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Chip Reese

Chip Reese
Reese at the 2005 World Series of Poker
Nickname(s) Chip
Born David Edward Reese
March 28, 1951
Centerville, Ohio, U.S.
World Series of Poker
Bracelet(s) 3
Money finish(es) 23
Highest ITM
Main Event finish
23rd, 1989
World Poker Tour
Title(s) None
Final table(s) 1
Money finish(es) 5

David Edward Reese (March 28, 1951 - December 4, 2007), more commonly known as Chip Reese, was an American professional poker player and gambler from Centerville, Ohio. He is widely regarded as having been the greatest cash game poker player.

Early life

Reese suffered from rheumatic fever during his years at elementary school and had to stay at home for almost a year. During this time, his mother taught him how to play several board and card games. Reese later described himself as "a product of that year." By the age of six, he was regularly beating fifth-graders at poker. In high school he was a football player and was on the debate team, winning an Ohio State Championship and going to the National Finals.

He attended Dartmouth College after turning down an offer from Harvard University. At Dartmouth, he became a member of Beta Theta Pi Fraternity, played freshman football briefly, participated in debate, and majored in economics. He also had tremendous success in poker games against students and some of his professors. He taught his fraternity brothers to play a variety of card games, including bridge as well as many poker variants. He played bridge at the Grafton County Grange. His fraternity later named their chapter card room, the "David E. Reese Memorial Card Room" in his honor. He was admitted to Stanford Law School, but decided instead to play poker professionally after winning $60,000 in a tournament in Las Vegas. By the time he would have started at Stanford, he had made $100,000. His first visit to Las Vegas was so financially rewarding and so much fun, that he literally never left. He called his day job in Arizona several days later to quit and hired someone to fly to Arizona to clean out his apartment and drive his car to Las Vegas.

Poker career

Shortly afterwards, Reese collaborated on the seven-card stud section for Doyle Brunson's Super/System, the best-selling poker book of all time. In it, Brunson describes Reese as "one of the two finest young … poker players in the world" and the best seven-card stud player he had ever played. He won the $1,000 Seven Card Stud Split event at the World Series of Poker in 1978, and the $5,000 Seven Card Stud tournament there in 1982. Reese decided to concentrate his efforts on cash games, however. He later became the card room manager at the Dunes casino. In 1991, Reese became the youngest living player to be inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame. By 2006, he was still playing poker, also betting on sports.

At the 2006 World Series of Poker, Reese won the inaugural $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. event, taking home the $1,716,000 first prize when his A♣ Q♣ held up against Andy Bloch's 9♣ 8♠ in the final hand, on a board of J♠ 7♣ 7♠ 4♥ 4♠. This event was notable for having the largest buy-in in WSOP history, as well as the longest heads-up battle with Reese and Bloch playing for seven hours and 286 hands. By comparison, the final table of the 2005 World Series of Poker Main Event lasted for a total of 232 hands.

As a tribute, the "David 'Chip' Reese Memorial Trophy" was inaugurated in 2008 as an additional prize for the winner of the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. event at the World Series of Poker. The trophy depicts his winning hand of A♣ 7♣ 7♠ 4♥ 4♠. Starting in 2010, the trophy was awarded to the winner of The Poker Player's Championship, the replacement for the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. event. Retaining the $50,000 buy-in, the event added no-limit hold 'em, pot-limit Omaha, and limit 2-7 triple draw to the five H.O.R.S.E. games, culminating with a no-limit hold 'em final table.

Reese's total live tournament winnings exceeded $3,500,000.


Reese died on December 4, 2007, at his Las Vegas home. Some sources state that Reese died in his sleep from the effects of pneumonia, while friends of Chip, including Barry Greenstein and Doyle Brunson, speculate that his death might have been related to an earlier gastric bypass that caused a blood clot.

Upon learning of Reese's death, Doyle Brunson stated, "He's certainly the best poker player that ever lived." World Series of Poker commissioner Jeffrey Pollack said upon his death that many consider Chip "the greatest cash game player who ever lived, but he was also a World Series of Poker legend."

Reese's house in Las Vegas was put up for sale on June 8, 2008 at a price of $5,699,500. Reese purchased the house with winnings from sports betting in baseball and from an investment in Jack Binion's Tunica casino.

World Series of Poker bracelets

Year Tournament Prize (US$)
1978 $1,000 Seven-Card Stud Split $19,200
1982 $5,000 Limit 7 Card Stud $92,500
2006 $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. World Championship $1,784,640