Coming from a close family in the Garden of England, our latest subject in the Poker Idols series is often called ‘Stevie’, and has one of the most familiar poses in poker. Who is he? Well, the man in 6th place in the all-time money list for live tournament players and the most successful tournament poker player in British history.
Stephen Chidwick has become synonymous with success in this era of GTO play. In fact, he might be the GTO player. So how did this supremely talented and highly respected individual conquer the poker world? Let’s take a look.
No Big Deal
Born and bred in Deal, Kent, the young Chidwick didn’t play his first live poker tournament until he was 19 years old, but when he did, he got off to a globetrotting start. Chidwick’s first-ever cash in a ranking event was an outright win as he took down the PCA $1,000 side event in January 2008 for $88,760. Over the next couple of years, Chidwick would only cash a handful of times live but he booked five flags from five different countries in those early results in The Bahamas, Barcelona, Paris, Punta Del Este and Las Vegas, with his first World Series of Poker cash coming courtesy of a 40th-place finish in a $1,500 bracelet event.
Playing online as ‘stevie444’, Chidwick was hugely successful online too and in 2009, won a Full Tilt FTOPS for $142,155. At the live felt, he was winning big at the World Series of Poker and between 2010 and 2011 alone, cashed eight times in bracelet events, winning over $280,000 in the process. The WSOP bracelet, however, eluded the British pro.
The Straight Man
While much was made of Chidwick’s early success, one of the things that stood out about his play at the live felt was his posture. Apparently to correct previous poor posture, Chidwick sits bolt straight at the felt, and has an incredibly tough to read physical form. Surveying the players in front of him as if standing over them, Chidwick’s presence at a live table is unmistakable and it could be argued that no-one in the game of poker sits at the table quite like him.
Chidwick’s success grew and grew in the 2010’s as he regularly made appearances at the biggest final tables, such as his 6th-place finish at the 2012 Poker Player’s Championship which earned him $253,497, his 4th-place finish at the 2013 WSOP $25,000-entry High Roller event and his 3rd-place finish in the EPT Prague Main Event in December of the same year.
As his name grew and grew, Chidwick was named the best player not to win a WSOP bracelet. That, however, was about to change.
Grabbing the Gold
Becoming a bracelet winner when you’re one of the top players in poker is something of a box to be ticked. There are bigger prizes out there in High Roller or Super High Roller series, and there are cash games in Macau where you could win more in a couple of hands against businessman prepared to mix it with the stars of the poker world. But there is still cache to a bracelet win, and that it took until 2019 for Stephen Chidwick to win his tells you just how long the very best can have to wait.
Almost directly after landing in Las Vegas, Chidwick played the $25,000-entry PLO High Roller event and took it down for $1.6 million just a couple of days later. With 278 entries, Chidwick prevailed past pros such as Robert Mizrachi, Erik Seidel and Alex Epstein at the final table alone and had proved his greatness. Lauded by fans and opponents alike, Chidwick had become one of the best poker players in the world and was duly recognized as such as he lifted the gold.
British Number One
Now a father and living in Las Vegas, Stephen Chidwick became the most successful British tournament poker player of all-time in early 2019 and was congratulated on achieving that feat by none other than the man he replaced at the top of the tree, Sam Trickett.
With a legacy of incredible wins since, Chidwck sits in 6th place on the list of all-time poker greats… and is still just 31 years old!