Success Stories By Dick Kazan - Valuable lessons on how to succeed in business and in life
Entertaining and compelling real-life stories with valuable
lessons on how to succeed in business and in life.
The author is successful business, real estate, and media entrepreneur Dick Kazan.
Published on January 15, 2008

Today: A man who found his remarkable destiny when he was just 5-years-old.

This man is Chip Reese, who as a boy found what he loved and pursued it, becoming one of the world’s greatest poker players and made a fortune.

Chip was born in 1951 and when he was just 5-years-old, he came down with rheumatic fever. At that time, rheumatic fever was life threatening particularly if it damaged the heart. His mother kept him home from school for a year so she could nurse him back to health.

To entertain Chip, she taught him card games, including poker.

When Chip returned to school as a 6-year-old, he was so good at these games; he played them with older boys and almost always won. As an adult Chip viewed that year at home playing card games with his mother as crucial to his success in life.

In high school, Chip played football and was a champion debater and an outstanding student who was accepted to Dartmouth. There he majored in economics, played football, and debated. In the meantime he kept winning card games with his fraternity brothers, professors and others.

After Dartmouth, he was accepted to Stanford Law School, but Chip never got there. In 1974, he went to Las Vegas with just $400 in his wallet. Playing poker he quickly built that into $66,000 and had so much fun doing it, he never left, becoming a Las Vegas resident.

Over the years, Chip enjoyed tremendous success as a poker player, winning championships and winning far larger money in private high stakes games. Also with his friend Dale Brunson, another top poker player, the two ran a successful sports betting operation.

But when they got involved in business enterprises, they were easy marks for people with colorful ventures. They lost a lot of money on such ventures as oil and mining operations, and at attempts to raise the Titanic and to find Noah’s Ark.

But to Chip, playing cards and betting on sports was pure joy and financially rewarding. According to a 2003 People magazine interview,* he owned a 13,000-square-foot Las Vegas home, a Santa Monica beachfront condo and a Montana lakeside home.

Also according to Dale Brunson, Chip donated extensively to charity, but kept that private, never discussing it or allowing it to be publicized.

In December, Chip passed away suddenly in his home at the age of 56, from what is believed to have been a heart attack. Perhaps his heart was affected by his childhood rheumatic fever. He is survived by his former wife and their son and daughter, among others.

What was a key to his success as a card player? “I can bet $100,000 and feel nothing,” Chip said to People magazine. “If you think about the money and what it means, you’re gone.”

I’m not suggesting you become a professional poker player. I am saying if you have an unfulfilled dream, then like Chip, give yourself the chance to make it reality. You’ll never know what you can achieve and how much fun you can have in doing it until you try.

Success Tip of the Week: Take the 1st step, even if it’s just learning more about the subject of the dream that has captured your imagination.

Editor's Note: * References to the People magazine interview are from The New York Times obit, “Chip Reese, High-Stakes Card Champion, Is Dead at 56.” (12/7/07)

In the next KazanToday: A man who made 3-fortunes by convincing the world he was crazy.

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Many of these short, inspirational success stories are about people from all walks of life who overcame seemingly insurmountable obstacles to achieve remarkable results. These stories contain practical advice and a recipe for success for each of these renowned individuals. Some of their stories may help you to avoid some of the costly and time consuming mistakes that many of us make in life and at work. Learn from some of history's greatest winners on how to become a winner yourself, no matter what the obstacle, and no matter how daunting the task before you may seem. Good luck!