Stuart Errol Ungar was born in Manhattan, New York on September 8 1953.
He was an American Professional Blackjack, Poker and Gin Rummy player, but was mainly known for his WSOP wins. He was one of just four players who has won three consecutive titles at the WSOP.
The other three players were Doyle Brunson, Johnny Chan and Johnny Moss.
The Early Days
Ungar was exposed to gambling from an early age as his Father was a loan shark and Bookmaker who ran a bar called Foxy’s corner, which also doubled as a gambling establishment.
Despite his Father’s efforts to shield him from gambling and its effects, Ungar started playing underground Gin Rummy with his friends and soon began making a name for himself.
Ungar was an intelligent child and skipped 7th grade; however, he dropped out of school in the 10th grade. In 1967 his Father died of a heart attack and his mother had a stroke that she never recovered from.
At the age of 18, Ungar found himself drifting around the gambling scene in New York City, and it was here that he met Victor Romano who was into organized crime, but also an outstanding card player. Romano took Ungar under his wing and became his mentor and protector.
Ungar needed this protection as he was a very brash card player who regularly insulted his opponents and got himself into some tight spots.
In 1980 Ungar played in his first WSOP tournament and defeated Doyle Brunson in the main event.
He went on to defeat Penny Green in 1981 and won his second bracelet, followed by his 3rd and fourth bracelets.
He was once banned at Binion’s Horseshoe by Benny Binion for spitting in a dealers face. Just one of many spats he got into during his career.
Drug Abuse and Death
Ungar’s downfall during his whole gambling career was his addiction to crack cocaine which caused him to gamble recklessly. When he eventually died alone in a hotel room in Las Vegas on November 20 1998, he had just $800 to his name.