Chad Brown at the 2010 EPT London

Binion’s to Host Chad Brown Charity Poker Tournament

This coming Sunday, July 13th, Binion’s Gambling Hall & Hotel in downtown Las Vegas will serve as host to the Chad Brown Memorial Ceremony and Inaugural Charity Poker Tournament, honoring the recently departed popular poker pro “Downtown” Chad Brown.

Organized by poker pro and ex-wife Vanessa Rousso, Brown’s former manager Beau Eurell, Las Vegas-based PR rep Jennifer Winter, and Ladies International Poker Series (LIPS) founder Lupe Soto, the event will be a No-Limit Hold’em Re-Buy and Add-on tournament with a $200 + $25 buy-in. Re-buys will be unlimited for the first six levels and will cost $50.  One $50 optional dealer add-on will be available. Half the buy-in and all the re-buys will go to charity, with the other half of the buy-in going to the prize pool. Binion's Las Vegas

The tournament will benefit When Charity Works and the TJ Martell Charity Foundation. When Charity Works is a Las Vegas-based non-profit organization that says its purpose is to “…provide essential collaborative program development and support services, uniting charitable organizations with their communities, and lessening the burden of government.” The aforementioned Lupe Soto is the organization’s CEO.

The TJ Martell Charity Foundation is a non-profit with roots in the music industry that raises money for cancer, leukemia, and AIDS research. It was founded by Tony Martell in 1975 as a promise to his son, TJ, who passed away from leukemia, to raise a million dollars for cancer research. The Foundation has since raised over $260 million.

In a press release, Laura Heatherly, CEO of the TJ Martell Foundation, said, “We are proud of this new association with the Chad Brown Memorial Charity Poker Tournament. Presently, besides our other cancer research programs, we are now expanded into sarcoma research. We look forward to the day when we can conquer this devastating disease.”

Chad Brown was diagnosed with liposarcoma in 2011, a rare form of cancer which grows in the fat cells of soft tissue.

Vanessa Rousso, who still maintained a strong friendship with Brown after their divorce, stated, “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.” Rousso added, “Also, I am proud to announce that for this year, PokerStars, Chad’s poker sponsor has generously offered to partner with us.”

Brown became a member of Team PokerStars Pro in April 2008 and was one of the site’s most popular players.

“PokerStars was proud to have Chad Brown on our team. We are devastated and mourn the passing of our dear friend Chad Brown,” said Sue Hammett, director of corporate giving for PokerStars, in the press release. “For this year’s inaugural Chad Brown Poker Tournament, PokerStars is pleased to announce and donate the following to this worthy charitable event. The first place winner of Chad’s tournament will receive a Main Event Seat at the next PokerStars Caribbean Adventure event. The second place winner will receive a main event seat including hotel for 5 nights at the Montreal Poker Festival which will take place August 22nd thru September 4th of this year.”

She added that PokerStars will also be matching all money raised during the tournament.

Chad Brown passed away on July 2nd following his three-year battle with cancer. He was the rare poker player who was universally loved by everyone who had the good fortune to be around him (or even those of us who only knew him through television, his blog posts, and other people’s stories). To the casual poker fan, he was probably most identifiable as the host of Ultimate Poker Challenge television show that began just as the poker boom started a decade ago, but he was also a fantastic player in his own right, earning over $3.6 million live tournaments. He never won a major event, but had several top five finishes in World Series of Poker events and finished as the runner-up in the 2007 NBC National Heads-Up Championship.

Just before Chad Brown died, the World Series of Poker awarded him an honorary bracelet and shipped it from Las Vegas to New York to he could wear it in his final days. In a short ceremony at the WSOP, Tournament Director Jack Effel had some thoughtful words to say about Brown:

…winning a WSOP bracelet is one of the ways a poker player can create their legacy, to make sure they will be remembered by their peers. But it is not the only way. Sometimes, there are special people that come around and transcend that traditional scorecard. A person that stands for something, like integrity, honor, and friendship. A person who is positive, warm, and respectful. A person who always made the game better just by being around the tables. A person like Chad Brown.

The tournament will begin at 6:00pm and will be preceded at 4:00pm by a ceremony to honor the memory of Chad Brown.

More information about the charity event can be found at


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