Homeless Poker Player’s Cross Country Road Trip: Vegas or Bust…or Both!May 28th, 2016 by Carlos Welch
In 2012, I decided to quit my job, leave my house, and move into an extended stay hotel while pursuing a career in poker. That decision culminated in my most successful year to date in 2015. I won an online Sunday major and cashed my very first attempt at the WSOP Main Event.
After that summer, I returned to the hotel and discovered that the weekly rate had increased while I was gone. Although it was much better than paying over $2000 a month for the house I was buying, $215 a week seemed like a lot to pay for a place just to study, play, and write about poker. The thought occurred to me “Hell, I can do this in the back of a van!” At that moment, the Nitmobile was born.
In July 2015, I purchased a 2006 Chrysler Town and Country minivan. Since then, I have been living in it and driving it across the southeastern United States playing poker. Today, we take it up a notch. I am about to embark on a cross-country road trip from Atlanta, GA to Las Vegas, NV for the 2016 WSOP.
This 2000 mile trip is going to take 30 road hours, but I plan to break it up over the course of several days. Along the way, I will be making stops in the following cities: Memphis, Little Rock, Oklahoma City (detour to Choctaw Casino), Amarillo, Albuquerque, and Flagstaff. I will do a short Twitch stream in each location and possibly check out the local casinos. If you see me in your city or working the Tournament Poker Edge booth in Vegas, feel free to say hi!
In addition to the fact that I am driving the Nitmobile, this year’s trip to Vegas is unique for a different reason. This time, I’m not coming back. It’s Vegas or Bust…or Both. I’ve decided to move to the west coast for the foreseeable future. I’m going to start off in Vegas for the WSOP.
Afterwards, I will drive over to California where the weather is a bit friendlier to us van-dwellers. After buying the van and living completely on poker money for over a year, in the midst of a downswing no less, my bankroll is running low. If I go bust in Vegas, I have the perfect plan to replenish the coffers in Cali. I’ll apply to do some substitute teaching and tutoring while I am there. The pay rate is almost twice as much as what I make in Georgia.
In fact, it is almost as much as I made when I was a full-time teacher! Getting paid at the market rate in a place like San Francisco while living beachside in a van to hold on to the money longer seems like an absolute dream.
If that works out, great! If not, I’ll go back to Vegas for the cooler months. Heading back to the Rio for the November Nine seems like a perfect idea. Hopefully, I’ll have a seat at the table. Either way, I plan to completely immerse myself in poker over the next several months. That is…if this 200,000-mile engine doesn’t explode in some southwestern desert along the way. Wish me luck!