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As many in the poker community continue to mourn the loss of online poker star Chad Batista, his family is welcoming all of his friends and others whose lives were touched by ‘lilholdem954’ to gather together in commemoration of his time on Earth.

A Celebration of Life in honor of Chad Batista will be held on Saturday, September 12 in Pompano Beach, Florida. Those wishing to attend should arrive at 8:00 p.m. at the south side of the Pompano Pier at 222 Pompano Beach Boulevard. The pier is just off of Atlantic Boulevard, and those unfamiliar with the area should look for Lifeguard Station No. 4.

A member of the Batista family informed me that “there are quite a few people flying in from out of town” for the celebration, a testament to the influence that ‘lilholdem954’ had on others during his 35 years.

Batista passed away August 20 from liver and kidney failure brought on by the abuse of alcohol. An aunt who took him in when he was a teenager after his mother died, Louise Batista, recently told Cardplayer that by going public with the cause of Chad’s death she hopes to possibly alert others to the dangers of excessive drinking.

Players Remember

Tributes from fellow players regarding Batista’s style of play poured in to online poker forums following his death, with many posters expressing utmost respect for his poker skills. A sample of a few such postings on 2 + 2:

“In the early 2000’s Chad was introduced to online poker and instantly he was hooked,” stated ‘GoOoDLiFe03.’ “He built his bankroll entering free tournaments that awarded cash, he never deposited a single dollar into his account. As his bankroll grew, as did his popularity. Thousands would watch him play online to see what he was going to do, or say, next.”

“I played with him a few times and he is genuinely a nice guy and a scary smart poker player,” posted ‘AEAB1105.’ “I’ve never logged on to rail someone in an online MTT before except for chad. Great person, great to the people around him and will keep his family in my prayers.”

“i used to love watching him battle sorrel and the other top regs in the sunday $100 rebuy on stars back in the day,” recalled ‘Heeynoow.’ “he won the super tuesday like 3 or 4 times too among other outright wins in other majors.. he had the perfect online poker instinct.”

Downfall after Black Friday

Louise Batista confirmed that her nephew was greatly affected by Black Friday, resenting being forced to leave the U.S. in order to play online poker at the level he was accustomed to. Chad spent less than a year in Mexico, not quite fitting in.

He also apparently lost a large sum of money at Full Tilt following the shutdown. Although U.S. players have almost all been reimbursed in the FTP remission process, Batista couldn’t prove the full amount of his account balance and had to accept the funds on record with the DoJ and claims administrator.

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Charles Rettmuller

Charles has been an avid poker player for a number of years, both live and online. He holds a degree in journalism and previously worked as a reporter for a Chicago-based newspaper. Charles joined the PokerUpdate team in early 2012 and writes daily news articles for the site.