This is a guest contribution by King Krab. If you would like to submit a contribution please contact Bill Beatty for submission details. Thank you.
My name is King Krab, and for a short stint of my life, I was living out of my car. My worldly possessions could fit into a single moving box. I was eating scraps that people threw away, but I never lowered myself to begging. Then poker came into my life. Let me start from the beginning.
Right out of college, I got a decent job offer from a large firm. I worked hard everyday, keeping to the grind. I allocated my time to work and dating, nothing else. No video games, no TV bingeing, no drinking or clubbing, no poker. For three years, I lived a moderately happy life. Then the workplace dynamic changed. Management changed. In came a fairly young and naive man who hadn’t had much management experience, still figuring out how to run things, and how to fit in–a blank slate to mold. Unfortunately, as the weak are preyed upon by the strong, a vicious young tiger cub employee, by the name of Jane (ed. Name changed) made it her mission to control and weaponize the new boss. After a few weeks of post work drinks and hangouts, her mission was complete. Although technically she wasn’t the boss of the office, she became the behind-the-scenes controller of everything. I went from management loving me for reaching all my goals and hitting my deadlines to management despising me because of untrue rumors that Jane had spread.
As I stood by and watched this slowly happen, I realized that this was how life was. Not only must you be good at your job, you must also take the role of a manipulator or else become the manipulated. You become a slave not only to your corporate overlords, but also to anybody willing to do whatever it takes to climb over you. This underachiever Jane, who accomplished almost nothing, became higher ranked than I to my manager. My boss hated my guts, and made my life at work a living hell. Soon after, I was put into a situation where I couldn’t handle it anymore, and quit on the spot.
I left my apartment and took to the streets. Thankfully in my city, the other homeless are quite mild-mannered and keep to themselves. It was quite a change, but to me it wasn’t a complete culture shock. Survival wasn’t an issue–I could scrap together enough to eat and I knew of plenty of places where I could park my car to sleep. For me, it was an issue of mental health. I didn’t want to find myself in a similar work environment as I had before, but my brain needed some sort of stimulation and interaction with people.
While high, an idea popped into my head. In college, I had an interest and possibly (delusional) talent for poker. For cash games, my sample size was about 1000hrs. I was winning player at the Live 1/3 and 3/5 stakes at my local card rooms. From this positive experience, I would seek to make a living playing live 1/2 and 3/5. So I scrapped together about 2k, and made my way down to Southern California where the games were still plentiful.
These were my goals for my adventure:
1. Become a winning player overall
2. Grind up a healthy bankroll to 10k
3. Get a livable apartment/studio
4. Don’t get killed by thugs in LA
I arrived in SoCal at midnight on a Thursday, and immediately went to play poker. It was crazy. There were so many degenerates in one place at one time. It was literally uncountable-hundreds, possibly thousands of players. I sat down at the 1/2 game as soon as I could, and within an orbit, I got felted. I knew I needed to adapt to this new environment of players, but I did not have the luxury of slow learning and adaptation. I created a profile on a poker forum and became dedicated to learning the complexities of the game. I table chose super carefully, and played only on prime weekend days. Going broke wasn’t an option for me. More importantly, I learned how to categorize the variety of players that came my way. Understanding and empathizing with a villain made my decision process clearer than ever. Their needs, their desires, their personal thoughts, helped me create a better profile of them.
We had the talkers, the starers, the headphone grinders, the regs, sharks, and angle shooters. We had the vacationers, the foreign tourists, the YPTPW (Young player trying to play well), fish, whales, maniacs and GAMBOOOOOLers. And I had to learn to assign a proper range on all of them.
One hand that stands out in my mind: 3/5 blinds.
It was my third buy-in as I had been running bad that night, and my bankroll wasn’t even close to healthy. Very loose table, Hero ($450) in MP with JJ makes it $25, three players to the flop.
Flop comes a miracle KJ4 rainbow.
Middle Set FTW, I just know it’s the nuts here! I bet $50. Whale ($475) on button makes it $150. I shove, and the whale happily tables AK for top pair. Pot is approx. $1,000.
I don’t even pray or sweat, I just know in my heart of hearts that my luck is finally changing for the better. This 1K pot is mine.
Turn is an off suit 10. That’s all right, chances are still super slim for this poker illiterate whale to win.
River comes a Q. KJ4TQ. Hero has JJ for trip Jacks. Whale shows AK for rivered straight.
I had desperately needed this win. This was big money to me. I know this wasn’t for millions of dollars, but this was my Matt Affleck moment. I cried and smoked a lot of pot that night.
My humble poker beginnings started with me jumping between motels, couch surfing, and lying under the stars or what I like to call it, camping. I’ve been on the brink of busto, yet I’ve survived until now. I now have a roof over my head, play 3/5 No Limit Hold-em, and making a decent living, approximately $35K a year. Sure, I’m far from being a millionaire. There are pros and cons to playing poker for a living. I get to choose when I work and when I don’t, yet I must play some very odd hours of the night to get the juiciest games. I don’t have a boss or coworkers micromanaging me, but I do have to deal with scumbag degenerates at the tables.
Monetary stability might not always be a thing, but I can put in as little or as many hours as I want. Usually the more I put into it, the more I get out. All players should know about the emotional and monetary swings that poker deals to you. At your 9 to 5 job, it may be that you could be fired, and it’s possibly a similar feeling in poker that one day negative variance can come your way and you could go broke.
Is this lifestyle for everyone? Absolutely not. The freedom and the lifestyle of “Easy Money”comes with many temptations. There are times I’ve felt I’m on top of the world, and then fall so hard into a depression. At this moment in my life, I’ve decided it’s the route I’m taking.
The move to a new city has also provided a plethora of new opportunities. Poker has even given me an opportunity to travel to different cities across the States and Canada, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Vegas, Miami, Atlantic City, Seattle, Vancouver, and Toronto/Niagara, to name a few. My goal is to travel to other continents to play as well. I’ve gotten to know more people, tried many different types of foods, and I’ve even met a girl I like. This summer we’ve made plans to travel together to South America.
Poker sure beats being shit on by manipulative people, and it for sure beats being homeless and on the streets. Quitting my job may have been the single greatest thing to ever happen to me.
To continue following King on his adventure, follow him at http://kingkrab.weebly.com/.