Stu Ungar

Stu Ungar was born on September 8, 1953 at the East Side of Manhattan. His father was a pawnbroker, in a social club that was used as an illegal gambling establishment. It was right during the first year that Ungar made the learning of various games, especially gin rummy. In fact, Ungar became so superior in the game of gin that it was easy for him to defeat opponents with many more years of experience and even won his first local tournament when he was only ten years old. When he was fifteen, his father died.

In order to support his sister and mother, who was incapacitated due to illness, Ungar decided to quit school to play gin full time. He drifted around the scene of the game in New York until he was eighteen, and was a friend of Victor Romano, an alleged crime figure in New York. Ungar, who was often criticized and verbally berated by his opponents, was supported and protected by Romano while enjoying a game of gin.

In 1977, Ungar left New York to play gin in Las Vegas. It was no confusion or slow play of their opponents, the action of Ungar in gin dried completely the competition because of its ability and reputation for being unbeatable! Some casinos have even asked Ungar to stop playing in their gin tournaments because the other players refused to play against him. Ungar was not only considered the best for others, he knew he was the best. "One day, I suppose it's possible for someone to be a better No Limit Hold'em player than me, I doubt it, but it can happen, but I swear I do not see how anyone could play gin better than me." Since Ungar couldn’t find a decent game of gin, he began looking for other activities, which eventually led him to poker. Shortly after learning the game, Ungar participated in the 1980 World Series of Poker Main Event and took home the title after defeating Doyle Brunson heads up. Because of his youthful appearance, the press soon dubbed him Stu "The Kid" Ungar. Many believed, essentially critics of poker, that the new champion was arrogant, cocky, and not worthy of the title, but were silenced in the following year, when Ungar defended his title and became champion again. Ungar continued to win and break records in poker by winning the Amarillo Slim Super Bowl of Poker three times, in 1983, 1988 and 1989, in fact, Ungar is the only person to win the WSOP and the Super Bowl of Poker. In 1997, Ungar through his friend and fellow poker, Billy Baxter, agreed to play the Main Event just moments before it began, in fact, he was the last person in the official list of that year. Overcoming his personal demons, Ungar won the same tournament for $ 1 million and was dubbed as "The Comeback Kid."

He become the only player, along with Johnny Moss, to win three world championships. Ungar, who surprisingly won the ten major championships in Limit Hold'em events with buy-in of at least $ 5,000 (he only played in about thirty) has five WSOP bracelets: 1980 Main Event ($365,000) 1981 Main Event ($ 375,000) 1981 $10,000 Deuce to Seven Draw ($95,000) 1983 $5,000 Seven Card Stud ($110,000) and 1997 Main Event ($1,000,000). He is considered one of the greatest poker players of all time, although his legacy is often overshadowed by problems in his personal life. Ungar was a brilliant player, spendthrift and Bohemian, went from broke to millionaire, from millionaire to broke again, dying broke. Ungar married his wife, Madeline, who had a daughter, Stefanie. He also adopted Madeline's son, Richie, from his first marriage. Both Madeline and Ungar were devastated by the suicide of Richie soon after his graduation from high school. Split up in 1986.

It was known that Ungar was dependent on cocaine, he began using cocaine by the very nature of maintaining someone with energy for long periods of time. Soon, the drugs consumed not only his money but his own Ungar. During the 1990 WSOP, Ungar was found unconscious in his hotel room because of a drug overdose on the third day of the tournament, leaving him unable to play the rest of the tournament. Amazingly, Ungar, who had a large lead, still managed to take ninth place! After winning the world championship of 1997, Ungar refused to enter the WSOP in 1998 claiming it would be embarrassing not to attend rather than participate. He was found dead in his room at the Oasis Motel in Las Vegas November 22, 1998 with forty-two years old. The medical examiner determined he died of a heart condition caused by years of drug abuse. The 2003 movie High Roller: The Stu Ungar Story portrays the life of a poker player. Ungar was introduced into the Poker Hall of Fame in 2002. Ungar is a real myth of Poker.

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