This edition of Pokercode Community Stories features Community Coach and member, Curtis Knight. If you’ve been active in the Pokercode community at all, you’ve likely seen him consistently active within our Slack community or doing his weekly Quiz Nights each Friday.
Curtis hasn’t always been such a big part of our team here at Pokercode, but he certainly has embodied every aspect of what we want our community to represent since joining. His approach to both life and poker are quite relatable, and it was easy to see why he’s experienced his successes of late. It’s also clear to see the value he brings the community, and that the community brings to him.
Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, Curtis got into poker during his high school years around 2008-2009 through playing home games with friends. He continued playing recreationally as life took him into university, but he ultimately stopped playing in order to finish his business degree and go to work at a marketing agency in downtown Toronto.
He worked at the agency for about three years and somewhere in that time rediscovered poker again. This time, however, it was MTTs, and he found himself with an immediate desire to start studying and learning the game.
Of course, anybody who’s been in his shoes (meaning every single one of us) has been exposed to the overwhelming abundance of poker material available in today’s world. He spent time investing in courses, studying, and playing all while still working at his marketing job, but eventually found his job unfulfilling and left.
The whole, “work a normal job and play poker on the side” gig is common enough today. But for just about everybody, leaving your primary job would leave you with one source of income: poker.
Curtis was different, though. He had yet another revenue stream for his life as a professional lacrosse player. North America’s National Lacrosse League (NLL) is a wintertime sport and runs mostly on weekends, and it gave him enough income to live off of while also affording him a large portion of the week to focus on poker.
“I guess at some point I came across Pokercode,” Curtis said of his poker journey and studies. “I was buying almost any poker content that came out because I was just investing in myself and wanted to study that way. So, I bought it”
As lovely as it would be to say that the rest was a Cinderella story and Curtis’ poker journey went about happily ever after, such did not end up being the case. In fact, Curtis had some constructive criticism that Fedor Holz found to be of value in Pokercode’s early days, which caused Fedor to reach out to Curtis directly. (Remember that community aspect?)
The gesture really stuck with Curtis, too. Beyond that, the Pokercode community was one where he was able to both derive and provide a ton of value. Not only do Pokercode members have close contact with head coaches such as Fedor, Matthias Eibinger, and Simon Rønnow, but they also have access to an active Slack community that opened up his game for growth in a number of ways. It helped him expand his network, too, which was something he found to be another bonus.
Curtis found Slack to be the perfect platform for the Pokercode community, citing that other such options like Facebook and Discord are not as organized for the purpose of poker. He used it so much that he was eventually approached to be “promoted” from a community member to an official Pokercode Community Coach. In many ways, it started with him investing in himself and the development of his own skills as a poker player, something he is a firm believer in when it comes to all aspects of life.
“I was just commenting on everything I could, not only because it helped other people, but it also helped me to express my thoughts. So, I did that for a long time.” Curtis said of his involvement. “And I guess, over the last year or so I’ve had a lot more success.”
In many ways, it’s a two-way street. Curtis is absolutely still growing as a poker player and Pokercode is a big reason for that, from both a playing and coaching perspective. At the same time, he’s able to continue to provide insight and resources for other members of the community to use along their poker journeys however they see fit.
Curtis spends 15-20 hours a week engaging with other members of the community, and he’s also been hosting a weekly Friday Quiz Night. On top of that, he’s putting in three or four sessions a week. In other words, poker is a full-time investment for him right now.
It can be, though. Not only is it working out well, but the NLL is currently suspended due to COVID-19 so he has the time to be able to put into his game. He’s also challenging himself in another new way: despite never being an ambitious student before playing poker, Curtis is also pursuing a Masters’ degree in Sport Management. He is taking it slowly, having completed his coursework on the side over the last couple of years and now working on his thesis.
“I’m not sure how long I’ll stay in poker,” said as to why he started his Masters pursuit. He’s never lost his passion about the game but still wanted to look for other things to do: “I don’t see me going anywhere for now, but it’ll be nice to have the Sport Management background, and maybe one day I’ll want to work in professional sports. Maybe when the lacrosse career is over.”
Sometimes in poker (and life), you can invest in yourself for long periods of time without seeing linear gains. For Curtis, he’s cited his overall passion for the game of poker as what’s kept him going. Unlike in school growing up, he really does like to study and learn new things in the game of poker. He likes the idea of having strategic edges over his opponents and implementing things in his game that can allow him to take advantage of those edges.
“There’s also kind of an infinite learning curve in poker where you can just keep getting better,” he added. “As long as you have the mental capacity, you can just keep going up on the curve. It’s rewarding in that way how you can just keep getting better, and I think I like that aspect of it.”
In a way, that infinite learning curve was also why he pursued his Masters degree. As Curtis put it, it was an investment into new research-based, writing, and presentation skills that may pay off one day.
Curtis has completed nine Friday Quiz Nights to date and will be wrapping up his 10-part series on Friday, April 16 (can change this sentence to past tense if we publish after this date). If you are just finding out about this series for the first time or would like to re-watch any past sessions, all are available within the Pokercode community for you to catch up on.
Much in the theme of this story, Curtis views his Quiz Nights as another opportunity to grow while being able to help others along the way. It’s one thing to understand a concept, but it’s a whole other thing to be able to explain it to others, answer questions, and so on.
“It’s something new, and it’s challenging, and it’s added a bit of accountability, and it’s been fun. I’m not sure what I’ll do next but I think there’s room to either do more quizzes or maybe, eventually do some kind of coaching video. (But) I’m not sure, I really haven’t thought about it too much.”
Curtis’ journey has not necessarily been spotted with huge breakthroughs as much as it has seen him consistently grow through hard work, though 2020 was definitely the most successful of his career. Poker still excites him and he’s still planning to pursue his ascent through the stakes as long as that remains unchanged. With that being said, he’s also not looking too far out into the future with any prescribed life to follow, either. The goal is just to keep improving and trust the process.
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