Sign Up For Card Player's Newsletter And Free Bi-Monthly Online Magazine


Poker Training

Newsletter and Magazine

Sign Up

Find Your Local

Card Room


Hand History Time Capsule - David “Chip” Reese

Hand History Time Capsule - David “Chip” Reese

by Erik Fast |  Published: Nov 01, 2011


At the 2006 World Series of Poker, the event that would eventually become the Poker Players Championship drew 143 entrants in its inaugural running, despite its hefty $50,000 price tag. The idea for this event had been talked about for years. Many high-stakes pros were extremely excited for a high buy-in, small-field event that featured the popular H.O.R.S.E. mixed-game format that could determine who was poker’s best all-around player. With a $6,864,000 prizepool and $1,716,000 for first place, it was clear that this tournament had the right ingredients to instantly become one of poker’s most prestigious titles. Little did poker’s biggest players and fans know that they were in for an instant classic that would be one last shining jewel in the crown of one of poker’s all-time kings.

David “Chip” Reese had not a won a WSOP bracelet since 1982. But don’t take that stat the wrong way: in that intervening 24 years, Reese had established himself as one of, if the not the most respected high-stakes cash game player in the world: a player’s player. When the televised poker boom exploded, Reese was still playing cash games over tournaments and had not become a household name like the Doyle Brunsons and Phil Iveys of the world. But despite his preference for cash games, the excitement in the high-stakes poker world for the first $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. tournament drove Reese to play. It was not a surprise to any of poker’s elite when Reese joined them at the final table with the chip lead in hand.

Poker’s Elite Comprise Dream Final Table

The final nine of this prestigious event featured some of the game’s most respected players, with representatives from the old guard and poker’s new generation of superstars. Patrik Antonius, Dewy Tomko, Doyle Brunson, Jim Bechtel, T.J. Cloutier and David Singer all brought incredible skill and experience into this historic final table, but all fell short. When the dust settled, only three players remained: Phil Ivey, Andy Bloch and Reese. Reese and the analytical MIT-alumnus, Bloch, had the majority of the chips, leaving Ivey as the short stack.

Ivey exited after playing a huge hand against Andy Bloch. With blinds at 15,000-30,000 with 5,000 ante, Bloch called from the small blind and Ivey raised from the big blind to 100,000. Bloch called and the flop came QHeart Suit 7Diamond Suit 3Diamond Suit. Bloch check-raised Ivey’s 100,000 bet to 500,000, only to have Ivey go all-in for approximately 300,000 more. Bloch called with the 5Diamond Suit 4Diamond Suit for a straight and flush draw, while Ivey showed AClub Suit 7Heart Suit. The ADiamond Suit on the turn gave Bloch a flush but also gave Ivey two pair. The 6Club Suit on the river failed to improve Ivey and Bloch won the hand, entering heads-up play with a slight chip lead.

The Heads-Up Battle Begins

Andy Bloch has tournament cashes dating back to 1993 and more than $4.4 million in lifetime earnings, but at the time of the H.O.R.S.E. final table, he was best known for his exploits as a member of the infamous MIT blackjack team, which had used its members skills as mathematicians to beat blackjack at casinos around the world. Bloch may have begun with the chip advantage, but Reese was not about to go away without a fight. With the blinds still at 15,000-30,000 with a 5,000 ante, Bloch raised the button to 75,000 with 5Club Suit 3Heart Suit and Reese called with KClub Suit 5Club Suit. The flop brought ADiamond Suit 10Diamond Suit 8Club Suit and both players checked. The 6Club Suit also brought a check from Reese, but this time around Bloch took a stab at the pot with an 80,000 chip bet with only five-high. Reese himself had only a king-high and no draw, but he decided to raise to 330,000 and took down the pot.

Despite his early attempts to regain the chip lead, Reese was slowly ground down. Bloch continued to apply pressure and was winning more than his fair share of pots. After a pot where Reese flopped top pair of kings, only to lose to Bloch’s pocket fives which hit a runner-runner a flush, it was clear that Bloch’s momentum was starting to frustrate Reese. “Is that on your DVD?” asked Reese with apparent sarcasm and frustration. Bloch quickly replied, “I’ll make sure you get a copy.” Bloch seemed eager to prove that he deserved to be at this final table fighting for the title, and with a stack of 5,250,000 to Reese’s 1,900,000, it seemed that he was in a good position to take home the bracelet.

