Chad Batista aka ‘lilholdem954’, the man who terrorized the online tournament world for a number of year’s back in the game’s heyday has sadly passed away.
The 35-year-old was once one of the most entertaining players in the virtual game before the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act forced him and many US players like him offline.
However, before that time, particularly between 2007 and 2008, Batista blazed a trail through the online poker world and took the concept of aggression to a new level.
Regularly taking on and beating the best the game had to offer with what some considered a reckless style, Batista racked up millions of dollars in winnings.
Although he was often able to make deep runs in marquee events such as the Sunday Million and the WCOOP, it was the $109 rebuy on PokerStars that really pushed him to the number #1 spot on PocketFives leaderboard.
Winning the event multiple times in an era when the field was literally flooded with talent, Batista soon became something of an icon for a generation of aspiring poker players.
In fact, aside from showing players that aggression can be highly effective, Batista was a supremely confident and often engaged in some verbal warfare in the chat box.
Unfortunately, however, his time in the spotlight came to an end soon after he hit his peak, and by the time 2010 rolled around and the likes of Chris Moorman and Paul Volpe started to rule the game, Batista fell into obscurity.
Since then he’s been out of the community’s gaze, but earlier this week it emerged he’d been sent to his local hospital. Although reports as to what actually happened are somewhat unclear, some have suggested the incident involved alcohol.
Whether or not this is true hasn’t been confirmed; however, it was subsequently confirmed that the 35-year-old had died. After the news filtered through the poker community a statement from his family was posted online.
“It is with the deepest sadness that we announce the sudden passing of our beloved son, nephew, cousin, brother and friend, Chad ‘lilholdem954’ Batista. Chad died suddenly this beautiful Thursday afternoon with his family surrounding him. We ask that our privacy be respected at this difficult time and we thank you for your prayers.”
Following the news many member of the poker community have offered the condolences via forums and social media:
Sorel Mizzi: “RIP to Chad Batista. Undoubtedly one of the true OG’s of online poker.”
William Reynolds: “RIP to the lil homie lilholdem. One of the first MTT accounts I ever railed.”
Adam Levy: “RIP LilHoldem. We came up together in south Florida. We were like the odd couple running the poker streets in 2005. Gonna miss him.”