Tuesday, December 04, 2007

David “Chip” Reese (1951-2007)

David 'Chip' Reese (1951-2007)Just happened to be thinking about how certain pros cannot help but introduce themselves as the “best Hold ’em player on the planet” or “one of the top Omaha/8 players in the world” or the like. You know who I’m talking about. Those who feel it necessary -- for whatever reason -- to reassure us all of their greatness. It was only last week on one of the podcasts I heard one particular guest introduce himself by saying how “obviously I’m one of the best Stud players in the world.”

Meanwhile, there are those pros who never stoop to such self-aggrandizement, even if perhaps it might be warranted. Again, you know who I’m talking about. The ones whom others are often describing as the “greatest” and “best” and so forth.

Like David “Chip” Reese.

Was surfing around this morning and ran across the sad news that Reese had passed at the age of 56. Too, too soon. You’ll hear a lot about Reese over the next few days, including numerous commendations of his abilities at the tables. The sort of stuff Reese himself never bothered to advertise.

Caricature of Chip Reese from the original 'Super/System'You’ll hear repeated the story of how Reese attended Dartmouth College (turning down Harvard’s offer), where he so dominated his fraternity’s poker game, the room in which they played was later dubbed “The David E. Reese Memorial Card Room” -- a name all card rooms will unofficially adopt over the next few days.

You’ll hear how after Dartmouth Reese had been pondering moving on to Stanford law school when he found himself on a weekend trip to Vegas. The weekend became a week. Then two. Then after a month he’d won over $50,000, and before long was playing in the “Big Game” with Moss, Brunson, and other greats.

You’ll hear how although his primary interest was always cash games, Reese did win three WSOP bracelets (including the 2006 $50K H.O.R.S.E. event), had 17 WSOP cashes, and made a WPT final table (also in ’06). The fame and notoriety that came with tourney successes weren’t particularly interesting to Reese. Indeed, it was only at the urging of his kids -- who with the rest of us had witnessed poker’s “boom” on television -- that he got back into tourney play at all. (His appearance at the 2004 WSOP was his first in nine years.)

And you’ll hear how Reese’s reputation as one of the best has been echoed repeatedly by many of the game’s top players over the years. In his introduction to Reese’s terrific introduction to Stud strategy in Super/System, Doyle Brunson called him a “super all-around card player” who in Stud was “on a different plateau than everyone else.” Jack Binion called him “the premier poker player in the world.” And on his website, Barry Greenstein describes Reese as “the Jack Nicklaus of poker,” someone “good at all facets of the game.”

Of course, Reese never felt the need to say these things about himself. No, he just kept on playing. And winning.

Over on NBC’s website for the Heads-Up Championship, there’s an interview with Reese in which he’s asked whether he ever might stop playing.

“I’ll stop playing at my funeral,” Reese replied. “And only God knows what I’ll do after that.”

Indeed. Meanwhile, we know what others will be doing. Praising Chip Reese.



Blogger OhCaptain said...

Nice post.

He will be missed.

12/04/2007 4:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chip was a graduate of our high school class in Centerville, Ohio. Since 1999 we have had a website up and running. You can get the latest information on our sit about Chip as we will post it when it is received. All members of our class were and still are very close. We will miss him very much.


12/04/2007 5:15 PM  

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