David "Chip" Reese,

whose plans for a Stanford University business school degree were sidetracked by his success at high-stakes poker in Las Vegas, died in his sleep. He was 56.

Reese was found by his son early Tuesday at his Las Vegas home after suffering from symptoms of pneumonia, said poker great Doyle Brunson, his longtime friend.

"I knew him for 35 years, I never saw him get mad or raise his voice," Brunson said. "He had the most even disposition of anyone I've ever met. He's certainly the best poker player that ever lived."

After attending Dartmouth College, Reese was on his way to Stanford in the early 1970s when he stopped by a Las Vegas poker room and won big, said World Series of Poker media director Nolan Dalla.

"He just accidentally stumbled into Las Vegas and never left," Dalla said.

His immediate success at cash games and low-key persona won him friends, even among those who wound up passing him their chips.

Despite winning three World Series champion bracelets over the last four decades, including a $1.8 million HORSE event in 2005 that combines five poker disciplines, Reese focused on high-stakes cash games away from the limelight.

"Many consider Chip the greatest cash-game player who ever lived," said Jeffrey Pollack, World Series of Poker commissioner.

In addition to his son, Reese is survived by a daughter and a stepdaughter, Brunson said. He was recently divorced.

Soccer

* Goalkeepers Hope Solo and Briana Scurry, who were at the center of a World Cup firestorm, were invited to the U.S. women's national team training camp by new coach Pia Sundhage. The camp marks the beginning of the run to the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. The United States plays in the CONCACAF finals for Olympic qualifying April 2-13 in Chihuahua, Mexico. Two countries from the six-team tournament will advance to China. It was in China where Solo was benched for the World Cup semifinals by then-coach Greg Ryan, who started veteran Scurry instead. The Americans played poorly, Scurry was beaten four times in a shutout loss to Brazil, and Solo bitterly criticized Ryan for the move.

* Albania wants soccer authorities to investigate its last two European Championship qualifiers, saying there are "clear suspicions" the country's top soccer official, Armando Duka, may have been involved in game-fixing.

Sport Stops

* Britain will set up an independent anti-doping agency ahead of the 2012 London Olympics, with a focus on targeting drug dealers.

* Olympic downhill champion Antoine Deneriaz, of France, announced his retirement.

* Sean Sherk's steroid suspension was cut in half, allowing the Ultimate Fighting Championship titleholder to compete starting Jan. 6. The California State Athletic Commission reduced the 1-year ban after a hearing in Los Angeles. *