Chad Batista

Chad Batista, 1980-2015

The poker world has responded with shock and sadness this weekend at the news of the unexpected and untimely passing of professional player Chad Batista. Batista, known as “lilholdem954” in online poker circles, died suddenly on Thursday after a brief and unexpected illness.


Chad Batista (Photo courtesy BLUFF Magazine).

News of the passing of Batista, 34, was confirmed by friends and family, who issued the following brief statement:

“It is with the deepest sadness that we announce the sudden passing of our beloved son, nephew, cousin, brother and friend, Chad (lil Holdem 954) 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.” — The Batista Family

The family also chose not to disclose the specific cause of Batista’s untimely demise. Widespread condolences have peppered poker’s social-media circles in the brief period since his passing, with Flushdraw also adding their condolences in that regard.

Batista was an online force for much of the last decade, likely winning several million dollars in tournaments and cash-game action on several different sites where he participated. In live tournament action, tourney tracking site The Hendon Mob credits the Coral Springs, FL native with $952,496 in career tournament earnings, including a single-event best cash of $262,002, for winning the WSOP-Circuit main event at the Caesars Indiana (near Louisville, KY) stop in 2006.

That ring-winning performance was only one of four different six-digit paydays for Batista, however. Batista final-tabled a WSOP $1,000 NLHE event in 2007 for another $129,064. In 2008, he placed third in a large Bellagio cup prelim for another $122,570. And in 2014, Batista scored his second-largest live payday with a $165,845 score in an inexpensive $130+30 “Mega Millions” event at the Bike in Los Angeles.

Like most younger US players, of course, Batista was predominantly an online player, and he was also impacted negatively by the “Black Friday” closure of several US-facing sites in 2011. Eventually, by 2013, Batista relocated to Mexico to play online full-time, as he had before 2011. In fact, Batista’s largest-ever tourney score came online in 2013 after his move to Mexico, when he placed third in the $2,100 PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) event for a hefty $264,408.

Sadly, an unknown fraudster used Batista’s untimely passing to attempt to set up a GoFundMe account to try to accumulate ill-gotten donations. A family spokesperson was quickly apprised of the situation, and Batista’s family quickly disavowed any connection to the unknown GoFundMe fraud attempt. A message posted by Batista family rep “Eylsa” about that episode read as follows:

Chad Batista’s family is requesting A little help from everybody to get the word out about this …….

There has been a go fund me page set up it does NOT I repeat NOT have anything to do with the family.

The family will be organizing a memorial so everyone that loved Chad can be there. We will keep you posted. If anybody wants to donate anything it is to be donated to Trevor’s fight


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