• Priestley Leng

How The Poker Priest Paved His Way to Playing Poker Full-Time

In my undergraduate college years, I knew about the game of poker, but only played casually every few months. After graduating from Central Connecticut State University I moved back to my hometown of Bethel, Connecticut and I found myself playing texas holdem poker with old and new friends one night a week. We played with cheap plastic poker chips and alternated between 0.10c/0.20c no limit holdem and .25c/.50c no limit, with the usual minimum/maximum buy in of $20.

Even though the buy-in was only $20 people would reload multiple times and anyone could win or lose several hundred dollars in an evening. I noticed that I would be winning a high percentage of the time and started to look more into the strategy side of the game. The first things I learned from simple Google searches, were that you should be tracking your wins and losses of every session and you should have something called a bankroll. These were all foreign concepts to me at the time and I decided to start up with a $500 bankroll set aside for only poker. This would certainly suffice for a game where the max buyin was $20.

As I started to increase my bankroll through these home games with my friends I wanted to see if I could take my skills to the casino and win at higher stakes. It turned out my friend Brandon had a similar skill and love of the game and we made plans to go to our local Connecticut casino. The drive was nearly two hours depending on traffic. We made the $1/$2 no limit games at Mohegan Sun our regular weekend games. We were fish and bought into the games short. Despite this, we still grew our bankrolls. As we figured out the games, we realized that we were capping our poker abilities by short buying and slowly increased our buy-ins into the games. I remember buying into $1/$2 no limit games for $100. Then, as I had more money in my poker bankroll, I made it $120, then $150, then $200, and finally the max buyin of $300. I was getting more comfortable playing with a bigger stack and opened up my ability to play more hands because I had more chips in front of me.

After about a year of playing poker at Mohegan Sun, we realized that Foxwoods offered better perks for poker players. The casinos are about 15 minutes apart so it wasn’t a big deal to make the switch. We were dedicated to this process of seeing if we could make enough money from poker to live off of. It was great having someone who saw the same vision I had and it was very encouraging that we were both excelling at it.

If you recall from my 1st blog, I worked an office job Monday thru Friday. This meant I could really only play poker on the weekends. I spent nearly every Friday or Saturday driving 2 hours to the casino and grinded out many long poker sessions that went late into the night. There was no way I could drive 2 hours home after a 10 hour poker grind, and hotel rooms would cut into the profits of a 1-2NL grinder way too much. The other alternative was sleeping in the car in the casino parking garage. The seats of my 4 door Jeep Wrangler folded down and allowed for a mattress to fit back there.

Summers were humid and rough, while Winters in New England brought temperatures below freezing. Believe it or not, I preferred sleeping in my car during the winter. You can layer on heavy blankets to get warm, but there's only so much you can do to stay cool in a car during the Summer. It wasn’t ideal, but I was dedicated to the process! I found myself daydreaming about poker while working in the office, just waiting for the weekend to roll around. I knew that I couldn’t continue this 5 day work week and weekend poker grind schedule forever and the plans went into motion for saving up and taking my shot out in Las Vegas.

© 2019 by the Thirst Lounge.

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