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Monday, September 26, 2005

poker legend

NEW YORK - Doyle Brunson can remember when being a professional poker player meant being an embarrassment.

The 72-year-old Texan recalls old friends crossing to the other side of the street when they saw him coming, and pulling out of the finals of a televised high-stakes tournament in 1972 because he didn’t want to shame his family by advertising what he did for a living.

All of which made Brunson’s situation on Friday night that much more interesting. With his trademark cowboy hat and his drawl as thick as Texas heat, he was the esteemed elder statesman at the “High Rollers Steak Dinner,” one of the opening night events at this year’s New Yorker Festival.