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Brett Murray Embraces His Role as “The God of Thunder”

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When it comes to playing poker at Thunder Valley, Santa Rosa tournament pro Brett Murray likely has an edge.

Or perhaps it’s a target.

When your nickname is “The God of Thunder,” a title bestowed upon Murray for all of the success he’s achieved in a decade of playing at Thunder Valley, your opponents will likely feel some way about playing against you. But for Murray, it’s a title that brings a smile to his face.

“I love it, it’s a good nickname. It’s a good feeling,” Murray said.

Legend has it, Murray was given the nickname by the press back in 2018 when he topped the 464-player field of the World Series of Poker Circuit $1,700 Main Event for just over $151,000, the third largest score of his career. After that, the moniker stuck and his continued success in the Thunder Valley poker room has only bolstered its usage.

Currently, Murray sits as Thunder Valley’s All-Time Money List leader with $830,069 – roughly $300,000 more than second-place – Thunder Valley’s own ambassador Tyler Patterson. So many of Murray’s career highlights, from his first career five-figure score to his RunGood and WSOP Circuit titles, have come in this room, a place that he’s adopted as his defacto home court.

“He’s a sicko,” said Tyler Patterson, talking about Murray. “He’s so comfortable and just kills the game all the time…especially here.”

Murray says he loves the room and drives the 90+ minutes to play all the big tournaments that come around. And as it turns out, the players in the room like him as well. A casual poll from the players and staff confirms that the towering, soft-spoken Murray is well respected on the felt and well-liked among his peers off it.

“All the players love him. He’s nice to everybody – the recreational players, the pros everybody likes Brett,” Patterson said.

However, for all his success, according to Murray, WPT Rolling Thunder, in particular, has not been one of them. And that’s something he’s looking to change this year.

“I’ve never really done good in the WPTs,” Murray admitted. “So, it would be nice to make a run in this one for sure.”

When asked about what’s most important to him regarding WPT Rolling Thunder – the money or the titles – he smiles and notes that he doesn’t want to have to choose.

“A little bit of both, money but, you know, trophies are nice. A WPT would be the one I want to win the most.”

It’s not as if Murray hasn’t had any success in the WPT Rolling Thunder Championship event, two cashes (one in 2018 and another in 2020 for a total of roughly $19,000). He also surged to the chip lead headed into Day 2 back in 2019. But that breakout success, a defining win, in this event has, so far, eluded him.

It’s likely just variance, as the influx of big-name tournament pros who make the trip to Lincoln, CA are unlikely to throw him off his game. Murray’s amassed more than $2.3 million in lifetime tournament earnings according to The Hendon Mob, plenty of which has come with Murray taking his talents on the road and battling against the best.

“I’m used to [the competition], I’ve played a few WPTs in Florida and stuff so I’m used to playing with some of these people,” he said. “I’ve been around, they’ve been around…I’ve played a lot.”

Today, The God of Thunder is tucked into the corner of the poker room, an unassuming face in the crowd of hundreds grinding on Day 1 of the 2024 WPT Rolling Thunder. Looking to use that edge and, like many perhaps, for a little lightning to strike.

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