Can you introduce yourself briefly? ( background, age, games, etc. …)
My name is Dietmar, and I am 28 years old. I’m from Austria, and I’ve lived in Ko Samui for 3 and a half years, with some breaks. I started playing poker —No Limit holdem— when I was 19 years old. After a year, I decided to turn exclusively to Pot Limit Omaha and climb the limits. I am currently a regular on the PLO100 on pokerstars.com.
Why did you choose Thailand and especially Ko Samui?
I read a lot of stories of German poker players living in Thailand. After exchanging communication with some of them, I decided to go for three months just for vacation. After this discovery stay, I decided to settle where the largest community of German poker players are in Thailand, and I moved to Ko Samui. Moreover, it was an opportunity to change my living environment with sunny weather and players who had the same background as me and were playing at the same level.
What is the typical day of a grinder in Ko Samui?
My day as a grinder is that I get up around 9am. Then, I play a session of PLO for 2 hours. I eat around noon, usually at a restaurant, and I give myself a break until 15:00, or I just take Samui (shop, read a book, go to the beach). I do a second 2-hour session that ends around 17:30. That gives me time to enjoy my evening playing sports, watching a movie, or going out with my friends.
What are your favorite places in Ko Samui?
I do not really have any favorite places in Ko Samui. I just love to take my scooter out and enjoy this peaceful island by shopping, going to the movies, or eating in a nice restaurant. What is the best thing in relation to your life in Austria? Apart from the fact that it's warm 365 days a year, the beach and the sea are the best. It is especially nice that there is no stress in daily life. It is very easy to rent a flat or house for one month, and if you do not like it, you can change the place very simply. All of this combined with the scooter, the climate, and the coconut trees create a real feeling of freedom!
What is the most difficult about living here as an expatriate poker player? First, it is very far from Europe. It takes at least 2, quite expensive plane rides to get back to Austria. Second, I love traveling and discovering new countries and cities, but in Ko Samui and even in surrounding countries and cities, it's not so easy to organize such trips. It is for this reason that I am leaving Ko Samui to renew my Visa. The cultural life of Ko Samui is very limited. There are very few nice concerts, museums, or football games, and in the long-term, it could get boring.
Do you have any good anecdotes about local life?
The anecdotes about local life that happen every day are often related to the fact that the culture and language are completely different. Sometimes it's funny, sometimes annoying, but one is always surprised. The best solution is always to stay calm and keep smiling. The last surreal conversation I had was when I wanted to buy a TV in a supermarket. The seller could not give me any technical details such as how to turn on the TV. Originally, it was scheduled for delivery, but they could not manage to find my house at the address I had given them. Then, I had to contact the seller because they forgot to deliver the remote. I had to go back to show them my house on a map. Thailand
What would be your advice for a player who wants to settle in Ko Samui?
The best advice is to join a community of players that already exists there. This will help you get used to the local life. Stay cool while driving a scooter on the roads of Samui, especially when you talk with Thai people. It is also best to try living here for a few months to see if it is really where you want to stay or whether another country might better suit you.
About the autor: Kevin is a french grinder born in Marseille. He started in 2015 to travel around Asia. He has is personal blog: http://unsacetdescartes.fr/ who is featuring interviews of Online players living in Asia.