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Bob Stupak

Bob Stupak

About Bob Stupak

Current ResidenceDeseased September 25, 2009
BornApril 6, 1942
Birth PlacePittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Total Winnings$865,441

Bob Stupak Trivia

  • Stupak won his WSOP Bracelet in 1989 in No Limit Deuce to Seven Draw.
  • He won the Lowball event at Amarillo Slim's Superbowl Of Poker the same year.
  • Stupak’s first career win was in 1986 and was also in 2-7 Lowball poker.
  • Both Stupak’s bracelet and the 1986 win were against Billy Baxter heads up.
  • Stupak also famously won a $1 million bet against Baxter on Super Bowl XXIII in 1989.
  • Stupak had a final table performance on the World Poker Tour
  • Stupak once had the world’s largest sign outside his Vegas World hotel and casino.
  • Stupak once took the court with the Harlem Globetrotters in exchange for a $100,000 donation to the United Negro College Fund.
  • Stupak was inducted into the Gambling Hall of Fame.
  • Stupak’s "Vegas Vacation Club" was highly successful bringing guests to Vegas World but ultimately ran afoul of regulators
  • Stupak was the founder of the Stratosphere Las Vegas
  • Stupak suffered two near-fatal motorcycle accidents in his life.
Side Games8
Steam Control9
Against Strong Players6
Against Weak Players6

Bob Stupak was one of the most dynamic stories in Las Vegas from the 1970s, making his mark on both the industry and player sides of Sin City. He had gambling almost baked into his bones from birth, growing up in Pittsburgh watching his father Chester corner the local dice market.

Early in his life, Stupak spent a lot of time learning the game from his father, but also pursued other interests like motorcycle racing and had his first brush with death during a race. Before he finally landed in Las Vegas in the early 1970s, he’d run his own card game, sold watches, and even spent some time as a nightclub singer and recording artist under the name “Bobby Star”.

His most successful venture before he hit the Vegas glitter was a coupon business selling two-for-one coupon books. That led him to Australia and a successful telemarketing business which allowed him to build a stake in his first Las Vegas venture.

With the money from his past ventures, and a little help from friends of his father, Stupak was able to acquire a small car lot that he turned into Bob Stupak’s World Famous Historic Gambling Museum.

Even Stupak admitted the name was a bit absurd. Later in life he’d recall “The name was about 10 feet longer than the casino”. That was short-lived however as the building burned down as a result of a faulty air conditioner.

Stupak didn’t let that setback stop him though. He used the insurance money to help fund his massively successful Vegas World. While the Vegas World location wasn’t downtown or on the strip, Stupak’s talent for self-promotion helped bring the attention of both customers and regulators. One of the claims to fame of Vegas World was the world’s biggest sign, but that later blew down in a windstorm.

He was able to weather the regulatory storms surrounding his Vegas World Vacation promotion though he was required to pay some fines. He even took a few shots in the political arena, running for mayor of Las Vegas in 1987 himself and sponsoring two of his children in later political runs in the 1990s.

Stupak’s final grand idea to reshape Las Vegas was born from the loss of his giant sign for Vegas World. What began as another attempt at the world’s largest sign eventually morphed into the Stratosphere Las Vegas.

The Stratosphere ended up as the largest structure (in the US) west of the Mississippi and the 10th tallest structure in the world, but tragedy struck Stupak during the construction phase as he was in the second near-fatal motorcycle accident of his life. Despite being in a coma he eventually recovered with a few lingering medical problems.

Stupak was also active on the player side of the industry, as his 1989 bracelet proves. He had nearly $1 million in career earnings and much of it was earned before the modern era of massive fields. However, he was active as a player until shortly before his death in 2009. His latest cash, according to Hendon Mob, came in the 2008 WPT World Championship, Las Vegas and he made a final table at the opening-season edition of the 2003 WPT L.A. Poker Classic, Los Angeles.

His real passion was lowball poker though with many of his deepest runs coming in deuce/lowball formats. In addition to the bracelet he won in 1989, he came close to two more lowball bracelets in 1991 and 1993, coming fourth in the $5,000 No Limit Deuce to Seven Draw at WSOP both years.

No matter how you look at it, Bob Stupak left his mark on Las Vegas and the gambling world in general. The man who boasted the world’s biggest sign left an over-sized legacy in the history of gaming.

(photo courtesy CardPlayer.com)

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