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PCA 2014: Meet the Greenwoods

Two people on the rail have a particular interest in how this day transpires. Ellen and Howard Greenwood are here from Toronto, enjoying some time in their Bahamian timeshare away from the one degree chill back home. Their three sons are also here, although the time they'll spend with them will be limited given that all three of them are still in the Main Event.

It might not be the first time that three brothers have made the third day of an event like this, but we're calling it rare. Samuel, Lucas and Max play on with enough chips to make a money finish a distinct possibility, particularly Samuel, who began the day second in chips with more than 400,000. For parents Howard and Ellen though, they know there are no guarantees.

"As I told a couple of people, we're poker parents," said Ellen. "We know things can change a lot very, very quickly."

For all their experience both look more nervous that their sons, who unpacked their chips beforehand with the confidence of unbeatable youth. At least their concern is about their performance today rather than any career choice.

"Earlier on we worried, yes," Howard said. "But they've chosen a field that they're really good at. They come to our house for dinner and around the table they talk a language we just don't understand. When I ask questions about it, it's like, 'you don't get it!' That's fine. But obviously they have a certain amount of talent."

Max Greenwood_pca2014_me3.jpg
Max Greenwood

Howard and Ellen spend a lot of time each year following the progress of their sons. Often it means trips to the Caribbean or the World Series in Las Vegas, but more likely means using technology to keep tabs.

"Up until about three years ago I thought the internet was a flash in the pan, it was going to disappear," Howard said. "Now they've bought me a little..." he paused here to hold up an iPad. "So I can follow it. I guess it's here to stay. I'd better join!"

"I still don't understand this game," Ellen said. "When Max was doing very well we were watching it online. I was yelling 'what's happening?! What's happening?!"

Howard confirmed the story: "Our neighbours were phoning to see if a crime was going on in our house, they said 'We can hear you across the street!'"

Sam Greenwood

From both you get a sense that they enjoy watching the poker as much as their sons have success playing it, used now to the idea that this is what they work hard at to succeed.

"They consider it business," said Ellen. "The reality is there are a lot of people today who don't know what to do, can't get jobs. They're all doing solidly and they're not getting into any trouble, so what can we say? If you ask me were they rather a doctor?!"

Both laughed, disguising a natural parental concern. Howard explained: "To think in the delivery room and out pops one, I say 'Jeez, a poker player, isn't this great!' That never once crossed my mind!"

But the game has changed, as both recognised when they looked for smoke filled back rooms and concealed shotguns and found none. Instead they discovered a world of university graduates and intelligent young men and women beating the game and making money. That'll help when you're trying to persuade mum and dad that it's just like any other job.

"They have picked up a core of friends that are really solid nice bright people and this is their choice right now," Howard said. "If it's a long term decision, I can't say I would be reluctant if they decided to do something else, I think we'd be quite pleased. But they're cautious, they known what they're doing and they're all doing quite well."

That applies to today also. Sam Greenwood returned today second in chips, while his brothers Lucas and Max had 198,100 and 123,900 respectively.

"They're all different," Ellen said. "Sam is the most business like. His twin bother Lucas is much more philosophical."

Lucas Greenwood_pca2014_me3.jpg
Lucas Greenwood

"He should have been born in the seventies or 60s," said Howard. "He's like a Himalayan-retreat kind of guy. Maybe that helps him here, and keeps him relaxed!

Their brother Max is the eldest, who rather than feel jealousy when his mother brought twins back from the hospital felt like he'd won the lottery, outdoing his friends for playmates. Now he's the chief cause of nerves, as his parents try to watch discretely from the rail, wondering whether or not to leave them to it.

"I suspect when I'm around, maybe because I'm nervous, I'm not good for him," Ellen said. "In fact Max was doing much better until I went up to him and gave him a kiss last night. Then he wasn't doing quite as well!"

Howard though is a little more pragmatic. "I think I'll probably stay away a bit more," he said. "We supported them going to hockey games, and really this is a lot more civilised - 80 degree in sun, not a cold arena in Canada at six in the morning!"

So the Greenwoods will enjoy themselves either on the rail or following online on an iPad. The junior Greenwoods meanwhile press on towards the money.

Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter.

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