Keeping poker in the family or "Dad, what are you doing here?"

You're in a major poker tournament when you look down at your cards, find a winning hand, only to look up again and find that the player you're up against is your father.

This is the scenario faced by faced by Rodrigo Quezada in the LAPT Main Event in Chile this week, and which concluded last night (you can read Martin Harris's report here). It was an unusual moment, and given that Quezada Junior went on to finish seventh, you can guess how the hand turned out.

According to Harris, there were emotional scenes as Claudio Quezada made his way to the rail, with son Rodrigo wiping away a few tears, fearing perhaps the silent treatment and no supper before bedtime.

rodrigo_quezada_11mar15.jpgRodrigo Quezada

Okay, that's not exactly true, but the father-son dynamic is one rarely seen in competitive play, at least outside the boundaries of fiction.
When things are made up anything can happen, like in the poker movie Lucky You starring Eric Bana, Drew Barrymore and Robert Duvall.

Duvall plays L.C. Cheever, an old time poker player estranged from his son Huck Cheever, played by Bana, who in turn is a struggling but promising young player, just one big win away from striking out on his own.

It's set in Las Vegas, and features cameos from the likes of Daniel Negreanu, Barry Greenstein, Doyle Brunson, Phil Hellmuth, and Sammy Farha, who in a fun moment that echoes his 2003 defeat to Chris Moneymaker, is knocked out of the Main Event by an unknown internet qualifier.

wsop_main_event_11mar15.jpgWe wanted to use a picture from the film here but played it safe with a picture of Las Vegas

In the climactic scene, taking place at the final table of the Main Event, Huck, knowing that his father wants nothing more than to win the Main Event (him and a few others), folds pocket aces, allowing Pops to eliminate him and go on to, well, lose against the Moneymaker guy, but at least being re-united with his son in the process.

It's a little schmaltzy, but was an effective ending to the film. But then it seemed to go against the nature of poker, in which, correct me if I'm wrong, you're supposed to check-raise your own grandmother. But that's fiction for you. None of this would happen in real life, right?

Funnily enough this father-son thing has been tried, once, back in 2006, for a special event shown on Father's Day that year. It featured six notable father-son combinations with the line-up looking like this:

1. Barry and Jeff Shulman
2. Dick and Vince Van Patten
3. Doyle and Todd Brunson
4. Barry Greenstein and Joe Sebok
5. Steve and John Stolzmann
6. Mike and Romeo Simon

The format was tag team with a twist. Dad and Junior could tag in and out at any moment, even in the middle of a hand if they wanted to. But when only one team remained father and son would be pitted against each other in a kind of twisted, fratricidal grudge match designed to torture Mom, and ruin Thanksgiving for a generation. In this case it was Greenstein versus Sebok, with Greenstein proving that age and experience often count. We understand they still talk.

barry_greenstein_11mar15.jpgStealing from the kids to pay Dad: Barry Greenstein

But all that was good natured rivalry. How about in real life, when a capricious seat draw pits student and teacher against each other?

In some cases it has already happened. While it's tricky to determine how things worked out, Doyle and Todd Brunson have shared a table at the WSOP, actually sitting next to each other on a couple of occasions (you can google pictures). It's not clear whether Greenstein and Sebok have done likewise, but in recent years they have played the same events. And if not now it's probably only a matter of time.

doyle_brunson_11mar15.jpgDoyle Brunson

Then on this side of the Atlantic the European Poker Tour has at least two father son combinations. Yury Gulyy and his son Andrey are EPT regulars.


Andrey_Gulyy_11mar15.jpg... son Andrey Gulyy, if not at the same table at least close by

Then there's Team Pro Luca Pagano and his father Claudio. They restrict themselves mainly to the Italian poker scene these days but both have played a handful of EPTs together, both going deep.

luca_pagano_11mar15.jpgLuca Pagano will stare down anybody. Even his Dad

Whether they've played against each other I'm not sure any of them welled up as Quezada did in Chile this week, although father and son may not have been directly responsible for sending the other to the rail. Either way, Quezada's reaction was touching more than anything, sending his father out in 22nd place and continuing on towards the final table alone. We can only imagine that Quezada balled his eyes out when he himself busted in seventh.

Ever played against your father in a poker tournament? Or your son, Mother or daughter for that matter. Tweet us at @PokerStarsBlog to tell us how it turned out.

Stephen Bartley is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.
Stephen Bartley
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