When Chad Brown lost his battle with cancer earlier this month, the entire poker world was united in honoring one of the most well-respected members of their community. Brown received an honorary World Series of Poker bracelet just before he passed away, and countless players have shared stories of how Brown touched their lives.
Many players and fans have also been looking for a way to show their respects and honor Brown’s memory at the same time. In that spirit, Binion’s is hosting the inaugural Chad Brown Memorial and Charity Poker Tournament, an event that will both help remember Brown’s contributions to the world of poker and help support a worthy charity.
Money raised by the tournament will benefit the T.J. Martell Foundation, a charity that helps fund medical research towards finding cures for diseases like cancer and AIDS. Recently, the foundation started funding research into liposarcoma, the rare form of cancer that afflicted Brown. Since 1975, the T.J. Martell Foundation has raised over $260 million for research.
Before the tournament, to be held on Sunday, July 13, there will be a memorial ceremony to honor Brown at Binion’s. During the ceremony, which is open to the general public, several speakers will talk about Brown, his life, and how he impacted those closest to him.
Matt Savage has stepped up to act as tournament director for the tournament to follow. The tournament has a $200 + $25 buy-in, with half of the buy-in going to the T.J. Martell Foundation. In addition, unlimited $50 rebuys will be available, with all proceeds going to charity.
PokerStars has offered to match all donations from the tournament, and will also provide additional prizes: the winner will receive a seat at the 2015 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, while the runner-up will get a seat at the 2014 Montreal Poker Festival.
“All of us here at PokerStars are honored to do this in Chad’s name,” said Sue Hammett, PokerStars’ director of corporate giving.
Brown’s former wife Vanessa Rousso will be one of the hosts of the event, and plans on seeing it repeated on a yearly basis.
“This annual event will be a celebration of Chad’s life,” Rousso said in a press release. “Chad touched so many so deeply and this is a way to keep his memory alive.”
Rousso also said that the tournament could prove to be a cathartic experience.
“Personally, it has been really tough for me,” Rousso said. “I have been there since the beginning helping Chad fight it. We thought it was gone a few times and it was obviously really disappointing every time it came back — especially the last time when it was inoperable.
“This is something that I can do that is very cathartic and gives me an opportunity to pay tribute to a person that had a profound and tremendous impact on my life,” she added.
Other prizes have been donated by sponsors, including Party Poker, the Heartland Poker Tour, the World Poker Tour and RunGoodGear, among others. Some proceeds will also be donated to When Charity Works, a Nevada non-profit that is helping to organize the tournament.