Chad Brown at the 2010 EPT London

Poker Pro Chad Brown, 1961-2014

The poker world was saddened early on July 2nd with news of the passing of prominent poker “Downtown” Chad Brown.  Brown, a former model and actor who easily transitioned into the world of high-stakes poker, was a popular figure on the poker scene, and was for years a sponsored member of Team PokerStars.

Chad Brown at the 2010 EPT London (Source: Wikipedia)

Chad Brown at the 2010 EPT London (Source: Wikipedia)

Brown, whose formal name was Martin Brown, was diagnosed in 2011 with liposarcoma, a rare form of cancer,  and had a large tumor removed from his abdomen at that time.  He was able to return to the poker scene following his surgery while receiving ongoing medical treatment, and cashed in tournaments as recently as last January, at the 2014 Borgata Winter Poker Open.  In recent weeks his health took a significant turn for the worse, and he was admitted to hospice just a few days prior to his passing.

Brown received a very special honor just prior to his death, when the World Series of Poker commemorated his career with a tribute bracelet similar to those awarded to bracelet winners.  Despite his multi-million dollar poker career, a WSOP bracelet had eluded him until the special tribute from the WSOP.  Brown’s friends and family members confirmed that Brown received the bracelet and was thankful for the tribute before passing, and even published a photo showing the bracelet on Brown’s wrist.

The 52-year-old Brown logged over $3.6 million in career earnings in addition to millions more won and lost in cash games.  His passing was falsely reported via social media on at least two separate occasions during the past week, once by legendary pro Doyle “Texas Dolly” Brunson, who misheard comments regarding Brown’s condition.

Vanessa Rousso, who was once married to Brown and remained on close terms with Brown throughout his medical ordeal, was one of the first to confirm Brown’s passing on Twitter.  “Unfortunately @Downtownchad has passed this evening. He touched so many during his lifetime and will live on within them. I love you Chad!” posted Rousso.

Other tributes quickly poured in from throughout the poker committee.  At the ongoing WSOP, play was halted for a moment of silence in Brown’s honor as soon as word reached tournament officials.

Brown’s close friend, poker manager Beau Eurell, released a press release immediately following Brown’s passing.  That statement:

Today, on July 2nd 2014 [], poker icon and one of the greatest ambassadors for the game, Chad Brown (born Martin Brown), passed away at Calvary hospice in the Bronx, New York City.

At the time of his passing, Chad was surrounded by family members and friends according to family spokesperson, Perris Calderon.

Before playing poker professionally, Chad had played minor league baseball and followed that with a highly regarded model and acting career.

Chad was also host of the Ultimate Poker Challenge, which aired in the mid-2000s in syndication and brought many of poker’s greatest players into the homes for many people.

Chad started his professional career in poker in 1993 and has cashed 38 times in the WSOP including two second-place finishes. Chad also had 10 cashes on the World Poker Tour among many other cashes in various tournaments, here in the US as well as abroad.

Chad won the 2006 Bluff Magazine Poker Player of the Year award, commenting at the time that “winning Player of the Year is like an actor winning an Oscar.”

Chad’s most recent cash was at the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open Championship during the month of January 2014.  Chad’s lifetime earnings were over $3,600,000 according to the poker database Hendon Mob.

“Downtown Chad Brown” was honored by the WSOP with its first ever honorary Gold Poker Bracelet shortly before his passing.  WSOP VP and Tournament Director Jack Effel said during the award ceremony, “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 the traditional poker score card,” Effel said.  “A person who 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 table.  A person like Chad Brown.

“It now seems a certainty that Chad will never again play in the World Series of Poker or any tournament setting,” Effel concluded. “Today, the World Series of Poker family would like to award Chad Brown an honorary bracelet.”

Chad touched everyone’s life and consciousness, as lifelong friend Rori Gordon stated. “Chad lived for the day, each and every day. He was prepared to win and prepared to lose and perhaps his last blog spoke volumes about the character of my friend Marty Brown. Chad, as you all knew him, said this:

“’The way that I’ve been handling this and continue to handle this is to view the situation like a poker hand. There are only so many correct plays that you can make, and you can make the best play and still lose. If that winds up being the case, I’ll be okay with it, because I’ll know I did everything I could do to give myself the best shot.’

“‘As far as how I personally handle the ups and downs of the illness — the “swings” you might say — that really is like poker, too. People in the poker world who know me; know how I accept it as part of the game when things aren’t going well and I’m running bad. If you’ve read my posts you’ve probably noticed me saying the same thing, how the most important thing is to play your best and not let being unlucky get you down.’

“‘We all have a choice when it comes to how we want to feel about what’s going on in our lives. If you want to feel like a victim, that’s your choice. I choose not to. I don’t feel like a victim. I feel very blessed with the life that I’ve had, regardless of what happens. I’ve never been depressed about this at all.’

“‘Anyone wondering if I’m going through a hard time, the answer is no. This is just part of life and I’m okay with everything. I accept it. And right now I’m just looking forward to the next hand.’”

Chad Brown is survived by his mother Elda, his father who likes to be called Sonny, his brother Matt, his sister Gina , his extended family and friends by proxy, all those who knew and loved Downtown Marty Brown.


Along with the rest of the poker world, FlushDraw extends its condolences to Brown’s loving family and friends.


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