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One of a Kind: The Rise and Fall of Stuey ',The Kid', Ungar, The World's Greatest Poker Player
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One of a Kind: The Rise and Fall of Stuey ',The Kid', Ungar, The World's Greatest Poker Player

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3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  543 ratings  ·  42 reviews
Stuey Ungar, the son of a Lower East Side bookie, grew up in a New York of the 1950s and '60s that was straight out of Damon Runyon. By his early teens, he had dropped out of high school and was spending most of his time in the city's under- ground card rooms. So prodigious was his talent for playing gin rummy that he soon found himself bankrolled by members of the Genoves ...more
ebook, 336 pages
Published July 15th 2005 by Atria Books (first published June 28th 2005)
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Tyler Jones
For those of us who only knew of the outline of his life this book provides a satisfyingly full portrait of Stuart Ungar. I appreciated that the authors maintained a moral neutrality - neither condemning nor defending his self-destruction. I came away feeling he was neither fully to blame for his own demise nor simply a victim of demons beyond his power to fight. This strikes me as probably close to the truth. Stuey's life was far from common and I was completely engrossed in his story. Dalla an ...more
Robert Jonsson
Inte den mest välskrivna biografi jag läst, den är för att tala klarspråk träig. Jag får helt enkelt inga bilder, blir inte riktigt engagerad. Det är lite som att läsa en faktabok och därmed bjuds jag inte med på samma sätt som jag gör då en bok är riktigt bra skriven. De kursiverande styckena - där man får höra Stu’s röst i presens - bryter det återberättande textflödet och lättar upp och skänker boken lite mer närvaro och nerv. Men ändå, det är Stu Ungar! Tidernas bästa pokerspelare. ’The come ...more
Matt Cromartie
A fascinating read through the life of one of the most brilliant card players of all time and one of the most tormented souls of all time. Stuey Ungar grew up in New York, looking over the shoulder of his father who was part bar owner and part bookie. He instantly fell in love with the gambling life, which would prove to be an avenue to greatness and to his downfall. Blessed with a spectacular memory and calculating mind, Stuey quickly became a darling of the NY mob, making money for them and be ...more
Martin Moleski
If I had the time and money, I'd be dead from gambling and any number of other addictions that destroyed Stuey Ungar. If not for the grace of God, this would be my story--except I wouldn't have won as much money or as many bracelets as Ungar did. I don't have anything like that talent. What I have is the same kind of hunger for action and the same kind of broken heart that refuses to be filled with the kind of everyday happiness that life has to offer.

May he rest in peace.
Zach
Well written. Suprisingly interesting biography.

The author has done a great deal of research and interviewed dozens of people, the result is a very full picture of Stuey Unger his personality and the demons that evantually consumed him.

The book also provides insight into the personality of gamblers, the need for action and that at a certain point the money is not as important as the rush and the action.

Also through Unger's story the reader can see the evolution of Vegas over the past 30-40 ye
...more
Justin Lerer
There is a great book to be written based on Stuey Ungar's life, but this is not it. You get a sense of Ungar as a wildly unpredictable person, but other than that, this book suffers from the fault of telling instead of showing. Ungar is a great poker and even better gin player, but where are the discussions of specific key hands? The book also doesn't look critically enough at Ungar's gambling addictions, which must have fueled his drug addictions. And speaking of his drug addictions, the book ...more
Alan Duggan
What can i say, this book is an amazing insight into the life of the greatest poker player to ever play the game.

Stuey Ungar was a genius but his addiction to drugs was his downfall.

The book takes you through Stuey's life from a young boy to when he passes at an early age. Nolan Dalla writes in a way very easy to follow and describes many heartache moments in great detail.

