The Godfather of Poker Audiobook is Doyle Brunson’s Last Gift; Where is His “Casper” Card Protector?

Home » The Godfather of Poker Audiobook is Doyle Brunson’s Last Gift; Where is His “Casper” Card Protector?
Doyle Brunson Audiobook

On May 14, 2023, poker legend Doyle Brunson passed away at the age of 89. His loss was immeasurable and was the biggest poker story of the year. While the community mourned the loss of the 10-time bracelet winner just weeks before the start of the 2023 World Series of Poker (WSOP), they had the opportunity to celebrate his legacy months later on October 2, known as Doyle Brunson Day in honor of the 10x2x hand that saw him win two WSOP Main Event titles.

What many people don’t know is that in the year before he passed, Brunson, who wrote the game-changing 1978 book Super/System, set about on one last poker project – to adapt his autobiography, The Godfather of Poker published in 2012, into an audiobook.

The audiobook, which is available now on Audible, was encouraged by Brunson’s longtime agent Brian Balsbaugh of Poker Royalty. It proved a lengthy and time-consuming affair with the finished product clocking in at 12 hours and 27 minutes.

Doyle Brunson Book
The Godfather of Poker (Image: WPT)

While I read The Godfather of Poker upon its release, I recently had the opportunity to revisit it by listening to the audiobook. What I can say is that the poker world is extremely fortunate to have had this project completed before Brunson’s passing, as hearing him read his life story in his signature Texas drawl is a transcendental experience for those with an appreciate for poker history and for the man who was pretty much there for it all.

For me, it is akin to the oral history interview William Hernstadt conducted on February 8, 1976, with Benny Binion, who didn’t grant many interviews. Binion was illiterate but shared his wisdom for the Las Vegas, Nevada KVVU Channel Five television program “Spotlight.” The collection is now housed at UNLV and is not only an oral record for a poker patriarch but also the city of Las Vegas.

Audiobooks weren’t a thing 50 years ago, so if you want to hear Binion you have to visit the college campus. However, when it comes to Brunson, poker fans can listen to Texas Dolly right at their fingertips thanks to The Godfather of Poker audiobook. What’s more, clips from the audiobook have already been used, and will continue to be, in continuing Brunson’s legacy. PokerGO’s Global Poker Award-winning ‘Doyle Brunson Celebration of Life’ is a prime example.

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How the Audiobook Came About

Poker Royalty’s Jesse Fullen, former PokerNews Community Manager, actually attended one of the audiobook recording sessions and became instrumental in its release. He was kind enough to answer some questions regarding how the project came about, how Doyle took to it, and more.

PokerNews: When and why did the idea for Doyle to do an audiobook come about?

Jesse Fullen: Doyle Brunson had the most amazing and recognizable voice. When you think back to those classic episodes of Poker After Dark where Doyle narrated the introduction, it was magical. Doyle’s autobiography and story were made to be shared and if you’re going to listen to an audiobook of it, you couldn’t have anyone besides Doyle narrate it. It’s an idea that had been around for a while, just had to find the right moment to fire on it.

Doyle Brunson
Doyle Brunson recording his audiobook.

How did Doyle feel about the project? What did the project entail?

Doyle was a big fan of the project. He put in long hours to get that recording completed. We set up a recording studio in his home office and had 2-3 audio technicians and a producer in the room with Doyle. We would bring that team out for 3-4 hours twice a week and over a few months we were able to get the whole book recorded.

“Doyle may want to keep going after a few hours but the sound of his voice told a different story.”

What were the biggest challenges while bringing the audiobook to life?

It isn’t hard to read a book. Reading a book slowly into a microphone with multiple people analyzing each word you say and the rhythm and speed as well is a whole different thing. There were challenges, of course, and one of the biggest ones was knowing when to stop. Doyle may want to keep going after a few hours but the sound of his voice told a different story.

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Are there any other book or audiobook projects coming down the pipeline that you can either share or tease?

There may be another audiobook project coming out this summer but you won’t hear any details about that today. Keep your ears open and you may hear about another really exciting project releasing in just a few weeks.

Can poker fans expect another “Doyle Brunson Day” on 10/2/24?

We are hard at work planning another celebration of Doyle Brunson in 2024. 10/2/23 was a very exciting day and the experiences we heard about from poker rooms all over the country were so exciting. Our goal is to keep growing and hopefully have a big celebration for Doyle here in Las Vegas. More information will be coming soon on this for sure.

“He Played At An Elite Level For Seven Decades”: Doyle Brunson Remembered During WSOP By His Peers

Status of Doyle’s Lucky Charm Casper

Pam Brunson
Pam Brunson with Casper (Image: italiapokerclub)

Poker fans who used to watch the ESPN episodes of the WSOP might recall a famous segment in which Brunson talked about his lucky charm, a Zippo lighter bearing the Ghostbusters logo and affectionately known as “Casper.”

Brunson talked about it extensively in his autobiography, and how Casper became such a lucky charm that other players would pay him to rent it out for an hour at a time. The rate varied depending on the game and players, but by his estimate, Brunson stated Casper made him more than $25,000 in rental fees alone.

It was such a lucky charm that the infamous Howard Lederer once tried to buy it.

Pam Brunson
Pam Brunson with Casper in the 2007 WSOP.

“I got so lucky whenever I used my Casper protector that my gambling friend Howard Lederer offered me $3,500 to leave it to him in my will,” Brunson wrote. “I wasn’t sure he was serious until he plunked down his money. So, I bequeathed Casper to him. Casper was already gaining fame because poker players had gotten wind of our deal. ESPN even picked up on the story.”

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Brunson then shared that his daughter, Pam Brunson, used Casper in the 2006 WSOP Main Event and outlasted both her father and brother, Todd Brunson. In 2007, she used it again and finished in 364th place out of 6,358 players for $35,000, outlasting her family members for a second year in a row.

Casper continued to prove a lucky charm for Pam, and she once pleaded on national television for Lederer to give back the rights.

“Howard, please let my dad have Casper back. I know that he sold him to you, but he means so much to me, and he needs to stay in the family.”

Lederer did sell Casper back to Brunson, albeit for $7,500, more than twice what he paid for it. So where is Casper now? PokerNews reached out to Pam Brunson through an intermediary, and it was confirmed that “it’s packed up somewhere but she has it.”

Who knows, Casper might one day help Pam capture a bracelet of her own.

“And if that happens,” Brunson wrote of the possibility, “they’d surely induct Casper the Friendly Ghost into the Poker Hall of Fame.”

Chad Holloway and Doyle Brunson
The author, Chad Holloway, with Doyle Brunson at the WPT book signing. (Image: WPT)
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PR & Media Manager for PokerNews, Podcast host & 2013 WSOP Bracelet Winner.

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