In the world of professional poker, it no secret that some players are more popular than others. You can tell this from watching live tournaments yourself but a quick visit to some of the many poker forums available on the internet will demonstrate who is popular and who is not. While someone like Phil Hellmuth is clearly not universally popular, others such as Chip Reese universally are.
Or we should say ‘were’ – Reese sadly died in 2007 in his sleep – but how did it all start? Born in Centerville, Ohio in 1951 he was an outstanding student in a broad range of subjects, excelling in sports as well as academic pursuits. Turning down Harvard and choosing to attend Dartmouth University as an economics major, it was here he discovered his talent and passion for poker. He played with other members of his fraternity, trying out a range of games.
By the time he was offered a place at Stanford Law School he had already won a significant sum of money at a Las Vegas tournament and knew he wanted to be a poker pro. On a subsequent visit to Vegas he was so successful that he just never left. Quitting his day job via a phone message, he organised for his apartment in Arizona to be cleared and his car and belongings brought to Las Vegas.
Although a list of his career titles does not include that many awards or bracelets, he was always a cash game player first and foremost. This did not stop him being described by many of his contemporaries as the best poker player they had ever encountered. The highlight of his career was arguably the 2006 WSOP victory at H.O.R.S.E. – a game made up of Texas Hold’em, Omaha, Razz, Seven Card Stud and Seven Card Stud Eights or Better. This game is regarded as the true test of a poker players ability as the combination of five differing variants means that poker skill and sustained concentration are a must.
Following this victory and then Reese’ untimely death, the competition, now called The Poker Player’s Championship is accompanied by the David ‘Chip’ Reese Memorial Trophy.