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1997 was the year poker legend Stu Ungar won his third and final poker world championship and it was also the year Andy Black first made it to America to play in the World Series of Poker. Black is now Ireland's leading all-time poker money winner but back then he was a poker fan himself and had long followed Ungar's tragic rise and fall. In this video Black tells the story of making it to the final two tables in the Main Event and finding himself seated directly to Stu Ungar's right, aka the worst seat in the tournament. This interview was part of PokerListings.com's short documentary: Stu Ungar's Last Chance Gone Wrong but didn't make the final cut. Watch this video for a glimpse of the 1997 WSOP Main Event and watch the full documentary at http://www.pokerlistings.com/videos/v/stu-ungars-last-chance-gone-wrong-short-poker-documentary-74406f5d.
Andy Black: It took me ten years to actually get to America. I was just playing around in small games. There was hardly enough money in Ireland to have one buy-in to the Main Event between us you know? And there was only 312 people that year. I won't be far off. There was just over 300 people.
They used to write the names up on the wall every time somebody bought in. So you'd see your name go up on this giant board so it would be a huge deal.
$10,000 then, I don't know what that's worth now.
But the biggest thing of all at the time was with Stuey Ungar. I studied the history of poker a lot. It was one of the things I used to kind of inspire myself, and I was just interested.
So I remember, the table draw for the last two tables. It wasn't done on a computer. There was a load of cards on the table and you had to pick your card.
I also remember, I had avoided Ungar all the way through the tournament yeah? I remember picking the card and sure enough Stuey Ungar was on my left. And that was it. The mind was gone. He had sort of wandered in there and he was inhabiting my chips.
Matt Showell: What was it like playing with him?
Andy Black: At the time I thought maybe I was the second or third-best player remaining at 14 players, but he was so far ahead of everyone else that it was a kind of walk in the park for him.