How can a man who has won millions gambling end up stealing a $1 poker chip just to feed himself ? Well it happens and its sa
...more
Danm
This book and The Dark Side of the Felt are my two favorite poker books. This one tells a great story about the greatest poker player who ever lived, and how he was actually an even better gin player. He was a card genius. But like so many geniuses, he had an addictive drug habit. It's another rise-and-fall story, but it's done exceptionally well.
Tom
A competent but unspectacular biography of an undeniably tragic figure. I think my ultimate problem with the book is that Stuey Ungar doesn't seem all that interesting. One of the greatest card players of all time, yes; but one never gets the sense that there's a lot underneath the surface other than a head for numbers, a good read on others, and a self-destructive streak a mile wide. If there was more underneath it all, it didn't really come through here. If you're looking for a roughly contemp ...more
Azary Tamarov
book puts u on a killer poker and gambling rush
Jim
Sluggish and un-engaging, you'd think a book about a poker prodigy who goes to the dogs with drink and drugs in Las Vegas would be a story worth telling. But could you write about darts and make it exciting? I doubt it, and the same goes for poker, especially for the non-player where gobbledygook like "Steve discarded the flop with an ace showing and took a turn on the river" is about as enlightening as reading Polish. I gave this book a good attempt, but couldn't find an attraction to keep me g ...more
Mike Hoffman
Terrific story about a terribly tragic and wonderfully troubled character. Stuey never grew up, lived in constant flux. The poor boy never grew up. He played games . . . he was a child. This story talks about how he was the BEST and it was partially because of and partially despite his lacking in other areas. This book is a true picture of him. Not one that sugar coats it. . . not one that villianizes Stuey. Its on e that tells HIS story. well! READ IT!
Damien
Stuey "The Kid" Unger, unbeatable in gin, poker or any other card game was destined to be destroyed by his addictions.

I can never get enough stories about the kid who was so unbelievably good at cards and so unable to manage his own life. This is a compelling collection of stories.

The project was originally intended as an auto-biography and the last pages written by Unger are as haunting as anything I've ever read.
George
The story of Stu Ungar, perhaps the greatest poker player ever. 2-time World Champion at the age of 26, youngest ever champion at the time. This story is about life and heartache as he loved what he does, had a photographic memory, an IQ of 185, and killed at the poker tables, but threw it all away on sports betting and drugs. To understand the pitfalls of the gambler's life, this is a must-read.
Susan Scalza
Excellent, unflinching history of the life of a misfit gin and poker prodigy through his own eyes and the eyes of those close to him. Chronicles his rise to championship, subsequent rises and falls, and untimely demise. An easy read about man who seemed doomed from the start.
Lisa
I read it because the Handsome Man wanted me to read it so we could talk about it. Not really my kind of book. I felt less sympathetic and more annoyed than I probably should of. This book will be good for people who like poker...and/ or addiction stories. That's about it.
Ben
I really enjoyed this book as it allowed me a glimpse into the mind of one of the greatest poker players of all time. A truly gifted, but troubled, individual, Stu Ungar is both a legend and a cautionary tale for poker players.
Jesse
This is pretty much a 300 page version of the wikipedia article about him. I did learn that the MIT Blackjack Team didn't invent team counting; they just got the idea from the 1977 book The Big Player. That's on wikipedia, too.
John Reeves
This was a great book, and It clearly shows you who the best poker player is/was in the history of the game. I never like reading books twice, however with this one, I'll definitely make an exception.
Tracy Marbury
A really great story about Stu Ungar, poker player extraordinaire, who got involved with drugs and died too young. If you like the world of high stakes poker, this is a great read.
Tmone75 Harris
This is a great book based on the life of Stu Unger.. I also saw this movie, but the book is much better. Its a rollercoaster type of book, just like the way he lived his life.

TrumanCoyote
If you're looking for an anti-drug poster child, just take a gander at that shot of Stuey with the collapsed nose...eek! Honestly, I just about dropped the book when I saw that one.
Joanie
Crazy true story of Stu Unger, genius and gambler. One of those stories that makes you wonder what the guy could've accomplished if only he'd been able to resist the drugs.
Jared
A pretty good book about the best poker and gin player ever. It has everything, New York, organized crime, great poker stories, and human tragedy. A great story.
Roy Kvatningen
Incredible story. A must-read for all poker fans, probably enjoyable for most men and a few women too.
One Flew
Despite immense talent, Unger was a very tragic figure. It's hard to feel pity for a man with so little will power, common sense or basic restraint.
Bryan Grover
Fantastic book. Reads and follows the same sort of cadence that wise guys by pileggi does. Definitely worth a read
Richard Herbert
Another poker classic, would appeal to anyone who likes real live!! Another ive read at least 3 times.
Jacob
Tragic story of a kid who rose to the highest of highs and fell to the lowest of lows.
Elliott Hayes
Fantastic.

Best poker related book, one of the most interesting poker pros ever.
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Dalla, Media Director for the World Series of Poker, has written extensively about poker for magazines. He lives in Las Vegas.
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