Ever Get Paid Off by Stuey Ungar? Thomas “Huckleberry” Clark Did

Thomas Clark WSOP
Clark's been playing poker since 1979.

Thomas “Huckleberry” Clark remembers the good old days: Smokey rooms, smaller fields and turning a straight flush against the legendary Stuey Ungar.

When Clark started playing poker, many of today's young poker superstars hadn't been born yet.

It was in San Jose, California, in 1979 at the club that later became Bay 101, run by Marko Trapani.

“I started playing poker in a little card room called Sutter's Card Lounge,” said Clark.

“At Sutter's we played Lowball and for me back then it was all about utility,” he said.

“On Friday night I'd have $40, find the drunkest table in the place, double through and then take my money down the street to a place called The Brass Rail.

Thomas Clark in the 70s2
Clark in the 1970s.

“I'd tell you about what happened there but you wouldn't be able to print it.”

Clark served in the military and was stationed in New Jersey during Vietnam.

Later he became he became a satellite engineer but it's easy to see poker is his passion.

Almost four decades after he first started Clark is still playing.

“I absolutely love poker in the Rio,” said Clark.

“This is like a spiritual experience for me. This is where all the wackadoodles get together and play bingo.

“We all try to act cool but everyone puts their pants on one leg a time you know?”

Huckleberry Vs. The Kid

Poker has gotten huge since Clark started playing.

That means bigger prize pools but there are some things from poker's past that can't be recreated.

A great example? Taking a big pot off poker legend Stuey Ungar.

Thomas Clark WSOP 2
"He paid me off."

“We were playing Limit at Caesars, or maybe the Flamingo, it was a long time ago,” began Clark.

“The ace-rag flush-draw was on the board and Stuey had the king-high flush draw. I had 7-9 suited and flopped the straight.

“I checked when I turned the straight flush. Stuey bets out, flashes his cards to Cyndy Violette. I wiggled my finger a little bit, made a tourist face and raised and we were off to the races.

"In those days we kept our chips in the rack and Stuey got down to one bet left and looked at me and said, “straight flush?

“He paid me off.”

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