Reese Battles Back From the Brink

With the blinds still at 15,000-30,000 with 5,000 ante, Bloch once again raised the button to 75,000. Reese called and the two saw a 7Heart Suit 4Club Suit 3Heart Suit flop. Reese checked, prompting a 100,000 bet from Bloch. Without much delay, Reese moved in for roughly 1.3 million more. Bloch went into the tank, contemplating a call for the title and the $1.7 million first place prize. Eventually he announced call and revealed the 7Spade Suit 2Spade Suit for top pair. Reese reveals that he had made the large all-in raise with 10Club Suit 5Club Suit, and that he was behind and needed a six or a ten to take the lead. The 6Diamond Suit on the turn filled Reese’s inside straight draw and left Bloch drawing dead as Reese won the hand and doubled up.

Heads-up play continued for hours. More than one hundred hands later, Bloch had once again built a dominant chip lead. With the blinds increased to 25,000-50,000 with a 5,000 ante, Bloch shoved all in, and the short stacked Reese called his last 1,010,000. Bloch showed KSpade Suit JSpade Suit and Reese turned over ASpade Suit 10Diamond Suit. The flop came KDiamond Suit JDiamond Suit 9Diamond Suit, giving Bloch two pair but Reese a flush draw. The turn was the ADiamond Suit, giving Reese a flush, but he still had to avoid a king or jack in order to survive. The river brought the AHeart Suit and Reese doubled up again.

Just over ten hands later, Reese limped in and Bloch raised to 200,000 from the big blind. Reese moved all in and Bloch quickly called with 9Spade Suit 9Club Suit. Reese revealed the KDiamond Suit KClub Suit and had Bloch needing to come from behind this time around. The flop brought the JSpade Suit 7Heart Suit 2Diamond Suit and Reese retained the lead. The turn was the QClub Suit and Bloch was down to a nine on the river. The river was the ADiamond Suit and Reese doubled up to roughly 3,450,000, with Bloch only just ahead with 3,700,000. After hours of heads-up play, it was still anybody’s game.

Reese Grabs the Lead and Seals the Deal

With the blinds increased to 30,000-60,000 with a 10,000 ante, the now more evenly stacked players continued to battle late into the night. Bloch raised to 120,000 and Reese called from the big blind. On a flop of 9Spade Suit 8Diamond Suit 3Diamond Suit, Reese checked and Bloch bet 120,000. Reese moved all in and Bloch bolted up out of his seat, once again going into the tank for a crucial decision. After counting his stack he made the call and showed 9Club Suit 7Spade Suit for a pair of nines. Reese turned over KDiamond Suit 6Diamond Suit for a flush draw. The turn brought the 5Diamond Suit, giving Reese an unbeatable flush. The river was a meaningless KClub Suit and Reese doubled up, leaving Bloch crippled.

Just after this crushing blow, the floor announced that the heads-up match had broken the record for the longest heads-up match in WSOP history. Surely this was hardly any comfort to Bloch, who had been just a card or two away from the win hours ago. Now with only a handful of big blinds, it seemed that Bloch was on his last legs. A few hands later, Reese pushed all in and Bloch called for his tournament life. Reese showed AClub Suit QClub Suit and Bloch turned over 9Club Suit 8Spade Suit. Bloch picked up a straight draw when the flop brought the JSpade Suit 7Spade Suit 7Club Suit, but failed to improve with the turn the 4Heart Suit and the river the 4Spade Suit. Reese’s ace kicker with a pair of sevens on the board was good enough to win him the hand and the tournament.

The Poker Players Champion

David “Chip” Reese is a legend of the game, who had already earned the respect of his peers regardless of whether or not the casual poker fan knew his name. Many people thought that this marquee win in the inaugural running of the Poker Players Championship would be Reese’s chance to prove to the public that he was poker’s best all-around player. As it turns out, Reese wasn’t too concerned with all of that. “It’s great to win a tournament, and there is a lot of fanfare involved. But I think Doyle Brunson said it best. When asked who the best young players are Doyle said, ‘I don’t know, ask me in twenty years.’ That’s really what poker is all about. Hopefully I’ve stood the test of time, that’s what it takes. It’s not just one day or two days, it’s everyday.”
Chip Reese had proven himself day in and day out over a career that spanned four decades, and he beat out the most elite field in history to win poker’s most celebrated title and $1.7 million. But it was his down-to-earth sensibility that made him one of the game’s greats.

On December 4th of 2007, Reese passed away in his Las Vegas home. 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. ♠