One of a Kind: The Rise and Fall of Stuey ',The Kid', Ungar, The World's Greatest Poker Player - Nolan Dalla
Many believe Stu Ungar to be the greatest card player of all time. Not only was he a top Poker player, many consider him the best Gin player that ever lived, however he was also haunted by many demons. In "One of a Kind: The Rise and Fall of Stuey ',The Kid', Ungar, The World's Greatest Poker Player", Nolan Dalla and his co-author Peter Alson tell the amazing story with all the highs and lows of this poker legends life.
The tale begins in 1950s New York, where as a young boy Stuey was fascinated by the different wise guys and gamblers who frequented his father's bar and illegal bookmakers. These characters helped form Stuey's personality and when it became apparent he had a gift for card games, he began a career backed by the mob. Eventually Stuey unsurprising ended up in Las Vegas. It was here where he discovered high stakes poker and started playing against the legendary names of the game, such as Doyle Brunson, Amarillo Slim and Chip Reese. Not only did Stuey prove his place amongst them, he went on to be only the second person to win three World Series of Poker main events.
Despite winning an estimated $30 million, Stuey's life was far from plain sailing. His unsettled childhood, along with being a degenerate gambler created friction in all of his relationships and saw him broke more times than not. Later this destruction was added to when Stuey developed a serious cocaine addiction, which ultimately led to his death at the age of 45, virtually penniless and alone in a motel room.
During his final years Stuey had been planning on releasing an autobiography, ghostwritten by Nolan Dalla, who had recorded many hours of interviews with him. Therefore, much of the book comes directly from Stuey himself, along with contributions from his various friends and rivals. These are intertwined with various tales of Las Vegas history and detailed coverage of the key hands in Stuey's World Series of Poker victories.
As you read of Stuey's many rises and falls, you would be forgiven if you confused this life story with fiction. Dalla balances it all brilliantly creating a compelling page-turner. The book is sympathetic yet brutally honest, moving seamlessly from hilarity and intrigue to disbelief and sorrow. "One of a Kind: The Rise and Fall of Stuey, 'The Kid', Ungar, The World's Greatest Poker Player" is a fantastic read and highly recommended, whether or not you are a fan of poker.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5