Only a handful of poker players permeate the mainstream, and Doyle Brunson is certainly one of them. Known as Texas Dolly, he got a shoutout on last week’s episode of WWE Monday Night Raw during the JBL Poker Invitational.
Like Brunson, John Bradshaw Layfield (JBL) is a Hall of Famer in his industry having been inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2020. On the December 5th episode of Monday Night Raw, JBL hosted the first of what is expected to be a series of poker games.
In it, he said, “Texas Dolly couldn’t put on a better poker tournament than we’re putting on right now.”
JBL, who retired from the ring in 2009 but recently returned to the company in a manager role, hosted a game that include WWE superstars such as the Alpha Academy (Chad Gable & Otis), the OC (AJ Styles, Luke Gallows, Karl Anderson, and Mia Yim), Baron Corbin, and Dexter Lumis w/ Johnny Gargano. At another table, there was Dominik Mysterio, Akira Tozawa, and more.
Poker in Wrestling
It’s not the first time JBL has brought poker to the WWE. During his run as a tag team partner with Ron “Faarooq” Simmons, the two often played poker in the locker room as part of their Acolytes Protection Agency (APA) gimmick.
The WWE has utilized poker as a story-telling tool throughout its history, and more recently had a poker-theme character on their NXT promotion in the form of Australian Duke Hudson, who starred in the short-lived “Duke’s Poker Room.”
Wrestling in Poker
Poker fans might recall that it wasn’t too long ago that the WWE made its way into the World Series of Poker (WSOP) thanks to Dan “Jungleman” Cates, who insisted in dressing up as the late Randy “Macho Man” Savage on his way to winning the $50K Poker Players Championship for the second straight year.
Similarly, three-time WSOP bracelet winner Dash Dudley, who has over $3 million in lifetime tournament earnings according to the Hendon Mob, tried his hand at becoming a wrestler back in Michigan. Also, you may not know it, but PokerNews’ own Matt Hansen, who serves as Head of Live Reporting US, even got in the ring once upon a time while living in Chicago.
So, Who Won?
In the end, Dexter Lumis and Johnny Gargano swept the JBL Poker Invitational as seen in this video from WWE:
*Images courtesy of WWE.
Executive Editor US, PokerNews Podcast co-host & 2013 WSOP Bracelet Winner.