WSOP 2016: Play my chips for me, Mom!
Imagine you're a professional poker player. It's your life. It's your livelihood.
Now imagine you could pick any person in the world to play your chips for you. Who would it be? Daniel Negreanu? Doyle Brunson? Your best friend?
How about your mom?
That was not originally Marc-Andre Ladouceur's plan, but that's what happened at this year's World Series of Poker.
For those who have not yet been introduced, Ladouceur is one of PokerStars' online greats and a serious live player. He is not one to mess around.
Before even showing up in Vegas, he spotted the new WSOP Tag Team event that allows partners to go together on a single stack. He attacked it like he always would: putting together a winning team bent on getting a bracelet.
"The night before, those plans fell through," he said.
A quirk of fate turned Ladouceur's plans on their head and into an experience he won't soon forget.
As it happened, his mother had planned to come into town for a visit. As you might expect, she is Ladouceur's biggest fan, and she's spent no small amount of time learning the game herself. She started as a play money player and built a couple thousand chips up to more than a million.
But she had never played a live tournament.
"Now we had a chance where she could play her first tournament, her first WSOP event, and have a chance at chasing a bracelet," Ladouceur said.
At that point, it was a no-brainer.
Tag Team event is amazing. Where else can I play WSOP tourney with my Mom #DreamsComeTrue— Marc-Andre Ladouceur (@MarcAndre_FDawg) July 6, 2016
Ladouceur sat back and took in the experience, looking around at other people who had found the same kind of inspiration: not recruiting the best in the world, but finding a chance to take in the experience with someone they loved.
"I saw a lot of people playing as families. Father and son. I saw a grandfather in there. The rail and the atmosphere in there was really cool," he said.
Remembering the experience today, Ladouceur smiled as he remembered seeing his mom get involved in hands and rake her first-ever live pot. While the mother-and-son pair didn't make any money that day, they walked away with a memory neither will soon forget.
"For her, it was a big moment. For me, to be able to play a World Series with my mom is really cool," he said. "Just the experience alone was enough."
Now, Ladouceur is on his own again. He's here for Day 1B of the WSOP Main Event, and at no point will he be able to call on his mom for help. Nevertheless, if he ever needs a teammate in the future, he's already got a new player on speed dial.
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Brad Willis is the PokerStars Head of Blogging. Follow him on Twitter: @BradWillis. WSOP photos by PokerPhotoArchive.com.