Ken Lennaárd: I Was There When Stuey Won. So Was The Mouth

Same voice, different language.

It was a windy day in May when Stu Ungar won his third world title.

The year was 1997 and I was a younger kid back then.

I am still a little boy, mind you, just ask my wife. Mere math suggests I am not but I would not dream of suggesting that my wife is wrong.

Girls do not look at me any more. In fact they do not even see me.

Not even my big belly, which actually could be the "why," even though it is a contradiction.

There are other possible signs of me getting older. Not even Baghdad Bob can deny that my hairline is losing the uphill battle, but I cannot see the correlation with me growing up.

Or is the word “refuse?” I am Swedish so my English is probably a bit strange, to put it nicely. Luckily for you PokerListings has an Editor to clean up the mess.

Stu Ungar2
Stu Ungar

Stuey's Last Cash

Stu Ungar was the chip leader and overwhelming favorite to win the WSOP Main Event against a pretty anonymous final table that has grown even more anonymous over the years.

It was Stuey's last cash. He never came downstairs from the hotel room for the next year's Main Event. He took an express needle upstairs instead.

The rest of the table? Forget about them.

John Strzemp II? Is that even a real name? How do you even pronounce a name like that?

I guess we all would know if Stu Ungar did not draw out on him in the final hand and Strzemp got aces versus kings in the very next hand.

Fifth-place finisher Bob SleepWalker… zzz.

Sixth-place finisher Peter Bao was presented as a local 10-20 limit grinder. That was his only cash ever and I have a feeling he chose a different path with his $127,200 in prize money.

He had time since he was the youngest player by far at the table. Hendon Mob does not state his nationality, but he was an American. He anted himself to last place.

Third-place finisher Mel Judah has had a lot of results but he has also played a zillion tournaments. I have to say that the former hair dresser seems to get tighter every year. And he was tight to start with. I guess we all are going down that hill.

I Think It Was a Rental

Me, I have always been an aggro monkey. Give me 20-30 more years under my belt and I will be one hell of a poker player.

I predict that I will dominate the Seniors events for about 10 years straight until the Internet generation catches up.

Probably a rental.

Fourth-place finisher Ron Stanley has been a mid-stakes pro in Vegas ever since. He probably was before also, but you know what I mean.

I have seen him many times over the years playing cash games and tourneys. We say hello to each other.

A true rounder like Joey Knish if you ask me, for that is what he is in my fantasies.

You might get another answer if you talk to him. I never have, I just say hello to him. Anyway, he's always been my hero since he's the only one to have played the final table in a tuxedo.

I think it was a rental, but the white sneakers looked brand new.

Maybe if he won in '97 he would have been your hero too. Racking up title after title like some kind of Phil Hellmuth. Or is it Hellmouth?

I never seem to get his last name right. Phil is easy, because it's the same as poker stars like Ivey and Galfond.

Cards Were Flying - Literally

According to other sources Ron Stanley could not win. The game was allegedly rigged in Stuey's favor.

I did not see any strange hands while watching the final table. All I saw was some very strange card protectors.

Keeping cards on table literal concern.

The cards where flying in the air, literally, and everybody needed something big made out of metal to keep the cards in place. They were playing outside on Fremont Street, you see.

Not as bad of an idea as postponing the final table four months, but probably the last time it will happen.

Friends and family had priority seating but there was still room on the bleachers for me, the real poker aficionado. The rest of the spectators did not understand the game, the dynamics and the psychology like I did.

A Proper Nerd

There was one other guy watching the final table as intensely as I was.

He looked like a proper ape nerd behind his glasses that looked like they were made out of the bottom of two Coca Cola bottles.

Mike Matusow
Mike Matusow, 10 years after Coke bottles.

He was at the final table next year, too. Now we were three poker connoisseurs intensely watching history unfold.

A young guy sat down next to me and we analyzed the game together when Scotty Nguyen won.

I wish Strzemp (I dare you to say it) had won that year instead. I still cannot pronounce Nguyen. And I still cannot understand what he is saying.

Anyway, the kid's name was Daniel Negreanu and he pointed out the ape nerd with the Coca-Cola-bottle-bottom-glasses as Mike Matusow.

What I am trying to say is that I have been around the block, even though I am just a young boy. And I have stories to tell.

Welcome to my blog.

About Ken Lennaárd:

Sweden's most controversial poker blogger, Ken Lennaárd has been around the professional poker circuit for almost 20 years. Among his numerous accomplishments are Swedish Championships both live and online, three WSOP final tables and over $1.5m in live earnings. He's now bringing his singular poker voice to the English world via Look for new posts every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Note: Opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not inherently represent the views of

Best Poker Sites - Editor`s Pick