Doyle Brunson has been sharing stories from the old days on Twitter. In particular, an anecdote about David “Chip” Reese. Brunson’s tweet came in response to a comment by Kevin E on Reese’s legacy.
“My poker idol is Chip Reese,” Kevin E wrote. “I never met Chip but the stories I’ve heard have had a lasting impact on my poker career. The GOAT @TexDolly Says Chip was the best player he’s ever seen, but it’s the stories of who he was off the felt, that still inspire me.”
Brunson’s response told, succinctly, a tale of equal parts. One part degenerate gambling, one part religious devotion, and one part straight-up balling.
“Chip had a new Lincoln,” Doyle wrote. “And gave it to a preacher that had been coming to our Bible study.”
The story sounds like Hemmingway writing Flannery O’Conner fan-fiction. But it is completely in keeping with the strange world that Brunson and Reese used to walk in. Those were the days when Texas road gambler was still a viable career, and in which Super/System could still be used to profitably learn the ropes of no-limit hold’em.
A gambling storied past
Brunson also recently let poker-twitter know about a romantic prop bet Bryan “Sailor” Roberts permanently rigged for himself.
“Sailor met a girl in a bar and wanted to get her to party with him,” Brunson tweeted. “She kept rejecting him so he said it’s fate, I had your name tattooed on my butt. She agreed she would party with him if that was true. Sailor discreetly lowered his pants. There it was, it said…. YOUR NAME.”
Chip was also the subject of a few more of Doyle’s Twitter anecdotes. There was the time they sang songs (badly) with Stu Ungar to cheer themselves up. Or the time Chip paid $5,600 in 70s money for a water bill because he didn’t realize that a bill that big meant a pipe had burst somewhere.
A piece of Reese
When Chip Reese passed away in 2007, he was the poker-player’s poker-player.
He wasn’t as widely known as players from the same period like Phil Hellmuth, Daniel Negreanu, Johnny Chan, Doyle Brunson, and Jennifer Harman. But he was a regular in the big game along with all of them. And Chip was, without doubt, a candidate to beat every single one of them. Poker players admired Chip, not only for his decades at the top of the cash-game world, but for the steadiness of his play. Hot streak or cold, Chip’s game never wavered. He was permanently on his A-game.
Though people knew him primarily as a cash game player, Chip still had three WSOP bracelets to his name. One of them was for the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. tourney in 2006, the year before he passed. The poker world calls the $50k H.O.R.S.E. the “players championship” and it was a fitting send-off.
Phil Hellmuth couldn’t bear — until recently — to suggest another player might be in the running for the greatest of all time. But even he was unable to deny Chip his place on the shortlist.
“When you talk about the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) in poker,” wrote Hellmuth. “[Doyle Brunson], David “Chip” Reese, [Johnny Chan] and [Phil Ivey] are in the conversation. You have to play, and crush, for at least 30 years.”
Despite all his success, Chip was still the kind of guy who attended a small bible study with his pals. And who gave away cars to the clergy who visited.
Featured image source: Twitter