Chad Brown cashed over $3.6 million in live earnings and reached nine World Series of Poker final tables, but he was more widely known in the poker community for his good spirited nature and personality, even while he battled liposarcoma, a rare cancer that eventually took his life at the age of 52 on July 2, 2014.
An actor turned poker presenter and professional, the so-called “Nicest Guy in the Game” served as host of the Ultimate Poker Challenge for the show’s first three seasons, and those who knew him are once again coming together to raise money in his honor.
The funds that will be raised will be for the TJ Martell Foundation, an organization that focuses on leukemia, cancer, and AIDS research.
The poker tournament will kick off on July 2nd, the one-year anniversary of his passing, at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas with Maria Ho serving as the event’s host. A 6:00 PM cocktail reception will precede the 7:00 PM cards in the air kickoff.
“This annual event will always be a celebration of Chad’s life,” Ho said. “Chad touched so many so deeply and this is a way to keep his memory alive.”
$200 of the $240 buy-in will be split 50/50 between the prize pool and TJ Martell Foundation, though all rebuys and ad-ons will be 100 percent donations directed to the charity.
Additional prizes including a seat at the 2015 WSOP Main Event and free entries into World Poker Tour and Heartland Poker Tour events will be awarded.
Last year’s inaugural tournament raised more than $71,000 for the fight and was attended by many of the game’s most notable stars and friends of Brown’s including Phil Hellmuth, Victor Ramdin, and Robert Mizrachi.
“We are very proud of the association with the Chad Brown Memorial Poker Tournament and Planet Hollywood,” Laura Heatherly, TJ Martell Foundation CEO said. “Presently, besides our other cancer research programs, we are supporting cutting-edge sarcoma research at flagship hospitals in the United States.”
While 52 is certainly way too young, TJ Martell wasn’t nearly as fortunate.
The foundation for which the poker tournament will raise money is the result of a father’s promise, Tony Martell.
Two years before his death in 1975, TJ asked his father to raise $1 million for cancer research so “no one else will have to experience what I am going through.” TJ battled leukemia for six years, but he eventually succumbed to the disease at the young age of 19.
Tony lived up to his promise of raising $1 million 270-fold.
To date, the TJ Martell Foundation has raised over $270 million, using those funds to aid in cancer research at leading hospitals around the country including MD Anderson Cancer Center, the Mayo Clinic, and the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, among others.
“We look forward to the day when we can conquer this devastating disease,” Heatherly said. And a world without cancer is certainly something every human being desires, so good on poker for helping get these critical foundations and research programs one step closer to their ultimate goal.