Cy Church

The poker world received sad news over the weekend as Cy Church, a respected up-and-coming mid-stakes grinder from Michigan, passed away unexpectedly.

“It is with great sorrow that we share this heartbreaking news. Our world was shattered Friday when our precious son Cy left to begin his journey,” his family shared on social media. “He had so many who loved him as we have; he was a kind, gentle soul. We have shared this news with those we know were especially close to him, but there are so many that we could not contact everyone individually.

It continued: “We have been so blessed to have him in our life here on earth. While we cannot fathom creating future memories without him, we take comfort in knowing his ancestors have greeted him with open arms in his new life. We welcome your prayers for our family in this time of grief. We are taking the time we need to grieve this unthinkable truth, and if we cannot respond to everyone, please know that your prayers and well wishes mean so much to us and are carrying us through this heavy time.”

A Fixture on the MSPT

Cy Church
Cy Church

According to the Hendon Mob, Church amassed $342,414 in career tournament earnings dating back to 2016. The majority of that — $263,498 to be exact – came on the Mid-States Poker Tour (MSPT) where Church was a familiar face at the felt.

Over the course of his short poker career, he had 17 MSPT Main Event cashes including three final table appearances. Back in October 2016, he finished runner-up to Brett Blackwood in the MSPT Michigan State Poker Championship for a career-high $$114,701, and more recently he had two more final table appearances back in 2021.

In January of that year, he finished fourth in the MSPT Grand Falls for $33,972, and then in May followed it up with a third-place finish in the MSPT South Dakota State Poker Championship in Deadwood for $53,340.

“As a child, my grandpa taught me to play five-card draw and this was my first experience with poker,” Church previously said in an interview for MSPT Magazine. “I wasn’t reintroduced to the game until I went to jail. We had a little bit of free time and would play for commissary items such as ramen noodles and honey buns. It was a fun way to kill time. Little did I know; the game would become a big part of my life.

Church also had cashes at the World Series of Poker, WSOP Circuit, Chicago Poker Classic, Wynn, Venetian, Heartland Poker Tour, and more.

Cy Church
Cy Church being profiled in MSPT Magazine.

Poker World Reacts

The sudden passing of Church was shocking to many poker players, especially those in the Midwest who had the opportunity to get to know him on the felt.

“You will be so missed! Thank you for all the great memories, on and off the table. May your beautiful soul rest easy,” wrote Halie Flack, the daughter of the late Poker Hall of Famer Layne Flack.

Two-time MSPT champ Jason Zarlenga said, “Horrible news…Cy and I spoke at almost every poker spot. Always upbeat and happy…prayers and condolences to the family. Gone way too soon.”

The MSPT also shared the following statement with PokerNews:

“When it came to tough competitors on the MSPT, Cy Church was right up there with the best of them. He was very nearly the MSPT Michigan State Poker Champion back in 2016, but some bad luck had him coming up one spot sort. Even so, he played like a champion that day, and it wasn’t the last time he competed for a title. We will miss seeing Cy and his unmistakable smile on the tour. The MSPT offers its condolence to Church’s family and friends at this difficult time.”

Cy Church
Cy Church
Name Surname
Chad Holloway

Executive Editor U.S.

Executive Editor US, PokerNews Podcast co-host & 2013 WSOP Bracelet Winner.

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Michigan’s Cy Church, a Fixture on the MSPT, Passes Away Unexpectedly