Doyle Brunson Discusses Sister’s Suicide During Punta Cana Classic

Written by:
Patrick Flanigan
Published on:
Doyle Brunson

Though was aware of the “Godfather of Poker” Doyle Brunson’s sister’s suicide the moment it happened, the website did not report the sad news out of respect for his family. 

Doyle received the news just as our own Jenny Woo was set to interview him the final day of the Punta Cana Poker Classic.  He and his family, daughter Pam and son Todd, caught the next available flight out of the Dominican Republic that evening.  Doyle briefly touched on the death of his sister on his popular Twitter page, while providing few details. 

Only the organizers and those who were part of Team seemed to know what had transpired. 

“Obviously we (at were all saddened by the news and our prayers went out to the family,” said Jenny Woo, Senior Correspondent, who covered the 2010 Punta Cana Classic.  “In this age of the Internet, the Brunson family required some quiet time and we made the wise decision not to leak this news out.”

This week, Doyle Brunson himself discussed the sudden death of his only sister.

“It is hard to get back in the swing of thing after the death of my only sister, Lavada Hale. Lavada was 79 years old and had lost her eyesight due to glaucoma and related eye diseases. She couldn’t stand the thought of living out her years in a world of darkness so she took her own life. “She was such a strong person all her life and I never dreamed she was so depressed she could commit suicide. It was a tough time for our family but we are a tough family and I was proud of everybody the way they handled this tragedy. Thanks to everyone for their calls, tweets and prayers. RIP Lavada.”

Brunson also elaborated a bit more on the success of the first ever Punta Cana Classic.

“We were having a great time in a great resort. What a big place, over 130 acres of 2,800 rooms, 13 swimming pools, eight restaurants and 10 or 12 bars. It was an all inclusive resort and there were lots of poker players there including Hoyt Corkins and five members of the Brunson 10. The tournament had 200 entries and should be a major tournament next year.”

- Patrick Flanagan,