Poker stories : Jack of diamondz

Tell us about yourself and where are you’re from?

I was born in Dominica 🇩🇲, it’s a small little Caribbean island not many people know about, the population is about 80,000. I moved to Canada when I was about 2-3 months old with my mother. My life was never easy growing up as an immigrant and being with a single parent, but it helped me mature faster at a young age. I’m a very ambitious person, I like to set unrealistic goals and push the barriers of my limitations. 

How did you start, and since when are you playing poker?

I started playing poker when I was 20 years old. I was working at a bar in my neighbourhood in Lasalle called Altima. My cousin was the manager there so he got me a job making pizzas. Every Sunday he would have poker nights at the back to help promote the bar. They were playing $20 tournaments, that was the first time I got expose to game. 

Do you or did you play professionally and at what stakes?

I wouldn’t say I’m a professional, but I’m very competitive and I play to win. I have played poker as a main source of income and have done well for myself. I tore a tendon in my knee about 4-5 years ago, and I couldn’t walk for about 4 months. That’s when I decided to go all in and play 100% serious, at that time I could only afford to play 1/2 Hold’em. I worked my way up and now I’m playing 10/25 consistently now. 

How did you improve your game to go from 1/2 to 10/25?

I’ve improve my game by playing, studying strategies and discussing poker hands with better players. I knew a couple of grinders that were actually making a living playing 1/2 and started to pick their brains and learned from them. But it gets to a point after all the knowledge you obtain, the best way to improve is putting in the work! You need to put in the volume and play to see what works and what doesn’t work. I’ve logged more than 20,000 hours playing cash game Hold’em and Pot Limit Omaha together. 

You’ve been hosting games, how did it came up?

I got in the business when I started playing  private games and started to analyze how the operation works. I used to work at poker house as a valet so I knew a lot of clients because I used to park there cars and had conversations with them about poker. When I decided to host a game it was an easy transition for me because I had a base of players and friends to work with. I decided to leave the business last year because I felt like I got the most out of it financially wise and it’s a very difficult lifestyle to keep up. I wanted more of a healthier lifestyle for myself.

What have been your biggest struggle in poker?

My biggest struggle in poker was not having the support of my family and friends at the beginning. It’s not the traditional route of how things are done in our society, so at beginning when I was going through my learning curve phase and busting my bankroll constantly, it was hard to remain dedicated and locked in when everyone is doubting you.

What advice would you give someone that want to become pro?

If you’re not willing to lose sleep and dedicate your life into the game, don’t waste your time. Gambling is a tough field only 5% of poker players win consistently. You need to be mentally strong to do this for a living. 

Do you have a cool story that happened at the tables?

I got this one hand early in my poker career that gave me the confidence to know that I was finally breaking through. I was playing 1/2 Hold’em at Casino of Montreal at like around 4am at night. I built a nice stack of $650 and I got into a hand with a maniac drunk guy.

I had AhKh flop 2 over + flush draw. We got to the river and I missed everything and the maniac shoved me all in and half my money was in the pot. At that time I was playing with my life roll and bankroll, so I didn’t have a lot of money. I tanked for a while, and I just made the right poker decision and didn’t think of the money. I toss in a chip to call, and I was right! I ended up winning $1300+ with AK high. That was the first time I made that much money playing poker with AK high. That gave me a lot of confidence moving forward, thinking that I might really be able to do this for real!

Has COVID affected your activities?

Covid was a blessing for me, I hosted a game during that time and everything closed down,  so I was in the right place at the right time. My life was a movie was during those times hahaha! 

Would you mind sharing one story from these times?

During Covid all the casinos and poker rooms closed down, so there was a huge demand for poker. I already had a game running even when the casinos were open. The business picked up and I was running like 3-4 times a week. I started to make more money, so I wanted a bigger spot. I landed a deal to get a penthouse to host my games. The grand opening was like a scene in the casino movie, we had beautiful women, private chef, bartenders and security. There was 4 tables running at the same time! I never thought I would get to that level of hosting, I just did it as a side gig. That was nice feeling to be apart of that atmosphere. 

Thanks for these cool stories Jack!

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