The Birmingham News recently published an article about college kids and poker in which writer Thomas Spencer spoke with experts, students and the likes of yours truly about the popularity and dangers of youthful card playing. He also spoke at length with Shannon Storr, the former UA student who did very well in the Aussie Millions (see previous blog posts.) Here's the part where I come into play:
Johnny Kampis, a UA graduate who is taking a year off for poker before starting on a master's degree in marketing, said there's a lot more poker around the university than during his days as an undergraduate.
"There has been an influx of younger players," said Kampis, 29. "There are some of them that play almost every night. They all play No-Limit Texas Hold'em. They play what they see on TV. They are using their parents' money, so they don't mind if they lose it all."
If the professional gambling lifestyle is alluring for college kids, Kampis warns, that dream fades fast. Kampis hasn't had the big break that propelled Shorr, but he's getting by playing tournaments across the country. He's looking forward to returning to school in the fall.
"Playing poker for a living is not what it's cracked up to be," he said. "It's a good hobby and fun game. Don't make it your life. It becomes a grind and is less enjoyable than it used to be."
Now, don't think I'm accusing Spencer of misquoting me, an accusation which as a reporter I absolutely hated (though these things do happen from time to time, what with imperfect hearing and all.) I recall speaking to him in a slow and slurred fashion when he called me while I was in Reno. Perhaps I was half drunk at the time. I do remember hemming and hawing as if I could not complete a coherent thought, which is probably apparent from the quotes he could and did use. I think Spencer did convey my rambling thoughts well as my main point was that I do believe too many people are or thinking about chasing a pipe dream.
Maybe my book, if it is ever published, will save a few people from acting too quickly and harshly as I think it will provide a strong warning to prospective pros. Then again, when they read about my jetsetting across the country while still keeping my head above water, the reading could have the opposite effect.