Stu Ungar

word type: person

  1. Stu Ungar was born in NYC in 1953 and raised on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. He had an extraordinary ability to play the card game gin rummy and eventually poker. He moved to Vegas in 1977 and enjoyed many poker accomplishments before his death in 1998 at the age of 45.

Poker Accomplishments

Stu Ungar won the World Series of Poker Main Event in 1980, 1981 and again, over a decade later, in 1997, a year before his death. He also won WSOP bracelets in 1981 and 1983 in Lowball and Stud, respectively.

Troubled Personality

Despite being a card prodigy, Ungar was haunted by many vices and self-destructive tendencies throughout his career. Although his death was not attributed to a drug overdose, it was believed to be the result of heart failure that was hastened by years of drug abuse.

He died in 1998 in a hotel room at the Oasis Motel with $800 in his possession, the remainder of a $25,000 loan advanced to him by Billy Baxter, the majority of which Ungar was said to have lost in high stakes poker games at the newly opened Bellagio.

One of a Kind

The details of Ungar's life, card prowess, eccentricities and eventual demise were chronicled in a 2005 book by Peter Alson and Nolan Dalla entitled One of a Kind: The Rise and Fall of Stuey "The Kid" Ungar, the World's Greatest Poker Player.