Side games: 5
Steam control: 2
Against weak players: 8
Against strong players: 6
Best game: Gin rummy and poker tournaments
Weakness: Self control and substance abuse
Stuey was a relentless force. He played in and won more than twice as many hands as anyone else in any game in which he played. At the end of each session he was invariably either the big winner or he was broke.
If he detected weakness in an opponent, he would take the pot away. He was a hard player to bluff, since he was an expert at figuring out when his opponent was on a draw that didn’t get there. There are stories about great calls Stuey made, but I haven’t heard any about great laydowns.
He wasn’t much of a poker player when he won the first of his three WSOP final event bracelets. As Doyle Brunson commented, “If Stuey ever got top pair beat, he would have been knocked out.” Actually, Stuey picked up enough pots along the way that he could withstand occasional losses incurred against his short-stacked opponents.
Stuey was a hopeless steamer. Over his playing career he may not have been an overall winner in the side games and he often needed to be staked when he played. Towards the end, he was so messed up as a result of drug use that he was scared to play his own money.
Stuey was generally regarded as the best in the world at gin rummy and he may have had the best record in no-limit hold’em tournaments. He supposedly won ten of the thirty no-limit tournaments he entered that had a buy-in of $5000 or more. There is no doubting the talent Stuey possessed, but the big question is how good he would have become if he hadn’t been ravaged by drugs.
Stuey’s compulsive gambling is legendary. The first time he stepped on a golf course, Jack Strauss gave him a putting lesson. An hour later, they were still on the practice putting green and Stuey had lost $80,000.
In the ‘80s, sportsbooks often had a $5000 limit. If you wanted to bet more, they would move the line a half point and allow you to make a second bet. If you liked the side opposite to Stuey, it was wise to get behind him at the sportsbook because the line might move five points to accommodate Stuey’s $50,000 bet that was made $5000 at a time.
Title: Purple Haze
Artist: Jimi Hendrix
Reason for this song choice
This is an obvious connection to the drugs that took control of Stuey and Jimi. Some people viewed Stuey as a card-playing savant, much the way Hendrix was viewed as a guitarist.