It was Christmas Eve and after a long day behind the wheel moving last-minute shoppers around the streets of Merseyside, taxi driver Leigh Swift headed to his girlfriend’s house to begin his festive holiday.
Before the couple had made their evening plans, Swift fired up a Power Path Step 1 Spin & Go using a free $0.50 ticket he’d received on PokerStars (all players receive one daily each time they play).
But for Swift, online poker is intrinsically linked to exercise. “I always do push-ups while waiting for my turn,” he says. “Someone once pointed out that I should concentrate on the game more… maybe they’re correct.”
The 42-year-old wasn’t expecting to do push-ups that night. It was Christmas Eve after all, and his girlfriend had just suggested that they go out for a drink.
The only issue was that he’d won the Sit & Go and already registered for Step 2 of Power Path. He won that too and moved on to Step 3 – an $11 tournament.
Understandably, his girlfriend began to get a little frustrated. He’d done a lot of push-ups by this stage and needed to shower before they could head to the pub.
“She said, ‘I hope you’re not going to be playing poker all night’. So I got in the shower while still playing on my phone,” he says.
Drying his hands each time he needed to tap his phone, Swift sailed through Step 3 and as he grabbed a towel and got dressed, he found himself battling in a $109 Step 4 qualifier with two Gold Passes up for grabs.
He ordered a taxi to take them to the pub and by the time the couple were en route, he’d done it. Swift finished in the top two spots and won a Gold Pass worth $10,300.
The entire Power Path took him just a couple of hours. “I was very happy,” he says. “We celebrated that night!”
WE KNOW WHAT YOU’RE THINKING…
You’re thinking: “How many push-ups could I do between hands of a Spin & Go?”
Not many, probably. And that’s not a dig at your strength. It’s because Spins are rapid games with quick structures and limited time banks.
But Leigh Swift doesn’t just do push-ups when playing spontaneous Spins.
Fitness is an important part of his life, having previously worked as a gym instructor and coast guard and in sales and construction jobs. He became a taxi driver around 12 years ago and loves the job’s flexibility.
But one thing that’s not flexible is his push-up regime. Even if he’s playing a multi-table tournament lasting for hours, he still hits the floor every time his hand has hit the muck.
“Press-ups and poker just hand-in-hand for me,” he says. “I don’t think that will change!”
The question now is, will we see Swift dropping for a quick 20 in between hands on the European Poker Tour?
Swift has chosen to use his Gold Pass at EPT Paris, where his prize awards him:
- EPT Paris Main Event entry – €5,300
- 8 nights at a hotel (€2,040)
- Expenses ($2,362 USD, approx €2,180)
- Exclusive merchandise
- Live event liaison support
- Free activities for player and guest
“I FEEL LIKE I’VE ALREADY WON”
The Power Path package is Leigh Swift’s biggest poker win to date, by some margin. But it’s by no means his biggest achievement in life.
“I don’t think I was blessed with the most intelligence when I was young so I didn’t make the best decisions throughout my twenties,” he says. “But when I got to 30 I decided to get my life in order.”
Swift’s ambition was to buy his own house and he accomplished it in his thirties. “I was working hard on the taxis, saving, and managed to overcome the debt I’d built up. I know it made my mum and family proud so I am so happy about that.
“My uncle said it was the biggest turnaround he has ever seen in someone, so it mustn’t have looked good for me in my twenties.”
Swift first picked up the game of poker around 20 years ago playing with mates, but he’s an avid learner and in his spare time, he loves to listen to podcasts and audiobooks to gain new skills.
“I’ve actually been going to acting classes lately,” he says. “Let’s see if I can get good at that.”
They might come in handy around the tables at EPT Paris during the Main Event. By his admission, Swift is a casual player and is yet to find success in big events like the Sunday Million, which he dreams of winning one day.
But when it came to playing Power Path while doing push-ups and showering, he smashed it out of the park.
“Whatever happens in Paris, I’ll feel like I’ve already won just by being there,” he says. “I’ll enjoy the experience no matter what. But I’m setting my sights on winning the tournament. Aim high! Anything is possible!”
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