Doyle Brunson tells the story of Jen Harman v. the Mob

Jon Pill
Published by:
Posted on 05/03/2021

Story time with Doyle has, in the last few months, become one of the little gems of poker Twitter. The great-granddaddy of poker sits in his rocking chair and tells us, in episodes of 280 characters or fewer, tales of the bad old days.

This week’s episode involved Doyle attempting to quantify just how frightening Jennifer Harman could be at the poker table.

Jennifer Harman is one of the old-school pros whose ferocity and talent cannot be overestimated. Especially when she has a stack of chips in front of her. She is primarily a live cash game player and one of the props of The Big Game. She has two WSOP bracelets, but without the regular TV appearances that more-frequent tournament players get, her profile isn’t now quite what some of her male counterparts from that era are.

The public knows Jimmy Chagra less than some of his contemporaries too. In his case the competition was a little more rough and tumble. His fight for market share was against people like Pablo Escobar, or George Jung and Nicolas Pileggi (on whom the movies Blow and Goodfellas are based). Chagra is best known for the alleged hire of Woody Harrelson’s father — Charles Harrelson — on a commission to kill Judge John H. “Maximum John” Wood.

Chagra went down for a couple of things in ’78 and got out of prison in 2003 after turning state’s witness.

Jen Harman is small, blonde, and at the time of the tale Doyle Tells, she would have been around 40-years-old. But even Jimmy Chagra wouldn’t mess with Harman on her own turf.

“The biggest drug dealer in the world”

“Jimmy Chagra was the biggest drug dealer in the world,” Doyle explains. “[He] went to jail for having a Federal judge killed. He waited 20 years, snitched on his contacts to the feds to get out of jail. He walked into Bobby’s Room at a bad time.”

It was a bad time because, as Brunson puts it, “Sweet little Jennifer Harman was los[ing] […] and as everybody knows is a terror.”

Something about Chagra’s presence in Bobby’s Room (the old home of The Big Game) set her off. “Jennifer lost a big pot, screamed for the floor man and demanded [Chagra] leave.”

Doyle tried to warn her who she was dealing with. “I said ‘do you know who that is?’ She yelled ‘I don’t care if he is Al Capone.’ I want that xxx out of here.”

The floorman put his neck on the line and escorted Chagra out. Though Chagra got the last word in the tale. “As he left,” Doyle relates. “[Chagra] said ‘I tip more than u have in front of you.'”

Brunson, probably out of old-fashioned Christian digression, declines to relate what Harman said in reply to that.

Featured image source: Flickr by WPT