This interview was done with a online poker player in Thailand, who wishes to remain anonymous. I hope you all enjoy it and get a idea for what life for a poker player in Thailand is like. Anything written in red is by me.
I’m 25 from Sydney, Australia. I’ve been a full time poker player for around the last 5 years. I started from a very young age. I first got into poker when I was 15, I seen a TV show called “Late night poker“, I think it was one of the first televised poker shows from the UK. I thought it was amazing, so much fun that these high rollers were playing cards and travelling the world. It was weird when I was young I never worked to work a 9-5 job to me it seemed stupid. I used to read books on real estate and stock markets etc. But after watching this TV series I knew what I wanted to do, play poker!
I used to grind play chip tables on ultimate bet and read every poker book I could get my hands on. When I was 18 the first thing I did was get a debit card so I could deposit money.
Grind: means to play poker online.
I used to play limit holdem, well started out doing this because I read Phil Hellmuths book “Play poker like the pros”. I remember depositing $200 as that was the minimum buy in for $5-10 no limit. I ran it up to like $2000 and thought this was easy. I withdraw and left $200 to play thinking I could just run it up again. Obviously I ended up putting it back on and losing it over time as most do when they start. Anyways I went threw a cycle of wining a micro tournament then losing it at cash games etc.
About 2 years later I made the 2nd day of a pub special tournament with $5000 up top. The only problem was i was rostered on for work… So I did the obvious thing and went in on that day before going to the tournament and told them I quit. #YOLO. I ended up coming 2nd for around $2500 and this is where my poker career started.
I discovered a few poker forums and started grinding micro stakes and taking everything seriously. I don’t know what it was that made me a wining player but just something clicked and I’m still here today.
How long have you been a poker player in Thailand?
In 2013 I spent 5 months in Thailand. I had never lived abroad before or been to Thailand. I was a little scared and worried before going, but I had been following a few Thailand thread on various poker sites and reading the amazing stories and banter going on and I new this was the lifestyle I wanted. So I grew some balls and booked my flights and went in January to Phuket, Thailand. My turn to be a poker player in Thailand!!!!
I got in contact with a few poker players in Thailand, who I met up with when I arrived and then after I met a few more people you meet there friends and so on. It’s really awesome how people are so open and feels like you’ve know them for a long time.
I only ended up spending 31 days this time round (beat had to pay 500baht overstay) because I had nothing prepared/planed no visit no apartment etc and figured id go back to Sydney grind it out and come back prepared.
beat: a poker term described when you lose a poker hand
I returned in August with more knowledge and experience, I flew to Phuket to catch up with old poker friends and degen for a couple of days. Then I went to Chaing mai to set up my base as a poker player in Thailand. This time I was here for 4 months with a couple of weeks in Bangkok to let my hair down.
He actually doesn’t have much hair
Are there live poker games in Thailand, and if so do you think they are safe?
I don’t know of any live poker games in Thailand, I hear a few rumbles about home games, but know I would never be playing any sort of gambling in Thailand.
As poker in a grey area in Thailand, what do you tell people your profession is both farangs and Thais?
Majority of the time I just tell people I work for myself on the computer. Normally when talking with a lady they won’t ask anymore generally the ones that don’t speak much English.
But if you get someone that’s fluent they will try ask more, or say something like oh so you’re doing marketing or sales etc. I just respond with “something like that” and quickly change the subject, I would not tell anyone that I am a poker player in Thailand, it doesn’t seem wise. To my surprise there’s been more than id expect in ladies, that when I say “computer” they quickly say oh you play poker?
Ladies? Or Ladyboys?
hmmm, No comment.
Do you feel safe playing online poker in Thailand as gambling is considered illegal in the Kingdom?
I feel safe because I can’t see how the police are going to be raiding hotels to see if someone is playing poker on the internet. It would be impossible to monitor and I think they would just block the websites if they had something against it. (At this stage I don’t think they know what it is?) I really can’t see how you could be endanger.
Have you ever had any troubles with the law or problems getting money on and off poker websites while living in Thailand?
Never any problems at all, same as normally:
poker site> home bank account >ATM
Withdraw poker site>neteller card>ATM
How is the expat poker scene in Thailand, are there a lot of poker player living in Thailand?
There is a large number of poker players in Thailand, I wouldn’t know where to start for a number figure. There would be a lot of people I reckon that are solo or don’t want to be in poker Skype groups etc. Your always consistently meeting new poker players in Thailand threw friends of friends and so on. It’s really enjoyable for me, Thailand wouldn’t be the same if it didn’t have the poker community it did.
Why did you pick Thailand out of all the countries on offer too you?
I read Thailand threads on forums for a long time like maybe a year. From the stories and following for so long I new that was the life style I wanted. Like I mentioned above it wouldn’t be the same without the poker players in Thailand and the community they have, so that’s one reason. It’s also incredibly cheap so you get a much better quality of life. The girls LDO (like durr obviously) is also a huge draw point for me. If you from a western country half decent looking you can have girls getting wet just in your presence sure some might be hookers but whatever.
Can you walk us through a daily routine of your life as a poker player in Thailand?
Wake up around lunch time.
Wake girl up for morning sex.
Kick girl out.
Go to food court in shopping mall and order 3-4 meals to take home to eat threw out the day.
Eat breakfast while checking Thai friendly to read my future wives messages.
Lay in bed and play line.
Go to gym around 2pm.
Protein, shower and power nap.
Start grinding around 4pm.
Midnight comes along either decide to head out or ring a regular girl up to come “visit”.
This would be the routine for around 4-5 days of the week id probably go clubbing twice a week and would have dates and such in days off from grinding.
Assuming you made the equivalent amount of money needed to sustain your lifestyle in Sydney that you have in Thailand, which place would you pick to live in and why?
I’d definitely still pick Thailand. The culture is better, for most part people are friendly, you can have more fun as people are laid back. I like the hot weather and enjoy the food and I’ve got yellow fever. There’s so many draw cards to make the move to Thailand. I’m a simple person and have the time of my life. Theres many more things to do if your more adventurous.
Yellow fever: a for all Asian girls
I have heard a of poker player in Thailand going close to broke, has this ever happened too you or anyone that you know?
I have been low on funds and have gone back home before to rebuild. I don’t think it really comes down because of Thailand but more so of financial choices/low bankroll that has caused people to go broke like anything really I guess. But I mean if your going out every night and paying 3k + for hi-so hookers then yeah you can go broke pretty quick. If you don’t have a big bankroll.
What would your advice be to any new poker players making the move to Thailand?
At the end of the day you have to go there and find out yourself if you like it. My advice would be to plan and prepare. Eg visas, estimate your costs for extended period, is my bankroll big enough? Go to doctor to check for vaccines. Plan your visa runs in advance. Get active in a community so you can get advice. Be alert and don’t walk down a dark alley way alone at night.