Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Stu 'The Kid' Ungar

When you talk about Legends of Poker they don't get much bigger than Stu Ungar. Full name Stuart Errol Ungar he was born on Sept 8th 1953 in New York city.

His card playing adventures began with gin rummy which he learned at a young age. Aged only 10 he won his first tournament on the gin rummy scene. By age 15 he was playing full time to support his sick mother and sister. His father had died about year earlier.

His father's social club/ bar had been where a young Ungar had honed his skills. The club doubled up as an illegal gambling den and Stu was beating opponents who had been playing for many more years than himself.

Having been around the card scene for a few years he was rumoured to have befriended a few villains and in 1977 he moved to Vegas. Been so feared as a gin rummy player meant his action had dried up as many people / venues refused to play him or let him play. He then switched over to playing poker.

Stu had a photographic memory and is the only player to win the WSOP Main Event 3 times outright. He became the youngest world champion when he won the event in 1980 and got the nickname 'The Kid'. He went on to win it the following year too.

Ungar was a cocaine user and famously finished 9th in the 1990 WSOP Main Event after having a drug overdose. A massive chip leader at the time of the overdose he was slowly chipped away as he got blinded out but still finished 9th.

During his life Ungar never had a job. He was a gambler through and through. He went from broke to millionaire to broke many times over.

In 1997 he made a comeback to win the Main Event for a record 3rd time. Being broke at the time he was staked for his buy in. He is said to have split the prize of $1m 50:50 with his backer. He spent all his winnings on drugs and more gambling, many sports betting.

On November 22nd 1998 Ungar was found dead at a motel in Las Vegas. He had died from a heart attack which was brought on by his drug taking life style. He was a genius and a true legend of poker..!!


  1. have you seen: the rise and fall of stu ungar. on youtube its a pretty good documentary

  2. I've seen High Roller: The Stu Ungar Story film about his life which was pretty good


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