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The end of a legend. David "Chip" Reese was only 58 years old when, on 4th December, 2007, he departed the poker world of which he had been a part for so long.
David "Chip" Reese was born on 28th March, 1951, in the small American town of Centerville, Ohio. He learned to play poker at an early age and by the precocious age of six, he was already winning from significantly older classmates in his hunt for hockey cards, which he collected.
The fact that "Chip" Reese started playing at such a young age was due to his catching rheumatic fever as an infant and thus being forced to spend a whole year at home, with his mother. It was she who taught him the noble art of poker.
The skills he inherited would come to play a very important role in his later life. However, it was far from clear that "Chip" would become a professional poker player. He was also a very talented debator and competed in the national debating championships after his team had won the state championships. Not only that, but "Chip" also played highschool football.
When he was accepted to Harvard, most people close to him probably thought he would focus on his studies, but for "Chip" himself, the choice was far from a foregone conclusion. It is true that he graduated in Economics from Dartmouth, but his future lay in a different direction.
When, a few years later, he was forced to choose between continuing his studies at Stanford or pursuing a career as a professional poker player, "Chip" gave up his studies. The choice was made after a rare successful visit to the gaming metropolis of Las Vegas in the beginning of the 1970s, when he won $40,000. The rest is, as they say, poker history.
As recently as last autumn, "Chip" earned his third bracelet when he won the first edition of the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E Tournament. His two previous bracelets were earned in 1978 and 1982. Those two wins meant that by 1991, he was already in the Poker Hall of Fame. He was only forty years old at the time, meaning he became one of the youngest members ever. In total, Reese had won approximately $3,500,000. An awesome sum.
At the 2006 tournament, the final was decided between "Chip" and Andy Bloch. In the last hand, he held an ace and queen of clubs, whilst Bloch had a 9 of clubs and 8 of spades as his hole cards. After just under thirty hours of play, it became clear that "Chip" had won his last really big tournament. A little less than a year later, he left the poker world he loved so dearly.
After his decision to gamble on poker, "Chip" spent the summer with a friend in Las Vegas. And he was to make a stylish entrance as a poker player when he sat down, late one summer evening and completely unknown in his new city, at a table with legends Doyle Brunson and Johnny Moss. The journey to the top of the poker pile had begun. After a couple of years in Vegas, "Chip" got a job as a Poker Room Manager at Dunes Casino. He was there for five years, before getting tired and when, in 1978, he earned his first bracelet for winning the $1,000 Seven-Card Stud Split Championship; the way was paved for his transformation into a professional poker player. Four years later, he took home another bracelet after winning the $5,000 Seven-Card Stud Championship, and a new poker legend was born.
Over the years, David "Chip" Reese chose to wind down his poker playing. Instead, he decided to develop a sports betting system. As with his poker experience, the gamble paid off and he was able to make a living off it for the second half of his life. In addition to friends and family, "Chip" leaves behind an entire poker world in sadness and will be remembered as one of the absolute best old school players of all time.
Rest in peace, Chip!