Poker Pro Chad Brown Dead at 52

July 2nd, 2014 | by Kaycee James
Chad Brown, World Series of Poker, death

Chad Brown continued to enjoy poker until the very end of his life; here, less than a year ago, cancer had already taken its toll on the formerly rugged poker pro. (Image:

It’s been a tough stretch for the poker world this past week: just days after the shocking news of Johannes Strassmann’s death in Slovenia, we’re saddened to report the passing of Chad Brown early in the morning  of July 2. The 52-year-old American poker pro was a well-respected figure in the game, and a presence both on and off of the felt.

Throughout his poker career, Brown raked up $3.6 million in live earnings, as well as a number of tournament victories, including his first outright win at the 2002 Bellagio Five Diamond Poker Classic. However, his career was cut short back in 2011 after he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer known as liposarcoma. A series of medical examinations followed, and after discovering a 10 lb. tumor in his abdomen, he was forced to take a break from poker in an effort to fight the disease.

A Very Bad Beat

Multiple bouts of intensive treatment followed the operation, and with his friends and family by his side, including fellow poker pro and ex-wife Vanessa Rousso, Brown was able to remain upbeat. Indeed, in the time between his initial diagnosis and his ultimate passing, he would often say the cancer was simply a “downswing”.

Despite “running bad,” as he would often say, Brown looked at his situation like a true poker player and surmised that as long as he made +EV moves, then he couldn’t be sad about his condition. This spirit is what endeared him to many in the poker community, and although he never managed to achieve WSOP success (although he came agonizingly close on three occasions), the festival’s organizers decided to honor him this summer.

Special Bracelet Dedication

During an emotional speech this past weekend, World Series of Poker Tournament Director Jack Effel recounted some of Brown’s poker highlights before announcing that he would no longer be playing at the WSOP or any live poker tournaments; Brown had been in hospice care in New York for some time before his passing last night.

Effel went on to say that with “a third and two second place finishes on the résumé, it was only going to be a matter of time” before Brown won a WSOP title, so as a sign of respect, they wanted to give him a special title.

Chad Brown, death, WSOP bracelet, World Series of Poker 2014

Brown wore his honorary WSOP bracelet to the end. (Image: Melissa Brown/Twitter)

After receiving his special bracelet, Brown posed for pictures with his niece and reportedly wore it until his passing yesterday.

In the end, the poker pro’s cancer became too aggressive to fight off, and he lost his battle. The news was filtered through to the community via Vanessa Rousso, who expressed her joy at his life and the sorrow she felt through his passing:

“Unfortunately @Downtownchad has passed this evening. He touched so many during his lifetime and will live on within them. I love you Chad!”

Following Rousso’s Tweet, an official statement was made by PokerStars (his long-time sponsors), and a chorus of condolences rang out across the community from the likes of Doyle Brunson, Barry Greenstein and Tony G.

We at salute one of poker’s finest, and offer our condolences along with the rest of the worldwide poker community on Chad Brown’s far-too-early passing.


One Comment

  1. UHENIO says:

    he was a genuine gentleman,a truly nice person . He will be missed

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