Chad Brown, known as “Downtown Chad Brown”, passed away earlier this month after a long battle with cancer. Shortly before his passing Brown was honoured for his contributions to poker, both on and off the felt, when he was awarded the first ever honorary World Series of Poker bracelet.
Brown grew up in the Bronx and had a variety of career choices. His athletic ability resulted in his being offered a minor league baseball contract, but his love for acting prompted his move to Hollywood to pursue an acting career. But it was at the poker table where his star would shine brightest.
Brown’s father was a gambler and Brown learned the game at the underground games in New York. As his skill and results improved, he decided to turn pro.
During his poker career, Brown earned more than $3.5 million in live tournament play. He also served as a frequent televised poker commentator. Along the way he also earned the reputation as the “nicest guy in poker.”
In 2011, Brown was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and underwent surgery to remove a tumour. However the cancer remained and he underwent the traditional treatments as well as alternative medicine treatments. The cancer was eventually diagnosed as inoperable.
Despite his illness, Brown continued to play and play well, including money finishes at the 2014 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) and a WPT event at Borgata in New Jersey. While recovering, Brown wrote in his blog: “I’m in the U.S., I’m playing on PokerStars.net in the nosebleed section, playing 1 million/2 million blinds. The game plays like a real cash game, with players who are serious and playing to win.”
After his passing, his former wife Vanessa Rousso organised the Chad Brown Memorial Tournament at Binion’s Casino in Las Vegas. The first annual event was scheduled for July 13, 2014. The $225 No-Limit Hold’em event will benefit the T.J. Martell Foundation, with half of the buy-in and 100% of the $50 rebuys going to the charity.
In announcing the tournament Rousso said: “This annual event will be a celebration of Chad’s life. Chad touched so many so deeply and this is a way to keep his memory alive. Also, I am proud to announce that for this year, PokerStars, Chad’s poker sponsor has generously offered to partner with us.”
PokerStars’ Sue Hammett said: “PokerStars was proud to have Chad Brown on our team. We are devastated and mourn the passing of our dear friend…. PokerStars will match all funds raised for the charity from the Tournament. All of us here at PokerStars are honoured to do this in Chad’s name.” PokerStars also donated a seat to the PCA Main Event for the winner of the tournament.
The proof that Brown indeed was a great ambassador for the game is found in the tweets from professional players and fans alike.
Looks like my weekend plans may be changing~Chad Brown’s Memorial Poker Tournament at Binion’s Vegas can’t be missed pic.twitter.com/VmCsQMyYOz
— Angie Valencia (@angie_valencia) July 9, 2014
Everybody that can made it to @Downtownchad memorial, please do it. I can’t be there but the poker community needs to show their respect.
— Doyle Brunson (@TexDolly) July 13, 2014