1990 Interview with Stu Ungar, Chip Reese, and Doyle Brunson on the Radio Show Sportsnuts
Sadly, two of the three poker legends interviewed are no longer with us.
Stu Ungar passed away in November 1998, only a year after he won the WSOP Main Event for an unprecedented third time. His drug abuse, alas, caught up with him. Meanwhile, Chip Reese fell to complications from pneumonia in December 2007. The trophy of the $50,000 WSOP Poker Players championship bears his name now.
However, thankfully, Doyle Brunson is still with us at age 88. So is the interviewer, who shared the fascinating piece of media on his Twitter feed, Gabe Kaplan - he’s 77.
There is a total of 16 WSOP gold bracelets and 5 WSOP Main Event titles shared among the 3 interviewees.
The conversation itself starts with the description of each player’s background - they vary greatly. Reese from Ohio has a college degree from an Ivy League university; Ungar grew up with mobsters in New York; while the “Texas Dolly”, Brunson, was posed for an NBA career before he suffered a serious leg injury. However, they all agreed that their respective education and family backgrounds don’t matter at all at the poker table.
Stu Ungar on Beating Doyle Brunson Heads-Up for the WSOP Main Event Title
Interestingly, two of the three poker legends on this radio show have actually played each other heads-up for the WSOP Main Event title. In the 1980 World Championship, Ungar and Brunson were the last two standing out of the 73 players entering that year. “The Kid” Ungar managed to stop the veteran Texas Dolly from claiming his third WSOP Main Event title, a feat Ungar was first to achieve later, in 1997.
About the last hand, in which Ungar caught a 3 on the turn to complete his gutshot straight draw against Brunson’s top two pair, Ungar had this to say:
“Well, I kind of thought I could bluff the pot. I didn’t know he had a good hand at the time. You know, I was trying to steal the pot, and I made my hand. (...)
He [Doyle Brunson] bet 18,000. I figured for 18,000 ,I can win 250,000 after I made it.”
These legends of the game touched on a vast array of topics. They talked about the differences between Limit and No Limit Hold’em games, the growing size of poker in Europe in the early 1990’s, and even dating as a professional poker player.
Who is Gabe Kaplan?
The interviewer, Gabe Kaplan, made his mark on poker history as well, not just his subjects for this radio interview from 32 years ago. However, he did it in the commentary booth, rather than on the green felt. While he “only” has $1.991 million in live tournament cashes, he’s called such iconic poker events as the World Series of Poker, or the classic TV show High Stakes Poker on The Game Show Network.
Kaplan's had quite a unique life path. He started his career as a stand-up comedian, then found his way into the poker world in his early 30’s.
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