Jack Ury Passes Away at 97
The poker world lost one of its most charming personalities on Tuesday when Jack Ury passed away at his home in Terra Haute, Indiana. Ury was the oldest person to ever play at the World Series of Poker (WSOP) at the age of 97, a superlative he logged last year, and will forever be remember for his cheerful nature and good humor at the tables.
Ury was born March 22nd, 1913 in Terre Haute to Julian and Eva Mae (Harris) Ury. He was a U.S. Navy veteran of World War II and served as a postal worker with the United States Postal Service before retiring in 1978. Ury is survived by four daughters, 11 grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren, three step-great-grandchildren, three great-great-grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews. He was married for 66 years to his wife, Elizabeth, who passed away in 2008.
On the felt, Ury certainly held his own during four years of play at the WSOP Main Event. Although his grandson and tablemates often assisted him with posting blinds and stacking chips, Ury made Day 2 every year of the prestigious tournament. He never cashed, but his story inspired poker players and fans along the way.
Naturally, Ury attracted a lot of media attention from outlets like ESPN during his Main Event runs and he became one of the most adored players in the community. Wheeled into the Amazon Room by his grandson, Ury sat down to play cards with opponents young enough to be his great-grandchildren. He endured 14-hour days, blind in one eye and limited in vision in the other. He was also completely deaf in one ear. But Ury loved the game and his passion was a magnet for the spotlight.
His most memorable moment on camera came during Day 2 of the 2009 WSOP Main Event in a hand against Stephen Friedlander. After a flop of 7s-6d-6c, Ury bet 1,000 and Friedlander moved all-in. The short-stacked Ury called, Friedlander turned over 7h-6h for a full house, and it appeared Ury’s tournament was about to end.
He waited to table his cards, telling Friedlander, “You’re in trouble,” before finally showing his 7d-7c for a better full house. Normally, a slowroll would result in backlash from tablemates, but each of them applauded Ury’s superior hand, including Friedlander. Members of the TwoPlusTwo forum declared that day to be known as “National Slowroll Day.” The unforgettable moment can be seen here.
Ury returned for one last shot at glory at last year’s Main Event and survived Day 2 for the first time with a short stack of 8,200. However, he didn’t return to play Day 3 and his stack was blinded off.
While we won’t be seeing “Jumping” Jack Ury at the tables any longer, his legacy will carry on. Ury’s grandson, 32-year-old Seth Harrold, is a poker enthusiast who joined his grandfather at the WSOP each of the past four years. Harrold first traveled to Las Vegas in 2007 with his grandfather and assisted him during his journey while playing in the Main Event on a different day. While he also failed to cash, Harrold helped his grandfather live out a life-long dream.
“It’s fun and I know this makes him happy,” Harrold told the Las Vegas Sun in 2009. “Everyone at the table is respectful and he loves it. Usually, we start preparing for this in March because he’ll talk about it all year.”
Image courtesy WSOP.com
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