Chad Brown Passes Away at 52

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After being admitted to Calvary Hospice Care in the Bronx, New York, last week, poker pro Chad Brown (pictured) passed away in his sleep early on Wednesday morning. Brown, who had battled a rare form of cancer for the past few years, was 52.

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One of the more respected figures in the game of poker, Chad (born Martin Brown in 1961) enjoyed a life replete with excitement, discovery, and success. The son of a New York City gambler, Brown started playing cards in his father’s underground poker room, in particular Gin Rummy. Those cards games would serve him well in his future endeavors, but he had other things he wanted to tackle first.

An outstanding athlete with model looks, Brown had ambitions of being a professional baseball player. When it came down to a choice – baseball or the draw of Hollywood dreams – Brown chose to head west to Tinseltown. Once there, he made a solid career in acting and modeling, but the call of the card tables was never far away.

In 1993, Brown earned his first ever World Series of Poker cash, taking 11th place in a $1,500 Limit Hold’em tournament. That success would relight the fires of competitive poker for Brown and, over the next two decades, he added 37 more WSOP cashes, ten on the World Poker Tour, and countless others in tournaments around the world.

In 2006, Brown won one of the ultimate honors a poker player can earn, the Bluff Magazine Player of the Year award. Poker also provided him with a television outlet, as Brown was one of the hosts of the “Ultimate Poker Showdown,” which was broadcast in syndication in the United States.

He was a member of Team PokerStars, notable for his abilities both live and online and his unwavering outlook on the game, win or lose. It was there he met fellow poker pro Vanessa Rousso and the two eventually eloped and got married in private. In 2012, they amicably divorced.

On Saturday, Brown’s condition worsened to the point that he entered hospice care. On Sunday, officials at the WSOP took the unprecedented step of awarding Brown an honorary bracelet. Tournament Director Jack Effel(pictured) remarked during the awarding of the bracelet, “Winning a WSOP bracelet is one of the ways a poker player can create their legacy to make sure they will be remembered by their peers. But, it is not the only way.”

Effel continued, “Sometimes there are special people that come around and transcend the traditional poker scorecard… a person who stands for something like integrity, honor, and friendship. A person who is positive, warm, and respectful. A person who always made the game better just by being around the table. A person like Chad Brown. It now seems a certainty that Chad will never again play in the World Series of Poker or any tournament setting. Today, the World Series of Poker family would like to award Chad Brown an honorary bracelet.”

The WSOP bracelet was rushed to the hospice facility in the Bronx and, on Monday, family members posted pictures on Facebook of the bracelet on Chad’s wrist as he entered into what would be his final moments with his friends, family, and the poker community.

Hundreds of condolences and remembrances have poured in for Brown’s family from all corners of the world from compatriots and fans, but it is his own words that must serve as his epitaph. “We all have a choice when it comes to how we want to feel about what’s going on in our lives. If you want to feel like a victim, that’s your choice. I choose not to. I don’t feel like a victim. I feel very blessed with the life that I’ve had, regardless of what happens. I’ve never been depressed about this at all. Anyone wondering if I’m going through a hard time, the answer is no. This is just part of life and I’m okay with everything. I accept it. And right now, I’m just looking forward to the next hand.”

PocketFives would like to extend our condolences to his family, friends, and a mourning poker community. The game has lost another great ambassador and, beyond that, a great person.

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