PLAYER PROFILE – Stephen Chidwick
Poker has been enthralling players for decades. Its longevity is primarily due to its strategic depth and rich history, which gave rise to an incredible competitive scene. Players from all backgrounds strive to test their skills in a battle of wits. As the game evolves, these players must often adjust their approach and develop new techniques to stay ahead of others. Professional tournaments carry tremendous intrigue and excitement, drawing in viewers from around the world. The biggest ones, like the World Series of Poker (WSOP), have years of history, generating innumerable and unforgettable stories and moments that have become pillars of poker culture. Even in the modern poker era, players constantly strive to reach the top and prove themselves to the world. Today, we’ll look at one of the biggest competitors in present-day poker: Stephen Chidwick.
Stephen Chidwick is a British professional poker player. He’s most known for his tournament career as the highest-earning Englishman and fourth highest-earning tournament poker player worldwide. Widely considered one of the most formidable opponents in the age of modern-day poker, he certainly has the recorded results to support this reputation. He was also ranked first on the Global Poker Index for over half of the year in 2018, from April 18 through to October 9.
He won his first and only World Series of Poker bracelet when he claimed victory in the 2019 $25,000 Pot Limit Omaha High Roller event for over $1.6 million dollars. Chidwick is a member of the newest generation of poker players, having begun his career online. If his results are anything to go by, he’s here to stay and on track to becoming one of poker’s all-time greats.
Stephen Chidwick was born in Deal, England, on May 10, 1989. Even from a young age, he had a fiercely competitive spirit. He strived to become as good as possible and succeed at essentially everything he did. Whether it was a serious sport or a silly computer flash game, Chidwick gave it his all. Before poker, his first passion was golf which he diligently practiced and exercised regularly in an effort to improve his handicap.
In 2005, Chidwick began playing online poker, initially just for fun and only playing for free, but he eventually worked up the courage to play for real money. Frequenting Multi Table and Sit & Go Tournaments, he honed his skills under the username “stevie444”.
After playing online poker for a few years, Chidwick joined and won his first live poker tournament in 2008. He took home $88,760 from the $1,000 No Limit Holdem PCA. In 2009 he earned $142,155 for a second-place finish in a $300 Full Tilt Online Poker Series event.
In 2010, he expanded his career to include the World Series of Poker, cashing in three events and placing fourth in the $10,000 Pot-Limit Hold’em Championship for $198,927. His career grew exponentially around this period, cashing in at other high-profile events like the European Poker Tour, WSOP Europe and the original WSOP. Between 2012 and 2013, Chidwick finished in the top 10 positions of five separate WSOP events, earning a total of $782,165. He has frequently claimed six-figure scores in other tournaments like the Macau Poker Cup and Aussie Millions Poker Championship. At the 2015 WSOP, he came in second place in the $10,000 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship for $180,529, the closest he had come yet to winning a bracelet.
Beyond the WSOP, Chidwick was a frequent sight at High Roller tournaments, with notable scores at the WPT Five Diamond, EPT, and PokerStars Championship $25,000 and $50,000 High Rollers events. In 2017, he set a new record for his largest score, winning the €25,500 High Roller at the PokerStars Championship Barcelona for $813,144. He then claimed his first seven-digit score, finishing sixth in the Super High Roller Bowl China for $1,298,521. Two more cashes followed this at the partypoker MILLIONS in Barcelona. A runner-up finish in the €100,000 Super High Roller and third place in the Main Event gave him a combined haul of €2.1 million. In 2018, he also hit first place on the Global Poker Index and was considered the best tournament poker player in the world. During an interview, he said, “I’ve definitely been chasing it for probably three years. I’ve always been very motivated by rankings and Player of the Year type stuff. So, I was very aware of the ranks of what I needed to do. How many points I was getting for each score, so it’s been a focus of mine for a while.”
The First Bracelet
Reading all of Chidwick’s accomplishments, you may notice the distinct lack of actual WSOP bracelets. Over the tournament’s 50-year history, these gold trinkets have become undeniable symbols of poker greatness. By now, Chidwick’s impressive career frequently put him in contention for the title of “Best Player without a Bracelet.”
In 2019, he finally broke his bracelet drought, defeating James Chen heads-up to win the $25,000 Pot Limit Omaha High Roller for $1,618,417. This was yet another seven-figure score, but to Chidwick, the bracelet was everything.
In an interview after the game, he said, “I try really hard to detach the bracelet and everything around it. I have been here many times, and I had a lot of heartbreak over the years, too. So I am just trying to put that as much out of my mind as possible. I guess I didn’t really start to think that until the big aces hand that I won that left him [James Chen] with ten big blinds.”