Published on August 24, 2003, 1:50 pm EST

Stu Ungar's story is a sad one; he was a tremendous poker talent that eventually succumbed to a drug addition, leaving behind a young daughter and many fans wondering what happened.

Stu was a gambler right from the beginning; he became a professional gambler at the age of 14, winning large sums of money playing gin rummy against players who were much older than him. He sought out the bigger money, and the biggest money possible is in No Limit Texas Hold'em; he arrived in Vegas in 1978, learned how to play Texas Hold'em, and won the World Series of Poker just two years later. The very next year, he won again.

Stu won the World Series of Poker again in 1997, but at the time was so broke that he needed a friend to pay for the $10,000 buy-in. They decided to split the proceeds of any win in exchange for his friend paying for the buy-in. This was to be Stu's last victory. Receiving a big chunk of money helped in the short-term, relieving his gambling debts, but it also proved to be a double-edged sword. Soon, Stu was spending his money on cocaine and Percodan, and in 1999, succumbed to his addition.

Stu died November 22, 1999, leaving many of his fans wondering just how many World Series of Poker titles he could have claimed had he not been addicted to drugs. A brilliant talent, but a sad story.


Filed Under: The World Series of Poker

Related Articles