Thursday, September 16, 2004


Stu Ungar - Poker Savant

I never met Stu Ungar, but boy I wish I had. Here’s what I know about him though: he was a phenomenally successful cardplayer and a real poker tragedy. Stu Ungar won the World Championship three times and had a total of five WSOP bracelets. He was also the winner of ten major NL Holdem tournaments with buy-ins of over $5000 each. Since he only played in 30 of these championship events in his life, this make his ten wins that much more amazing.

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Stu Ungar was not only a brilliant no limit hold'em player, he was a world class gin rummy player. He’s famously know for the following quote: "Some day, I suppose it's possible for someone to be a better no kimit hold'em player than me. I doubt it, but it could happen. But, I swear to you, I don't see how anyone could ever play gin better than me."

Stu Ungar was well-known as a genius with a photographic memory. He was barred from playing blackjack nearly everywhere in Las Vegas because he was so good at counting cards. He won $83,000 playing blackjack at Caesars before the manager there barred him. Stu’s response was to correctly predict the next 18 cards that were coming out of the shoe.

He never had any other job in his life than gambling, and he became a professional gambler at the age of 14. His specialty as a teenager was gin rummy, and he consistently beat the best players in New York City over and over again. He made and lost over a million dollars at least four times during his short life, and he gambled on everything, not just cards, but also horses and golf.

Like most tragic figures, Stu Ungar had tragic flaws. Besides being infamous for being hateful to poker dealers, he was also a drug addict. Stu Ungar died broke at the age of 42 on November 22, 1998, in a room at the Oasis Motel in Las Vegas.

You can read more about Stu Ungar:

Poker Pages: Poker Greats: Stu Ungar

Stu Ungar - Poker Great

Know Your Poker Legends: Stu Ungar

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