The life of a professional rock climber is not a glamorous one. Just ask André DiFelice, who actually has to pay between $10,000 and $20,000 per year to do the sport that he loves. So how does DiFelice cover this bill? Through live and online poker, which is helping him make a good living while he climbs.
The Canadian-born poker pro wanted to be a professional climber ever since he was 8 years old. And he followed in his brother’s footsteps, who’s also a pro rock climber and part-time poker player.
Unfortunately, DiFelice has undergone some injuries that have forced him to stop climbing for a while. In fact, just recently he tore a tendon in his right arm that left him unable to even grab a cup. But the silver lining here is that it gave him a chance to earn more money through poker.
“You can become injured when you climb too much. Or when you play too much poker, maybe you start not playing so well and that can go downhill very fast,” he told Vice Sports.
“So now that I have two and I’m focused on both, they both seem to be going very well. Basically I’m always motivated to do both. I don’t burn out.”
This balance has really worked in DiFelice’s favor in 2016 since he’s already made six figures through online poker tournaments. He’s also had some decent scores in live tournaments, helping him rack up $60k so far.
When he’s not playing poker or injured from climbing, DiFelice goes to the gym with his brother to train for “bouldering,” a specific niche in rock climbing. The training is like indoor rock climbing that anybody can pay to do, only in this case the climbs are a lot tougher.
Through his training, DiFelice hopes to have a good showing at the 2016 European Poker Tour Grand Final in Monaco. And all along the way, he’ll be playing poker as well to fund the trip.