Robert Panitch, widely acclaimed as “Uncle Krunk” in the poker gaming community, died on May 1. He was sixty-three years old.

Panitch regularly played big live poker tournaments such as the World Poker Tour (WPT), the World Series of Poker Circuit (WSOPC), and tournaments organized by Borgata Casino in Atlantic City.

A heart attack is believed to be the cause of his death.

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Panitch, who was born in Chicago in January 12, 1952, lived in his hometown throughout his life. An obituary says that he was “the beloved son of the late Milton and the late Mamie Panitch, treasured brother of Alvin Panitch, Joyce Berman, Nancy Panitch, and Richard Panitch, and caring uncle to many loving nephews and nieces.”

Richard Panitch, his brother, told that Panitch was “his own person in every sense of the term.” Further speaking about his brother, he said that Panitch never followed crowds and “was an accomplished amateur chef who ‘went organic’ long before it became fashionable.” He did not have any children, but was fond of his family and was “a ‘favorite uncle’ of numerous nephews and nieces.”

Even young poker players considered him as “uncle,” and ultimately he became famous as “Uncle Krunk.”

Richard Panitch said that his brother was fond of the poker tour, which he began playing much later in his life. For several years, he took care of his old mother, and when she passed away, she began taking live poker tournaments seriously. Richard Panitch said: “He drove to most of the tournaments by himself. He loved the camaraderie and friendships that he formed. He truly enjoyed the intellectual challenges and excitement that the poker tournaments provided.”

Panitch earned as much as $469,362 playing live poker tournaments. He won as much as $137,283 and his second golden ring while taking part in the main event of the St. Louis leg of the WSOPC.  He won his first golden ring after emerging as the champion of the $365 NL Hold’em Turbo, which was held at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas.

He won his biggest pot in May 2013 when he finished in the third position and won $156,743 in the WSOP Southern Comfort 100 National Championship.

Richard Panitch remembers his brother as a “tremendously caring person,” “the caretaker of the family.” Bob Panitch was also “an adventurer” who traveled a lot, but always returned home.

The poker player will be cremated according to his desire.

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