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David “Chip” Reese was largely considered the best cash game player in the world by all of his peers. He played in the WSOP and the tournament circuit up through the mid 90s before deciding to exclusively focus on his cash game play. He returned to the tournament fields in 2004 at the prompting of his children; they wanted to see him win on TV. Although he did not win a bracelet in his return, he did put the ultimate exclamation point on his career when he won the inaugural $50k H.O.R.S.E. Championship in 2006, the trophy for that event is now named the “David ‘Chip’ Reese Award.”
Reese first visited Las Vegas while traveling across the country on his way to graduate school at Stanford. Famously, he never left. He won three bracelets and had three deep Main Event finishes. He won his first bracelet in Seven Card Stud HiLo in 1978. He won again in 1982 in Seven Card Stud. Then his third was the 2006 H.O.R.S.E. event. His Main Event cashes came in 1988 for 32nd place, 1989 for 23rd, and 1993 for 26th place.
Reese was such an accomplished Seven Card Stud player that his best friend Doyle Brunson called him the greatest stud player that he had ever played with. Brunson tapped Reese to write the Seven Card Stud chapter in his original Super/System.
Reese grew up in Dayton, Ohio and as a child he suffered from rheumatic fever. He was forced to stay home from school for a whole year. It was during that year his mother taught him to play card and board games. Reese realized as a child that he had an innate talent for games. He called himself “a product of that year.” When he returned to school he could beat fifth graders in poker. Upon graduating high school he was accepted to Harvard. He passed on the Massachusetts school and attended Dartmouth instead. While there he joined the Beta Theta Pi fraternity where he played poker with friends and even professors. He won so much that the chapter renamed their card room the “David E. Reese Memorial Card Room.”
Reese was also a very successful sports bettor as well. Brunson and Reese developed a computer model in the 80s that would help in placing wagers. They became so successful that Reese began to rely on sports betting to be his main source of income and as a result he was able to spend more time with his family.
Reese was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 1991, becoming the youngest living person inducted into the hall. Brunson said of Reese, “he’s certainly the best poker player that ever lived.” WSOP Commissioner Jeffery Pollack said that Reese was “the greatest cash game player that ever lived.” Reese sadly passed away December 4, 2007 at his home in Las Vegas.