Time to play life: The Whale, The Drunk and The Uber

Portland! Woop, I made it! Six nights ago I drove into Portland and have been on the (Pokemon) go there ever since. I’ve been viewing houses, applying for jobs, meeting new people (aka trying to make friends), hiking, playing cards (poker), writing, drinking, catching pokemon, blah, blah, blah. It feels like so much has happened in five days, while at the same time feeling like so little has been accomplished.

I’m not going to go into the details of what I have been up to because that is boring af, but here are the Cliff’s notes:

  • I’ve submitted an application for a room in North Portland. The room has an ensuite and is $675 per month. I’ve been told I’ll have an answer as to whether I am successful by the end of the week. It has been challenging to find places when I do not have a job to demonstrate a stable income / the ability to cover rent.
  • I’ve applied for a bunch of jobs doing a bunch of random shit. Bartender, Beertender, Critical Thinker, Cannabis Trimmer (no, I’m not joking) to name a few. The results of this? I have an interview on Tuesday for a job with a craft beer brewery pulling beers. I’d love to trim some weed, but I’m still waiting to hear back on that one.
  • In terms of people that live in the city, so far I’ve met: the daughter of some very kind and lovely people that I met during my travels (at a diner in Yellowstone National Park of all places); an Irish girl who is a friend of friends (thank you Andy and Cocoa for the intro); and a poker dealer who happens to be from New Zealand.

Yep, so that is what is going on. Plenty of different potential paths are out there – should be fun to see where it all goes! Now that the boring shit out of the way, let’s move onto poker and the story of the whale, the drunk and the Uber!

Actually, before telling the story I’d like to dig into my thoughts on something else first. That something else is playing cards (poker) for monies! Or, more specifically, playing poker with the idea that it could form a genuine income source.

It all started with the tournaments that I played at the World Series of Poker. This is poker’s greatest stage. While dancing on the greatest stage at no point did I feel like I was out of place. This is why I feel I must dance again.


The most important thing about playing cards as an income source is that I must not be dependent on it. That is, the income from poker must be supplementary to something more stable. The reason? Well, poker is very similar to life. In life there are many ups and downs in the short term that can affect the way we feel on a day to day basis. In life I try hard not to let these short term fluctuations affect me too greatly, however I often fail – ignoring my feelings is not an easy thing to do. Regardless, I go through the ups and downs and play the game of life with a long term outlook.

Poker is very similar. Like life, there are ups and downs in the short term, however the game must be played with a long term outlook (Google “Poker long term and short term” and read some of the articles that pop up if you would like to gain a greater understanding of this). Poker is a game of probability and psychology. Probabilities dictate that you cannot win every time. And an interesting phenomenon is that when you lose it hurts more than it feels good when you win. I am conscious of this. While playing cards financial losses will be common and regular. If these losses are going to make me feel worse than the wins make me feel good, then I am conscious that I need to have something else to keep me (or more specifically, my mind) stable. Without stability this is not going to work – one of the most dangerous things a poker player can do is play with a compromised mind (throwing money away is very easy when your mind is not sound).

It is my intention / desire to find part time employment that is sufficient to cover all of life’s expenses – rent, water, power, phone, food, activities – and ONLY all of life’s expenses. I do not want to work any harder than I have to as the harder I work on whatever job I have, the less I will be working on playing cards!

It is my goal / hope that I will be able to build up a bank roll (aka my finances) by playing cards over the course of the year, with a view towards taking as much $$ as I can to the World Series of Poker next year. Of course, these are all plans. And plans are like a bed. No matter how well you make them, they’re probably going to get messed up at the end of the day.

The Whale, The Drunk and The Uber.

Story time!

This happened on my last night in Las Vegas in late June. I decided that I wanted to play some poker on my last night and so ventured to the Venetian casino, which has a great poker room. I sat down at 9pm and ordered a coffee from the cocktail waitress. Yes, I am aware that ordering a coffee at 9pm is a pretty degenerate move, but hey, I had nowhere to be. So fuck it.

About one hour into playing a middle-aged man sat down at the table two seats to my right. He brought a Corona to the table with him. It was clearly not his first Corona, as he was noticeably tipsy. His beer gut suggested that it wouldn’t be his last Corona either…

The poker cards continued to be dealt almost as fast as the drinks were dealt to this guy. He became louder and louder, and un-coincidentally also looser and looser with his poker chips (he had roughly $300 on the table in front of him at this point). It was roughly midnight. I had only planned to play cards until around midnight, but with this drunk guy sitting on the table getting drunker and drunker it would be stupid for me to leave. He was undoubtedly going to donate his money to someone and I wanted that someone to be me. Perhaps there are moral arguments against taking advantage of someone who has a compromised mind like this, however I believe there is an important lesson to be learned here. Everyone has a choice. He chose to get drunk and play cards.

