-to-day operations (like say Howard Lederer's extent at Full Tilt), his business partners were banking on his image and stature in the community to create a successful online gaming operation. Without the likeness -- there's no viable link to the legend.
So what's next for Doyle Brunson? He should become the pitchman for scooters after that epic Scooter Race against Amarillo Slim at the 2009 WSOP.
Unless the gringos in Costa Rica can hire Ashton Kutcher to step in and replace Texas Dolly, you can expect Doyle's Room to cease operations in the near future.