Travel Fanboy

What up? It’s the Trooper!

As fan of Vegas, I can’t get enough gratuitous video of the Strip and downtown. That’s why I was thankful I found TheTrooper97 vlog on YouTube. While I originally came for shots of the resorts, I stayed because he has an interesting story. He moved to Vegas to grind out a life playing poker and is sharing that journey via his YouTube channel. It’s a world completely different than my own. So, thankfully, TheTrooper was nice enough to answer a few questions I had, helping me understand the life of a Vegas poker grinder:

You’re coming up on two full years since your move to Vegas and, thanks to you being so open in your vlogs, I know there have been quite a few ups and downs. Has anything truly surprised you or did you kind of expect the life of a poker professional to be somewhat tumultuous?

Nothing has really surprised me except that I’m learning just how much time is required to make money at poker.  Poker is very attractive to lazy people and I’ve been lazy in the past.  It has broken my roll more than once, including since I moved here.  I’m now working hard at putting more time into poker, despite recently tripling the time I put into the vlog.

As I just mentioned, you’re fairly open about yourself on video. I think it’s an endearing quality for someone sharing a journey. Has the vlog helped you along the way, perhaps being somewhat cathartic?

I’d say it is cathartic.  I do get to look back each day on the day before and though I already know what I was thinking, since I thought it, I can watch myself on the screen and read myself.  It’s a weird experience.  I also feel an obligation to the viewers to try my hardest.

Whenever I play poker it’s purely recreational and, because of that, losing doesn’t impact me that much. In fact, I typically expect it. You’re essentially playing for a livelihood. If I have a bad day at work, I’ll still get paid. That’s not necessarily the case for poker players. How do you keep from tilting too much when things don’t go your way at the table? Do you have to learn to take each session individually?

It’s the opposite. I don’t take each session individually.  If I did, there would be tilt.  Four, 4-hour sessions is just 16 hours in a life long game.  I just don’t tilt because of the acceptance of that, and because of experience.

Do you have long-term aspirations, or should poker players focus on the game on a session-by-session basis?

Long term aspirations are important, but living today is as well, in my opinion.  You have to live out each session while accepting that it’s only a tiny piece of the long term.  In fact, if one can do that, success in nearly impossible.

So, I know there are three things you like: swearing, poker, and coffee. But how does The Trooper relax? Are there things you do to get away from the scene at all?

I enjoy sitting at Starbucks, watching Youtube, which I haven’t been doing lately. Because there are three things I’m working at, youtube, poker, and dealing, I find my balance there.

It’s not easy what you’re doing. What advice do you have for someone looking to make a life out of playing poker?

My advice is to find balance, but with recreation.  I have a friend who plays guitar, paints, and plays poker.  I would NEVER advise anyone to work so hard on another business while playing poker for money.  My business, the youtube channel, makes virtually no money at the moment, but it’s an investment in the hopefully-near future.  There is no doubt that the poker suffers because youtube channel.  They are both important though and I will not quit.  I’m doubling down at the moment with daily vlogs and it’s tiring as hell but it’s what I feel I have to do.

Ok. I have to ask what’s on everyone’s mind. What’s your drink of choice at Starbucks?

Grande Pike Place.  4 raw sugars, couple drips of cream.

Thanks again to TheTrooper97. With some digging, you can find his real name on the vlog. I’ll endearingly stick with his online identity for now. If you’re looking for some fun, low stakes poker action, stop by the Linq and try to catch him when he’s dealing. In the meantime, be sure to check out some of his videos. Beware: swearing, coffee, and poker to follow.


Host of the Vegas Fanboy podcast. A reluctant Millennial. An amateur human.