I watched this guy go through all the stages of drunkenness – first tipsy, followed by loud and joyful, all the way through to slurry and vacant. Once in his slurry and vacant state he finally lost all of his chips (not to me unfortunately!)… I can’t recall exactly but I believe this was his response to losing all his money:

“Ewe aaave a Kiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnggggg? … Which was followed by 30 seconds of swaying-filled-vacant-eyed-silence, before he continued “thhhhhhhhhhhas goooooooooodddd” 

This was The Drunk. Very entertaining to observe.

By this time it was 1am… 1am turned into 2am, which then was, you guessed it, was followed by 3am. At this point I said to myself that I would leave at 3:30am, but before 3:30am came around I spotted something majestic a stones throw away from me – it was a whale. In poker “whale” is a term for a poker player that plays purely for fun with stacks and stacks of money. They are rich and don’t care about losing. Here is a link to a great explanation,

The whale was of Indian descent, skinny with glasses, and most importantly hilarious. This is where I truly became a degenerate – I ordered another coffee (yes, at 3:30am)… There was no way I was taking myself and my harpoon home now…

The whale was joking with everyone at the table and drinking. In the first few hours at the table he was unbeatable – he was putting his money in with junk and continuously getting lucky.

I said to him jokingly “man, you’re unbeatable over there!” (he was sitting at the opposite end of the table to me).

His response: “what!!?? Nooooooooo… I lose at crrrrrraps. I lose thousands. Vawt I have heeear is nothhhing. Zey take all my money at crrrraps.”

There was one hand where he raised and I re-raised him with an Ace of hearts and a Queen of diamonds. He called. The flop came down three low hearts. I bet $40-something dollars, and he instantly went all in for over $500. My hand is pretty strong as all I need is one more heart to make a flush, and it is possible that my ace or queen (if I make a pair) might be good too. I would definitely have called him if he made a normal sized re-raise, but he went all in!!

I joked with him during the hand “oh man you’re killing me over here, I have a good hand here”.

He came back at me, “vell caulllllllll dennnn… You can’t fold if you have a good hand”.  

I responded, “hmmm, I know right! … How much do you have over there?” asking about how much money he had in front of him on the table.

Tongue in cheek, he responded, “hahahaha I have vaaaaaay moare dan you. Look at me. Look at deese mountains. I am the big boss. Look at all deese chips.”

Our interactions were all in great jest. This guy was just too funny, his whole persona was just amazing. He was here to have a good time and that was what he was doing.

Reluctantly, I threw my cards to the dealer, folding my hand. I wasn’t ready to flip a coin for $500.

He then says “I have two pairs, a 7 and a 5. It’s good hand.”, and he tipped the dealer $20, which I hadn’t seen before (usually people tip $1-$2 per hand that they win). This was one big ass whale.

It was just too much fun, I couldn’t leave the table. The night (or morning if you will) went on and eventually he ended up losing all his money. He then reloaded with some more cash, lost again, reloaded again and lost again. He lost about $300 to me, $500 to the guy sitting next to me, and $300 to the guy sitting next to him.

He lost his final $200 and asked the player who he lost it to for $5. The player was confused – this is not something you do in poker. If you lose, you do not ask for any of your money back… The player didn’t know how to respond or what to do. He was clearly feeling a little awkward as the whale continued to ask – “please, please please… $5. That is all. Give me $5.”. The guy sitting next to me, who won the $500 off the whale earlier, tossed a $5 chip across the table, which bounced and landed in front of the whale. The whale picked up the $5 chip and handed it to the dealer – “you see, not for me. I can make thousands. Dis is for dem. You must appreciate.”

After this he joked some more and opened up an empty wallet: “I’m ouuuuuut. Ohh you guys are too gooood for me. You are the big boss. Time for bed. But I vill be back.”

As soon as he left, everyone at the table followed. The whale had been the only one feeding the game. By this point it was 7:30am and I was not even at my own hotel. I ordered an Uber and got back to my hotel room at 8am. Check out was at 11am. I slept for an hour and half, woke up, then drove five hours through the desert to San Diego. Here is a shot of me that I took after waking up:



2 thoughts on “Time to play life: The Whale, The Drunk and The Uber”

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