Northern California poker community mourns the loss of David “Beast” Valdez

Geoff Fisk
Published by:
Posted on 04/13/2021

Sacramento-area regular passed away Saturday at the age of 29

One of the most familiar faces on the Northern California live poker scene passed away over the weekend, leaving the local poker community stunned.

The death of David “Beast” Valdez has prompted a flood of mourning from his peers on social media. A fixture in Northern California live poker circles, Valdez leaves behind a reputation as a beloved figure.

Hold’em Media founder Dan Ross broke the news of Valdez’ death on Twitter Sunday:

“Word going through NorCal poker community this afternoon that @dval17 passed away last night. Stunned to learn Beast is no longer with us. I spent many a final table wrap-up taking a winner’s photo of my friend,” Ross tweeted.

Ross was on hand for many of Valdez’s tournament wins. Valdez posted $374,010 in live tournament earnings over his career, according to recorded results in the Hendon Mob database.

That resume included ten tournament wins, all at Sacramento-area poker rooms. Valdez was a three-time WSOP Circuit Ring winner, winning two of those rings at the WSOP Circuit Thunder Valley stop in January 2020.

His other Circuit Ring win came at the January 2019 edition of the WSOP Circuit Thunder Valley series. Valdez won the $400 Monster Stack event for a $46,411 payday, the biggest score of his career.

Poker community reacts to the loss of David “Beast” Valdez

Valdez made an indelible impact on his fellow poker players, as evident by the outpouring of social media posts reacting to his passing.

Michael Loncar’s Monday Twitter post summed up the feelings of many in the poker community about Valdez:

“So so so sad. Friend of mine, amazing poker player and an AMAZING human being passed away,” Loncar tweeted. “I’m still at a loss for words. REST IN POWER @dval17, you will be missed my brother.”

Loncar’s tweet includes a link to a GoFundMe drive to raise funds for Valdez’s funeral expenses.

Jeff Boski posted a video from his YouTube page that includes what Boski calls a “world class laydown from David Valdez:

The hand takes place in a $1/$3 No-Limit Hold’em cash game at Stones Gambling Hall, another Sacramento-area poker room. Here’s the full video of the hand:

Veronica Brill, another regular presence in the Northern California poker scene, shared her thoughts on Valdez in a Sunday Twitter post:

“David was always so sweet and positive, and I played poker with him lots in Sacramento. I’m so sad to hear of his passing,” Brill tweeted.

Many others from Valdez’s local live poker circles and beyond shared similar sentiments. Sam Cosby, Andrew Neeme, Bob Mather, and several others players posted thoughts on Valdez’s legacy since the news of his passing broke Sunday.

Ross shared his thoughts on Valdez with Poker.org via Twitter DM Tuesday:

“Everyone I know, all who reached out to me since Sunday, all said David was a great poker player who was such an incredible joy to be around because of what a genuinely good person he was. He cared about those around him, his manner made you want to be friends with him,” Ross wrote.

Ross told Poker.org that a local private game will be held in Valdez’s honor in the Sacramento area, with proceeds going to Valdez’s family.

You can donate to the GoFundMe drive to raise funds for Valdez’s funeral expenses using this link.

Featured image source: Twitter/Dan Ross