Our Favourite Poker Comebacks Part Two
Posted by Ben Jones on 19 Nov 2008 at 13:11
Number 2: Stuart Ungar – 1997 WSOP – “Making the Hat Trick”
Anyone who knows the story of Stu knows it has a sad ending, and if you don’t know it, just read ‘The Man Behind The Shades, the Stu Ungar Story’.
Stuart Ungar was a genius - he mastered the game of Gin Rummy by the age of 16 and beat world champions with consummate ease. He was quickly unable to get a game anywhere in the word so turned his attention to poker.
A maverick at the table (and in life), Stu Ungar won the first WSOP he entered (1980) and as if to prove to his critics who accused him of reckless play and amazing luck, he won it again the following year in 1981. He was aged just 24 when he won his first WSOP title. Remember, this was not the age of online poker - most players were in their 40s or 50s and had been around the poker circuit for decades.
Stuart Ungar however had a failing; his addictive personality led him to drugs and ultimately to his death. He drifted away from the WSOP only to resurface in 1990 and finish a very respectable 9th. However, his life after this creditable result went into terminal decline. Almost all of the poker world had written Stuey off as a sad loss, when he was suddenly backed to enter the 1997 World Series. Four days later, Stuart Ungar was WSOP champion again, the first player to win three titles.
However, success did not last long and within 14 months, Stuart was dead, in a cheap downtown hotel, alone, with $2,000 of borrowed money in his pocket. Stuart Ungar was probably the greatest tournament poker player in history, his record of 10 wins out of 30 events entered is staggering compared to the usual ratio of entries to wins. It would have been great to see Stuey pit his wits against some of today’s internet poker geniuses.
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