The World Series expanded its roster of poker contests to include several variants of the game, but Texas hold ’em remained the most publicized and lucrative event. Mr. Snyder called Mr. Brunson “Texas Doy-lee,” which reporters mistook for Dolly, and the nickname Texas Dolly stuck, though it seemed incongruous for someone who stood 6 feet 3 inches tall and weighed well over 250 pounds.
After moving to Las Vegas in 1973 for steadier gambling opportunities, Mr. Brunson won the tournament’s main event in 1976 and 1977, widely viewed as the world championship, earning $560,000 in a winner-take-all format. His 10 World Series bracelets are tied for second behind Phil Hellmuth’s 16.
In 1978, he self-published his book “How I Made Over $1,000,000 Playing Poker,” which included chapters by other top pros. Later renamed “Super System: A Course in Power Poker” when it was picked up by B & G Publishing in 2002, the book and its follow-up, “Super System 2,” remain top-selling poker manuals.
“As a postgraduate guide to the intricacies of high-level, high-stakes poker the work has no equal,” wrote the English poet Al Alvarez, who covered the 1981 World Series of Poker for The New Yorker. “The grammar may be shaky in places, the punctuation baroque, but the voice is distinct and the message is clear: aggression, constant aggression.”
Mr. Brunson was inducted into the World Series of Poker Hall of Fame in 1988.
After steady growth, poker had its cultural moment in 1998 with the release of the film “Rounders,” in which Matt Damon’s poker-playing character recites Brunson maxims while wielding a copy of “Super System.” That same year, poker became a late-night and cable television staple, and Mr. Brunson became a familiar figure.