Poker legends: Stu Ungar -The Kid

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There are those who play poker, there are professional poker players and then there are legends and among them, there are Stu Ungar. He is undoubtedly the greatest player of all time. Obviously, today's generations have other idols, but let's say that it is Mickaël Jordan of poker with the bad boy's side of Diego Maradona. If the Kid marked his time it is because he was a genius in three disciplines: Poker, Blackjack and Gin Rami. He is considered the greatest player of each of these casino games, not to say the biggest. He led his life as a rock star, avoided the 27 club, but he lived to burn his wings. The strength of Stu Ungar is that beyond poker, his life is a story of cinema. It was at another time, the one where poker was not played on the internet, TV was in black and white, Eisenhower was president, and a kid cried his presence in the world, on September 8, 1953.

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The life of Stu Ungar

Stud was born with cards in hand. He grew up in a Jewish Lower family is Side de Manhattan in New York City. His father owned a club where we played more or less legally in games of money. So he fell into it when he was very young. Quickly, despite his father's complaints, Stu became a recognized player of Gin Rami in clandestine circles. At 10, he won his first Rami tournament in his neighborhood.

On the death of his father, he must take care of his disabled mother and his sister. He plays a lot and wins a lot. We consider him one of the best Big Apple players. He became friends with Victor Romano, gangster of his state, but above all brilliant poker player, capable of reciting the dictionary by heart. Very interested in probability calculations, Victor becomes his mentor and protective. Sta is an arrogant little idiot and in clandestine playgrounds, this kind of player is not really appreciated, but with Romano as a guardian angel, the STU slanders were better tolerated and his provocations were up to his talent. He crushed his opponents and swept them away with his words. But Sta is already an inveterate player and he manages to go into debt fairly consequently with the underworld bookmakers. He fled NY in 1976. After a visit to Miami, he went where his talent was inexorably leading him. In Vegas. The temple of games in the US and perhaps in the world at the time with Macao. STA will make a name for itself and this name will frighten its opponents. After a few months, he could hardly play. He had beaten the pro players of Gin by putting them with such a beating that he becomes a living legend of the game. To find opponents, he must even play with handicaps: "Possibility to watch the last card of the game, discount in case Defeat, button game permanently ... ".

So you play blackjack. There, it's even worse. One wonders almost what is legendary when in 1977, Bob Stupak Puts $ 100,000, a huge sum at the time, on the table. He says to Sta that he would be unable to count the cards of a shoe of 6 games and to say what is the last card of the hoof. 312 cards, obviously mixed which pass before your eyes and which you must save until finding the one that is missing; Stud wins the bet. Sta is prohibited from all Blackjack tables of Vegas et de Atlantic City!

So what ? Well Sté Ungar gets to the poker

Sta owned an exceptional photographic memory, see extraordinary. STA will succeed in the tour de force to be banned from casino because he won too much in very popular gin tournaments at the time. By the strength of things, he therefore puts himself in poker. And being in Vegas, STU enrolled in WSOP in 1980. This is his first Texas Hold'em No Limit poker tournament. He is beginner in this game. Do not enter the war of generations and come to explain to me that it is harder now. There were far fewer players, but there were quickly that the cream and cream of the time was a bit of the Pantheon or the Walhalla of poker with players like Doyle Brunson. The legend will soften Sta in the WSOP final where he will say kid that he had never seen a player progress so quickly in a tournament. Stu Ungar wins his first world champion bracelet and a nickname given by the master in person: The Kid. In 1981, Stu once again won the WSOP silenced those who attributed his 1980 victory to luck. He won bracelets at $ 10,000 Duce to Seven Draw Event in 1981, $ 5,000 Seven Card Stud Event in 1983.

Sta is a vivid skinned and where he shines elsewhere he dies out. He falls into cocaine because the players used it to hold hours at the casino tables. He became addicted and in 1990, he is found in the middle of the Wosphern passed out in his room. Despite his absence at the Tournament Table and therefore the automatic losses of the blinds, he had already raised so many tokens that he was able to return and finish an honest 9th place for a gain of $ 20,000!

The end of the poker legend

Sta was addicted to cocaine and kept her love for sports betting. One destroyed him, the other ruined him. The kid disappears from the world of professional poker to raise his daughter, without anyone really knowing if he did not make some illegal circles where the bets are stratospheric. He returned in 1997 and ruined, he was paid for the entrance fees of $ 10,000 from the WOSP he won for a 3rd bracelet. Stu Ungar died in 1998, in the bedroom of a motel not far from being shabby. A strange death, a bit like his life, a heart attack would have won. Kid is talent, genius and extraordinary capacities. Today, it would be an icon far beyond the world of poker, but at the time, he was simply the biggest player in Rami, Blackjack and Poker of all time.


  • WSOP World Champion 1980
  • WSOP World Champion 1981

  • WSOP World Champion 1997

  • Gains estimated at $ 30 million

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