Brandi Hawbaker - Remembering Poker's Bad Girl

Brandi Hawbaker has been quite successful in poker, but she was known more for her actions outside of the tables. According to some sources she had a troubled childhood, she ran away from home at the age of 13. According to Hawbaker, she travelled around the world for six years with a backpack, undertaking questionable jobs along the way to maintain herself. She returned to the United States in 2005 after spening a year in Guyana working as a project coordinator for a company. That's when she got involved in poker.

Brandi Hawbaker

She finished 35th at the World Poker Tour Festa Al Lago Main Event, for which she won $20,000, that is when the infamous photo was taken of her covering her nipple with the logo of an online poker room. The photo put Hawbaker on the poker map. This meant the beginning of the end for the troubled young lady, who took part in the tournament on 20 October, 2006; just 18 months later she passed away.

The Festa Al Lago success was followed by drama. Her life was revolving around sex, drugs, money, hurt people and despair. Her tragedy was elevated by the constant internet bullying; the poker community was constantly discussing her life events. She often raised her voice in these discussion, which didn't help her case much, the majority hated her.

A short summary of the events in Brandi Hawbaker's life:

Not long after Brandi's WPT score she entered a mentoring relationship with former WSOP champion Captain Tom Franklin. She posted the numerous alleged events when Franklin tried to force himself upon herself in exchange for helping her. 

It was Mark Newhouse, whe rescued her from the situation, this is when the two became involved with each other. The girl went on to wipe $30,000 from one of Newhouse's online poker accounts. The details are not clear as both parties said different things about the situation. They both agreed that there was a time when Hawbaker locked herself in the bathroom and cut herself with a smashed wine bottle.

Brandi Hawbaker

There were some affairs with Newshouse and Dustin "Neverwin" Woolf as well, which were discussed on online poker forums viciously. She entered a "mentoring" relationship with David Sklansky, whom she approached asking for help. This event propelled to new heights of notoriety.

Sklansky knew Hawbaker's name, as she was an active forum user on his website. He offered his help in poker in exchange for a photoshoot of them together and several favours from Hawbaker, which ignited a "tit for tat" relationship between the two.

This blew up the forums, the rumour mill never stopped.

Brandi ran very good at the 2007 WSOP $2,000 NLHE tournament, she finished 55th. Sklansky was there with her infamous student all along, however there were also rumours about Brandi's secret affairs with Jamie Gold and Gus Hansen.

At the time, Brandi was dating Brandon Gerson, a lesser known poker pro, who posted that eventually Brandi took all of his belongings from his place, sold them and set off. Brandon explained how he tried to help the girl, but in the end he got tired of it, of her and let it go.

Soon a scandalous video hit the forums (which was originally uploaded by Brandon) in which Brandi is performing oral sex. In the end the two managed to work things out. In one of her last posts before being banned from Sklansky's forum she wrote “Him and I had decided to be friends again. Yes, we've BOTH done some pretty messed up **** to each other, but at the end of the day we both apologized and made up. As for the groceries and storage bill, that was his way of making things right after he "lied and exaggerated" in his posts about me and had "done it as a way to hurt" me.”

Hawbaker's death:

What lead the young girl to end her life? Of course she had lots of issues, emotionally and psychological alike, and the constant hatred going on in the online poker community wasn't helping either.

Brandi Hawbaker

Brandi was a young attractive girl in the man's world of poker. She was fully aware of her position, as she clarified in one of her posts in response to Sklansky:

“I don't mind being a woman in poker, even though we all know it's a boy's club. Your site, especially the NVG forum, only proves this more so to be true. NVG is the equivalent of little boys writing on the bathroom wall and "talking shop". I can handle the double standard. Trust me, I've become used to it. But that doesn't mean it does not disgust me.”

Most men tried to take advantage of her, but it was her, who put herself in a position to be taken advantage of from time to time. She used her charm to persuade men to do things for her, and many men obliged.