Homeless Poker Player’s Wild Florida Trip Report Part 1September 28th, 2015 by Carlos Welch
Let me start by saying that I have been overwhelmed by the support from the readers of my blog. I read every message to me in the comments section and truly appreciate the kind words from the bottom of my heart. In stark contrast to this, I have been equally as underwhelmed by the amount of action I have been able to find on my Florida trip.
The first WSOP circuit event I ever went to was the one held in Cherokee, North Carolina back in 2013. This was a massive event which was only topped by my experience later that year at the World Series of Poker in Vegas. My favorite game at these events are the single table satellites. My plan this year was to hop into the Nitmobile and drive around the great state of Florida grinding them for an entire month.
Week 1 – Florida’s West Coast
My first event was supposed to be the WSOP Circuit stop in West Palm Beach, until I learned about a WPT DeepStacks event being held at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Immokalee the week before. I contacted the property and was told that they would have single table satellites, so I decided to head down.
On the way, I made a pit stop at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Tampa. There, I played a daily tournament and sat with one of the viewers of my Twitch stream. He recognized me due to my Batman shirt. We talked about it a bit on stream the next day and then I continued on to the WPT DeepStacks event.
When I got to Immokalee, no one in the tournament area seemed to be aware of the plan to run single table satellites. The floor guy told me that they were only running megas. Bummer. Fortunately, my trip to the west coast of Florida wasn’t a total waste. I did get to see my first ″Panther Xing″ sign. When the government warns you to watch out for stray panthers, you know you’re in the middle of nowhere. I quickly got the hell out of there and made my way back to modern civilization over on the east coast of Florida.
Week 2 – Florida’s East Coast
On day 1 of the WSOP Circuit stop in West Palm Beach, I strolled into the Palm Beach Kennel Club looking for rampant single table satellite action. What I found was even better. I bumped into my friend and WPT champ Ryan Van Sanford who was playing event 1 that day. We chatted for a while, failed on an awkward handshake, and parted ways as I continued to search for my single sanctuary.
When I finally found it, the area looked like a ghost town. I waited around for an hour or so until the floor person told me I should come back on the weekend when the single table action would be much better. Boy was she right! I played zero singles that night, but on the weekend, I played…exactly one. As a former math teacher, I can tell you that one is more than a hundred times as much as zero. You can probably tell by my sarcasm how disappointed I was with the West Palm Beach circuit stop. Cherokee, this was not.
I decided to skip town and play some cash games at the Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood, FL. While playing there one night, I saw a tweet from Ryan that he was playing trivia at a local bar. I absolutely love trivia, so I racked up and headed over. Later that night, I hung out with him and his roommates at their awesome apartment. They too are very good poker players and pretty cool guys all around.
WSOP ring winner Chad Eveslage was one in particular who I have a lot in common with. It seems that we both have watched every obscure chimpanzee video on YouTube. The conversations you can get into while playing Mario Kart at 2 AM with fellow poker players never ceases to amaze me.
The next day, I left to do my Twitch stream from the Nitmobile and my viewership exploded! At one point, I was the second most watched poker stream on Twitch with almost 500 concurrent viewers. That was more than three times my previous record. I attribute these numbers to the support that you guys in the poker world have given me and I cannot thank you enough. Hopefully, I can continue to inspire my fellow grinders.
Although I didn’t get to play many single table satellites, this trip has been a good one so far due to the new poker players I have met both in person and on stream. For those of you who enjoy my Twitch channel, you’ll be glad to know we got a first and a second on- stream during this Florida trip for a total of $3000.
You can watch the final table replays here and here. Next week, I will continue on to the Heartland Poker Tour stop at the Daytona Beach Kennel Club where I will be streaming from the driveable beaches and maybe make a pit stop at Best Bet in Jacksonville on my way home to Atlanta. If you see me, feel free to offer me a firm fist bump.