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Poker Prodigy Series: Chip Reese

by Craig Edwards
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Our Poker Prodigy Series has encapsulated all eras of poker starting with Johnny Moss, through Doyle Brunson’s longevity until the modern day phenoms.

It is time for us to look at Chip Reese’s career, sadly cut short by his unexpected passing at the age of fifty-six in 2007, a player whom the “Godfather of Poker” (Brunson) believed was the greatest all-rounder ever saying,

“I knew him for 35 years, I never saw him get mad or raise his voice,” Brunson said. “He had the most even disposition of anyone I’ve ever met. He’s certainly the best poker player that ever lived.”

That is high praise indeed from someone who many believe is the greatest ever, so we look at Reese’s career.

How It All Began for Chip Reese

Chip Reese is undoubtedly a poker prodigy having been poorly between the ages of five and six with Rheumatic fever that kept him off school for a full year. Reese, later in his career, described himself as “a product of that year”, as his mother taught him the nuances of poker and other card games, so much so that by the time he returned to school, he was beating the fifth graders at poker.

After school, he majored in economics at Dartford University after turning down an offer from Harvard. His fraternity were all taught the vagaries of poker by Reese and posthumously named their chapter card room “David E. Reese Memorial Card Room” in his honour.

Chip Reese Was Looking Set for Stanford, but Fate Stepped In

Towards the end of his economics course, Reese appeared interested in taking up a place at Business Stanford School, but fate changed his path when Reese’s first foray to Las Vegas was extremely profitable, to the tune of $60,000 from a high-lo split game. Reese immediately based himself in Las Vegas, never left, and is rumoured to have hired someone to fly back to Arizona to fetch his belongings to “Sin City”.

Chip Reese Wrote the Seven-Card Stud Section of Super System

Early in his career, Reese became close friends with Doyle Brunson and Brunson described Reese as “one of the finest young poker players in the world” and the best seven-card stud player he had ever competed against.

He was so impressed he asked Reese to author the seven-card stud section of his pioneering Super System poker book of 1979.

Chip Reese

Chip Reese WSOP Accomplishments

When looking at Chip Reese’s tally of three WSOP Bracelets it could look a little disappointing in comparison to his lofty reputation. However, that respect amongst his peers was due more to his record in the biggest cash games in the world. In fact, the World Series of Poker commissioner, Jeffrey Pollack, proclaimed that Chip Reese was the “best cash game player ever!”

He did, however, win three bracelets, spaced some eighteen years apart, with his first being in $1,000 seven-card-stud of 1978. Reese’s second WSOP Bracelet came in 1982, in the $5,000 seven-card stud event.

A year before his sad passing, Chip Reese rounded off his WSOP career with a bracelet in what was the biggest all-round event of its time, the 2006 $50,000 H.O.R.S.E World Championship for a first prize of $1,784,640.

H.O.R.S.E. stands for Texas Hold’em, Omaha High-Lo split Eight-or better, Razz, Seven-card stud and Seven-card High-Lo split Eight-or better.

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Chip Reese the Greatest Cash Game Player Ever!

There is nothing a poker player could want more from their career than to hear his peers in the highest echelons of the game announce you the “Best Cash Game and Seven-card stud player ever”.

That will be Chip Reese’s legacy from a career in gambling that saw him accumulate wealth in Las Vegas, having never left, after fate intervened when traveling there just before his acceptance into Stanford Business School.

Like Brunson said, he never saw Reese on tilt, and he was the consummate poker professional, playing fairly but as hard as nails, as he ground a living from the game. On his sad passing in 2007, he left a house in Las Vegas worth $6 million purchased in cash through his gambling gains.

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Craig Edwards
Craig Edwards, an online tipster in golf and snooker for over four years, boasts a track record of 7800 bets with a 28% return on investment. A snooker professional from 1988 to 1996, he was once a single-figure handicap golfer. Achieving the 282nd position in the WSOP MAIN EVENT in 2007, Craig possesses a unique insight into the psychological shifts of professional sportsmen, anticipating their mindset week by week.

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