I have always envied my mates at school and at home, I didn't have the opportunity to have fun and play in the yard like others kids do, rather I was made to leave the life of another. the only places I am allowed to visit was school during the week and church on Sunday. They were many things I was restricted from, such as the internet, playing video games, going out, and to make matters worse I don't have any friends it was more like living in a world of my own.
The only thing closes to me was my poker cards. I know it sounds weird but that was the situation I found myself. As a kid, I didn't have much of a choice than do the bidding of my father. He restrains me from every activity aside playing with my cards including house chores.
My name is PHIL IVEY I am the only child of my parent, my dad and mom lived more like neighbours rather than couples and I always wonder how this two got married in the first place. My dads uptight attitude made him fearsome in my eyes and that of mom, as no one dare to challenge his orders. My dad is not a wicked man he is just an ambitious man who wanted to achieve is dreams through his child, he was focused on making me a champ and nothing else bothers him.
My mom has once told me about my dad during his early age and how they meant each other.
My dad is from Egypt and he was an excellent player during his youthful age, he was the all-round poker champion in Egypt, he has won every single tournament hosted in his country, winning the national poker champion 10 times in a roll that made in very popular in Egypt but that wasnt what he wanted, he wanted to become international champion and not just a local champion.
his childhood dream was to win the WSOP. But he had struggled with financial challenges to come to Las Vegas for the tournament, several attempt to travel to united states have stalled and he kept on losing out on opportunities upon opportunities to be at the world series of poker. Not until 10 years back before I was born that he finally got his papers to travel to the states.
Mom said he meant my dad at the park playing poker under a tree, she was astonished to see a handsome looking man all alone in a park with his poker card, mom confessed she made the first moved on dad and that he didnt want to listen to her at first but he eventually gave in and that was how their love life began that led to marriage two years after.
My dads up tight attitude started when he was unable to pay the $10,000 WSOP entry fee, he has sought help from almost everywhere but still couldnt gather enough to enter the tournament this continued to dent his effort till 5 years past and same story.
Dad gave up his dream the year I was born, as the obligation of taking care of his child was superior to a tournament.
My life history
Though my birth stopped dad from chasing his dream, but he still nurtured it in his heart and that was when he transferred this dream of his to me. I guess now you can understand his attitude, he was not mean but a man driven by ambition and would not trade that for anything.
I began learning how to play poker as at 8 years, it didn't take me too long to understand the basics, dad was 99% my coach and 1% my father. I barely have time even with my mom. I was streamlined to just doing three things, go to school, play poker and play poker. At 15 dad was already taking me to poker clubs to compete for two reasons, one was to build my skill and the other was to help gather funds for my WSOP entry. I disappoint in that aspect as I always win and helped dad gather the money for the contest.
When I play at the club, many thought I was a robot because I never smiled while playing and I still get to win, I knew the game like the back of my palms and it never felt like a challenge when I play.
dad on the other hand didn't put a happy face either as winning in clubs was not his dream but just and avenue to gather enough money to register me for the greater showdown at Vegas.
One Monday morning dad called me out from my room, I was 25 by then. I walked towards his direction and he asked me to sit on the chair in front of him. I was surprise at dads kind gesture towards me, it was really on like him, usually when he calls me I stand before him while he reads out the days poker schedule like a guy who came for job interview and listening to what his employers has to say.
Dad; my son the time has come to for you to win the greatest prize
Me; okay sir I replied still in my perplexed mode
Dad; the WSOP tournament is on Friday and I have secured your entry
Me; still staring and not saying a word
Dad; my son remember is either victory or nothing, we have come a long way, we have sacrificed a lot to get this opportunity so make it count.
Me; I promise to make you and mom Proud, I replied
I went back to my room and reminiscing of all dad said, and I know I must not mess things up.
I knew this will actually be my ticket to freedom. I had 4 days to practice more, dad was always with me, giving me every hint I needed.
Finally, the day dad has been waiting for all his life has come, I woke up very early, took my bathe and within 1 hour I was already set for the games. It was already 8 oclock when I noticed dad coming out from his room and mom followed behind him,
Me; good morning dad, good morning mom (Dad almost gave a smile seeing me all suited up, that was something I have never seen him do)
Dad; morning phil, I see you are set, he replied still putting on his usual hard face
Me; yes, I am
Dad; the tournament starts by 10am so we hit the road in an hour time, he continued
I my Mom and dad got to the game venue, a cute looking usher welcomed us and showed us to the reception where I dad showed them my ticket and I as giving a plastic coin with 20 written on it. That was actually my tournament number, the usher pointed to dad her mom their seats before escorting me to mine
It was time for the game, in total we were twenty-five players, then we were arranged in a group of 5 each. Only the person with the highest points qualify for the final round.
The game began and for some reason I wasnt nervous even though it was my first time in a world tournament. I eventually won the first round quite easy though.
The final round began, I was still cruising with my usual steps, the table was full of experience minds I could feel it with their well calculated calls. I was reluctant to make a call, I was quietly holding on, then I played a mind game on them with my cards, I made my five cards looked like it was 3 and one of the player with five cards took the bait he made a call for showdown with the mindset I wont be able to make enough ranks. Every other player rolled out their cards and so did I, to their greatest surprise I was having five Aces. My cards rank high.
Yesss, I heard my dad scream from where he was seating. I won the WOSP. it was a very exciting moment for me I was full of joy, my dad walked up to me and said well-done my boy you did it, he hugged me and smiled at me, my heart went into jubilation seeing my father finally smiling for the first time since I was born. This victory really meant a lot to him.
I received winning prize of $75000 and a golden bracelet. And from then onwards my dad never had issues with me going out or mingling with others it was freedom at last for me.
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