• Name: Stu Ungar
• Nickname: The Kid, The Comeback Kid
• Current Residence: Deceased
• Birth Date: September 8, 1953
• Birth Place: New York, New York, United States
Taking the possibility and based on the statistics that placed Stu Ungar as one of the greatest poker players of all times, only a few poker experts can argue that he was absolutely, hands-down, the greatest No-Limit Hold’em player in the history of poker.
Virtually unstoppable during his early days in playing poker, he collected 5 World Series of Poker bracelets, was a three-time World Champion, and won ten major $5,000 or higher buy-in No-Limit Hold’em championship events.
Furthermore, he was the only man to ever win both the WORLD SERIES OF POKER (WSOP) and Amarillo Slim’s Super Bowl of Poker, the second biggest poker tournament on the pro circuit at the time of Ungar’s reign. He won a record three titles in each tournament.
In 1978, when Stu Ungar was just 22 years old, he arrived in Las Vegas to play high-stakes gin rummy, which he did against anybody for any amount.
His success was phenomenal. For all his later fame as a No-Limit Hold’em champion, his record in gin rummy was unsurpassed;
he once told an interviewer, “Someday, I suppose it’s possible for someone to be a better No-Limit 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 started playing poker in Las Vegas in 1980. Though he had little experience with No-Limit Hold’em, he entered the $10,000 buy-in World Championship event at Binion’s Horseshoe, and won.
His youth and success earned him the nickname Stu “the Kid” Ungar. He played in the No-Limit Hold’em championship for the second time in his life the following year, and defended his title.
The last time he played in the event, in 1997, he won again.
Stu was famous for his quick and nimble intelligence.
His No-Limit Hold’em poker play displayed a relentless determination, fearlessness, grace and intense focus, and his card counting skills were so legendary, no casino would allow him to play blackjack on its premises.
“The Kid” was also known as a big spender and a high roller.
He went totally broke at least four times, and won millions of dollars countless times.
Those who knew him say he was hyper-energetic, constantly on the move, looking for more gambling action.
He was infamous for his abusive treatment of dealers, in the days when dealer abuse was expected and went unpunished.
Stu did not express remorse for this defect; indeed, he once said: “Show me a good loser, and I’ll show you a loser.”
A legend in his own time, Stu struggled with and ultimately died of drug addiction in 1998 at the young age of 42.
His memory remains alive and his huge talent and infectious energy are recalled with reverence and awe by all who had the chance to witnessed his unprecedented ability, poker skills and style.
Stu Ungar passed away on November 22, 1998.
• Had great success gambling on the streets of the Lower East Side as a youngster
• Considered the greatest No-Limit Hold’em player in history
• Had huge success playing high-stakes gin rummy