H.O.R.S.E. Poker Legend Chip Reese
Chip Reese, birth name David Reese, was an American born poker player who in winning his third career WSOP bracelet became the first ever World Champion of H.O.R.S.E. poker. Despite great success on the tournament circuit, Reese was much more highly regarded for his cash game play. Back in the late 1970’s living poker legend Doyle Brunson called chip Reese, “one of the two finest young … poker players in the world” and the best seven-card stud player he had ever played. Doyle Brunson and Chip Reese became great friends over the years, and when Chip Reese passed away in late 2007, Brunson was quoted as saying “He’s certainly the best poker player that ever lived.” This comment was validated by then World Series of Poker Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack when he said Chip Reese’s name often came up in the debate of greatest cash-game player who ever lived, but what is not debatable is Chip Reese was also World Series of Poker legend.
Chip Reese was a man who during his life preferred to shun away from the spotlight. In a time when poker was booming, 2003-2005, many poker players were looking to cash in. There were video game deals, online poker site sponsorships, commercials, energy drink brands, training sites, coaching – you name it, it was there, and big sponsorship money was being passed around. Despite being highly regarded by his peers as one of the all time greats, Reese kept away from such things. When Reese did make a televised featured table, he was well spoken, quiet, and reserved, certainly never showboating for the camera; in fact, he barely acknowledged that a camera was even present. Reese was a pure poker player. He made his living on the felt, and he made a great one at that. To him, anything that increased his exposure had the potential to alter the action he was given by high stakes shot takers.
Chip Reese died unexpectedly in his sleep on December 4, 2007, at his Las Vegas home. He was 56-years old at the time. News sources reported Reese as having died in his sleep from the effects of pneumonia, but his friends speculate that his death might have been related to an earlier gastric bypass which caused a blood clot. Ironically enough, as quiet as he preferred his name kept in poker during his life, after his death his name will be remembered forever as one of the greatest names to ever live, due to the World Series of Poker’s new award the David Chip Reese Trophy.
The World Series of Poker announced in 2008 that going forward the winner of the WSOP highest buy-in mixed game championship each year would be honored with both a WSOP bracelet and a David Chip Reese Trophy. This Trophy is the poker equivalent to the Stanley Cup of hockey or the Vince Lombardi Trophy for NFL, with the exception that poker is not a team sport, and there can only be one David Chip Reese Trophy winner each year.
There are two reasons that the highest buy-in mixed games was chosen as the tournament to represent Chip Reese. For starters, this is where Chip Reese excelled, the highest stake mixed games. Secondly, prior to the 2006 WSOP, no tournament with a buy-in over $10,000 was ever held in the WSOP’s 35 year history. In 2006, the WSOP did two things for the first time: they offered a mixed game championship, and they had a higher than $10,000 buy-in event. Quite the jump in both, the event offered was a $50,000 buy-in event that used H.O.R.S.E. during the preliminary rounds and then no-limit holdem for the final table. This was billed as the biggest event in poker history, and when the events 143 entrants were narrowed to a final table, the only players remaining were ones that every poker enthusiast knew of well. Here were the final table results:.
1st David “Chip” Reese $1,716,000
2nd Andy Bloch $1,029,000
3rd Phil Ivey $617,760
4th Jim Bechtel $549,120
5th T. J. Cloutier $480,480
6th David Singer $411,840
7th Dewey Tomko $343,200
8th Doyle Brunson $274,560
9th Patrik Antonius $205,92
As you can see, Chip Reese won this event along with over 1.7 million in prize money. To give a little bit of a back story, many long term poker players criticized the WSOP for their 2005 schedule and many suggested renaming it the WSOH, World Series of Hold’em. This $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. event was the answer and was billed as the first true championship of “poker”. So in that spirit, Chip Reese actually could be called Poker’s very first World Champion of Poker.
To learn more about Chip Reese and his accomplishments, refer to the Wikipedia entry: Chip Reese.