As I have now officially spent two years over here I thought that I could discuss a few of the lessons that I have learned for some of the newer guys planning the move. Here are the top 5 things that I have learned since coming to Thailand as a poker player.
1) Choose Your Poker Friends Wisely
Many people come over here because of the large amount of poker players that are already living here. As mentioned, it is easily the most concentrated group in the world. And we all know how much easier it is to talk with someone who "speaks your language" in this regard. Discussing poker with someone who doesn't at least play the game seriously as a part time income is almost always a waste of time. They don't understand the game. They think it is all luck etc.
However, unfortunately not everyone in the poker community here is of an upstanding character. A lot of poker players who come here are marginal winners at best and get caught up in the nightlife (I will get to that in a minute don't worry lol). They quickly become huge degens constantly looking for a stake or any other handouts or scams they can pull off on somebody else.
Choose your poker friends wisely and don't think that just because you both play this game that you have some sort of special bond or something. I have met some great people from the poker community here who are great influences on me and will be friends long after this. I have also met many who I thought that it was best just to avoid completely however. One of the easiest ways to separate the two is to find out how much time they spend on my next topic.
2) Thailand Nightlife
|Walking Street, Pattaya, Thailand|
(The most degenerate place on earth)
Whether it be in the clubs, the bars or even on the internet and massage parlors there are seemingly young, attractive women everywhere falling all over you. It is very easy to go down the path of getting caught up in that at first.
You need to remember that not everything is always as it appears. Some of these girls are "working" to some degree and you are either a short term or a long term paycheck to them. A lot of them are straight up pros at what they do in fact and hustling is their game.
This is not to say that all Thai girls are like this. In fact the vast majority are not. But most Thai girls do not speak very much English and therefore have very little interaction with foreigners.
The girls that foreigners typically meet are the small percentage that speak decent English because they have worked in some form of tourism or "entertainment" in the past. Once again, not all of these girls are out for your wallet, but just be careful what you get yourself into.
Just use some common sense and you will be fine. If you want to have a little fun, by all means go ahead. You can find some of the best nightlife in the world in this country.
And if you want a serious relationship, you can even find that too. Again, most Thai girls are great. You will just have to work at it like you would in your home country.
Just don't be like these idiots out here who spend all of their time and money in the bars trying to make a prostitute their girlfriend or wife. It really is shocking how many guys from some western country come here and completely lose their mind in this regard!
3) Travel Around the Country First!
|วัดพระธาตุดอยสุเทพ Wat Phra That Doi Suthep|
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Most poker players here live in one of three places: Bangkok, Chiang Mai or Phuket. These places are all extremely different and it is up to each individual person to decide which one is best for them. Do you like the big city or a small one? Are you in love with the idea of living near the beach or can you make due without one? What sort of budget do you have? Do you want to live in a touristy area with inflated prices but more Western type conveniences or can you live among the locals?
You can't answer these questions without first going and having a look at all of these places yourself. And I truly mean that. You have to see it for yourself. No amount of watching Youtube videos or reading about it on the internet can replicate the real thing.
My advice is to set aside enough money to just be a complete tourist for your first month here. Honestly, this is one of the most amazing places on earth for the quality of experiences that you can have anyways. You can go visit ridiculous temples on the top of a mountain, go to some of the best beaches in the world, party on one with 20k other people, ride elephants and zipline through jungles, explore a mega city like Bangkok, chill out with some tigers in the north, check out world class diving and rock climbing in the south. And on and on and on.
Be a tourist when you get here and just have fun! Head straight to Khao San Road in Bangkok (backpacker capital of the world) and meet up with some backpackers who are going your way. Go with them and have the time of your life. Or don't take my advice and head straight to your room in somebody's grindhouse and miss the boat on what this country has to offer completely.
4) Don't Join a Poker Grindhouse
Ok now this one might ruffle a few feathers but I will say it anyways. And please remember like before with the Thai women that there will be exceptions. A grindhouse may in fact be an amazing life changing opportunity for you. However, I think they are a bad idea for most and here is why.
Firstly, there are some small time scams going on with these places that I have noticed popping up lately where they are charging enormous amounts for rent because the newbie doesn't know what the prices are like in Thailand. For instance, I have seen multiple listings pop up in the 2+2 travel forum in the last couple of months regarding Chiang Mai where they are charging the same amount for a room as I was paying for the entire house in a better part of the city!
Do a little bit of research about the prices before moving into one of these houses. Google "house rentals [area of Thailand]
Secondly, a lot of guys coming over here dream about what it would be like to live with a couple other elite young grinders and the learning opportunities and motivation that that would provide. In some ideal scenarios that is the case. But as I stated, there are many more degens in this country that will often just annoy the shit out of you in general. And even worse will actually be -EV for your poker game because they are borderline break even players at best.
If you can somehow find a great group of solid grinders then that is fine. But most of the time you are moving in with 3 or 4 guys who you barely know anything about in all actuality. This just does not cut it for me. There is nothing wrong with finding a place on your own and grinding it out just like you did in your home country. You certainly won't be lonely because you can often afford to live right in the city in this country for next to nothing. And by all means go hang out with the poker crew regularly. There are many meetups to play sports, go for dinner and the like. Just don't live with them. This has worked for me at least.
5) Realize How Lucky You Have it Every Day
|Not my actual work station. But it could be!|
Also, I am very blessed to be able to do what I do and work anywhere in the world. This is something that most people dream about. Just wait until you start posting the pictures on Facebook and the comments that you will get! Truthfully though most people can actually do this. They just don't want to take the steps to make it happen. You took the huge first step by just getting on the plane. Have a blast but don't take it for granted once you get here!
I still don't really even want to go back "home" after two years. I mean I eventually will for sure because I certainly miss my family and friends back in Canada. But I know that it won't be long before I am sick of the exorbitant prices and terrible weather again to name a few things. I will soon be back on a plane to Thailand, or perhaps exploring another similar location in South America, because sometimes the grass really is greener on the other side.
Thanks for reading. Let me know about your experiences traveling or relocating as a poker player in the comments below! If you enjoyed this article please "Like" or "Tweet" it below!