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Cult Poker Personality Brandi Hawbaker found Dead

She was 26


Note: Contains updates.

Brandi Rose Hawbaker, cult poker figure and maligned beauty, has died. She was 26.

The Los Angeles County Coroner confirmed that her body was found Sunday, April 13, in a residence in the 8700 block of Pershing Drive in Playa Del Rey, Cali. An autopsy ruled her death as a suicide.

Thanks to an over-the-top personality, an exhibitionist’s mentality and a life filled with some of the strangest adventures with those who play poker for a living, she became one of the most talked about poker personalities in recent years.Brandi Hawbaker at the 2006 Festa al Lago

Online poker forums, fan sites and poker blogs instantly became infatuated with Ms. Hawbaker after she spent a majority the first several days of the 2006 World Poker Tour Festa al Lago Classic as chip leader (she finished 35th for $20,875). It was the largest of her three tournament cashes.

Her popularity was no doubt helped by her good looks and love for the camera. Ms. Hawbaker was not shy, and the male-dominated online poker world responded loudly to a personality that seemed to have walked right out of the pages of a Las Vegas noir paperback.

Every story and forum thread that concerned Ms. Hawbaker was read by thousands, and it was common that many hundreds would chime in with their own comments. The “Brandi Hawbaker” that emerged online was one of a grifter, and readers often were not kind. Several times, Ms. Hawbaker threw herself into the debates by posting and responding with her own stories. Online, she was often met with scorn and a fascination normally saved for the most compelling and damaged movie stars.

But her life was far from glamorous. According to Brandon Gerson, a friend and former boyfriend of Ms. Hawbaker’s, she suffered from a “very serious untreatable mental illness” and had visited doctors in several states seeking help within the last year-and-a half.

She is survived by her father, step mother and three younger brothers. She is also survived by four uncles, three aunts and 20 cousins who, Gerson said, "loved her very, very, very much." As per the family's request, they will remain anonymous. Gerson also wished to express how much she was loved by him.

The funeral will take place in Nashville in the next couple days and will be private. Ms. Hawbaker will be creamated and her ashes will be scattered in one of the oceans as requested.




over 10 years ago

who was she?


over 10 years ago

This poor soul. I have read all the post of this girl and i sAW how many people bashed her for things she said and what she did to survive. Brandi was not perfect. She did what she needed to survive, and build a bankroll for the game she loved. She wasnt luckly enough to be rich and be comfortable and play everyday. She had to grind it out everyday. To all the people that took advavtage of her and you know who you are I hope your dreams are forever haunted. REST IN PEACE ROSE......I WILL MISS YOU........ACE2GRIND


over 10 years ago

poor soul? please , she was a GRIFTER not a grinder, she hustled people for money she got sponsorship from creepy old men that want 20 yr old bodies they cant get anymore