Bob Stupak was the owner of The Stratosphere Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. He is most famous for his $1 million bet on the Superbowl. He bet on the Bengals who were playing the 49ers. It was the largest wager in all of Nevada history on a football game and particularly on the game of the year.
Stupak lived from 1942 to 2009. He was born in Pittsburgh, but lived most of his life in Las Vegas, Nevada. He was also known as the Polish Maverick. During his gambling career he managed to secure one bracelet but finish in the money eight times. He never won the main event for the World Series of Poker. He did participate in the World Poker Tour, but only made it to the final table once. Stupak was 22 when he headed out to Las Vegas. He started a coupon book company in which he sold 2 for 1 restaurant deals. For a while Stupak lived in Australia, but he left the country due to some questionable business practises. He did marry while in Australia. The marriage was brief enough to produce one daughter. In 1971 he married again to Sandra Joyce Wilkinson. They had two children before their divorce in 1985.
In between 1971 and 1974 Stupak was able to make enough money to buy 1.5 acres of land on Sahara Avenue. In 1974 he opened Bob Stupak’s World Famous Historic Gambling Museum. Sadly his air conditioning caught fire and thus his first casino burned down.
By 1979 he had a new casino called Vegas World. It offered new twists on games. During the best times during the mid 80s he was able to gross $100 million per year. In 1989 he made the Super Bowl wager and then he won his first WSOP bracelet.
Stupak was in an accident in 1995 with a motorcycle. His prognosis was initially not good since he was in a coma with every bone in his face broken. Yet, he recovered and despite the health issues managed to develop and open the Stratosphere. He created the observation tower which became the largest sign in Vegas. The tower cost $550 million and finally opened in 1996. It was not the best financial decision because most only came to see the tower. They didn’t stop too long for gambling, shopping or dining. It made the casino become bankrupt just three months after it was opened.
Even though this casino failed he still worked on other projects like the Moulin Rouge Hotel and the RMS Titanic. Of course, we know these projects didn’t come to light either. In 2008 it was recorded that he made $865,000 total winnings in tournaments. Stupak certainly had thoughts of grandeur, even running for the Lieutenant Governor position of Nevada in 2006. His death was related to leukemia. He was 67 at the time of his death. While it would seem he wasn’t all that successful with his casinos he is still remembered among gamblers.