PCA 2015: Truckin' to the Bahamas for $11
Consider Ludwig Fernstrom. He works his mobile phone up against his long beard and speaks to the woman on the other end of the line. They talk like this too much. It would be better if they were lying in bed together. But the call has to be made. He's done this too many times before. It seems he's sometimes gone more than he's home.
"Sometimes it's six nights a week," he admits.
"It's boring sometimes," Emmy Andersson says of the cold nights she spends alone in Sundsvall, Sweden. "You are alone a lot."
Andersson has had calls like this before. One time Fernstrom told her he'd won $4,000. That was a good day.
On this day, however, Andersson is at work. She calls herself a cleaning lady. She tidies up schools and daycares all week long. She has a lot to do, but after being with Fernstrom for nine years, she makes the time to listen to his latest poker story.
"I won," he says.
"How much?" she asks. Maybe it's enough for a nice dinner.
"I won a trip to the Bahamas."
She screamed. "What? I don't believe you! I don't believe you!"
"We're leaving in January," he told her.
"It was like a dream," Andersson said.
A dream, yes, but never one to count on. Those nights Fernstrom spends on the road aren't spent in poker rooms. They're spent in the cab of a semi truck, hauling computers, auto parts, or whatever else the trucking company packs in the trailer. Now he was on his way to the Bahamas.
It's the biggest thing he's won in his life.
Among the sub-genres of American music, there may not be one so simultaneously hopeful and lonely as trucking songs. Don't believe it? Spend the rest of your afternoon listening to the 50 Best Trucking Songs of All Time. It's all about lonely nights on the road, amphetamine abuse, and dropping the hammer to get home to whoever is keeping the bed warm. Lowell George sang of having his head stoved in. Del Reeves sang about wondering why his daddy didn't spend any more time at home and looking at the world through a windshield.
Fernstrom's song? He just wants to get home to Emmy and, maybe, just maybe...well, his dreams are still over that horizon line. But he's closer.
That day back in October, Fernstrom had put up $11 to enter qualifying tournament to the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. When it was done, he'd won a trip for two to Atlantis and a $10,000 seat to the Main Event.
Fernstrom and Andersson like their rare time together to be quiet. If they go out to see people, they use that time to see their big extended family. They both have four siblings. It's a happy life, but not one void of dreams of something bigger.
He has dreams of playing poker. Andersson has dreams of not cleaning for a living anymore. The first prize here--even just a final table appearance--could change their lives forever.
"I'd definitely quit my job and go to school," Andersson says.
Fernstrom has spent the past couple of days in the sea. He's eaten well. He's drank. He's had his picture taken with hero Daniel Negreanu. For a man who spends most of his time on the road, he's never come this far to some place so different and amazing.
"It's the best place I've been ever," he says.
In all, he paid $11 for this trip, and if he steers right this week, he could park the truck forever and settle down behind the poker felt as long as he likes.
That's the kind of dream a man can stir up when he's alone on the road in the middle of a Swedish night. It's the kind of dream that could turn real here on Paradise Island.
Follow all the action from the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure on PokerStars Blog. Everything from the Main Event is on the Main Event page, while the LAPT event has reached its final table. Full coverage is on the LAPT Bahamas page and on EPT Live.
Brad Willis is the PokerStars Head of Blogging