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Remembering Chad ‘lilholdem954’ Batista – His Best Ever Fold

Chad Batista died at the age of 35 a few days ago. Once the top online tournament player in the world, we remember him through one of the greatest folds ever made in poker.


Chad ‘lilholdem954’ Batista died at the age of 35 on August 20. At the peak of the online poker boom, Chad was the number one tournament player in the world.

PocketFives’ online tournament rankings had him in the top spot from August 22, 2007 to July 2, 2008.

There’s no better way for the poker world to remember him, than to look back at just one example of his extraordinary prowess on the felt.

An Incredible Fold

During the 2006 WSOP Circuit event at Caesars Indiana Casino, Chad made one of the best folds in poker history – not for the trivial reason of having a read on his opponent, but for strategic reasons which only the greatest of players could calculate.

Chad was in the big blind, with a top three chip stack, and one player to go before the payouts began. In this bubble situation, Chad was at his best. For the preceding dozen hands, he had been using his big chip stack to bully the table, opening with any two cards, raising early openers, and pushing them off their hands post-flop.

The table short-stack was in the small blind, and shoved all in with less than 7 big blinds. Chad looked at his cards to find {Qh}{Qs}. Only one player in a thousand could find a fold in this spot.

Chad realised that if he called, the likelihood would be that he would burst the bubble and bust the short-stacked player out of the tournament.

He weighed up the advantages of adding a few more chips to his stack vs keeping the bubble alive for as long as possible so he could exploit the other players’ fear of busting out before the money. Then he folded!

From that hand on, he continued his aggressive play and added almost 30 big blinds to build a monster stack before the bubble finally burst.

He went on to win the tournament, the WSOP Circuit ring, and prize money of $262,002. An awesome display of the advantage a skilled player can have over players with less commitment to playing a perfect game.

On the Online Felt

I’ll add my own favourite memory of Chad. Late one evening, on the bubble of a $109 freezout tournament on PokerStars, Chad was sat two seats to my right, and he started to shove all in with every single hand, literally any two cards were enough for him.

He was called twice, both times by big pairs, and his garbage hands both managed to win, giving him one of the biggest stacks in the event. We had played at the same online table many times and I posted something like, “OK, abuse the bubble, but aren’t you kicking the arse out of it?

His response; “I’m falling asleep, I’ve played about 30 tournaments today and this is my last one. I want to win it or go to bed.”

Second was not good enough for Chad, he played every event to win – something every player says, but when push comes to shove, few players have the courage to play the necessary strategy. Chad was one of the few. He will be greatly missed.

Thanks to Italian site Assopoker for reminding us of this great hand.

By Joss Wood Rakeback.com Content Manager

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