Poker-Playing Local Fisherman Profiled By NY Times

Source: Jim Henderson via Wikimedia Commons

Folks strolling along the Emmons Avenue pier may notice the dinner boats, the restaurants and the swans in the Bay. And, of course, that local trademark: groups of fishermen, at the crack of dawn, continuing Sheepshead Bay’s traditional line of work.

The New York Times ran a profile of one of the fishermen, 28-year-old Kyle Kaltenmaier, who works on the Sea Queen 7, a party boat that docks along Emmons Avenue.

Kaltenmaier, who is from Woodhaven, Queens, is a first mate and an aspiring professional poker player. Better known as “Dolphin” to his crew, he reels in as many customers off the street as he does fish of the day.

The day the Times was there, he pulled 20 would-be fishermen for one of the Sea Queens’ three cruises.

On the boat, after the rods are hooked and baited, the lines are dropped and everyone relaxes, Kaltenmaier’s job is telling fishing tales like a modern-day Hemingway.

He talks about the whale he saw off the Rockaways and fishing disasters he’s had to avert with novice anglers.

As fulfilling as his life may seem, Kaltenmaier wants to take a break from the sea and spend more time in the casinos. As an aspiring professional Texas hold’em player, he wants to hit it big.

He’s been saving his fishing money and taking breaks in the winter time to work his card shark game in Altlantic City.

“I’ve tried it the past few years, but it’s just never worked out,” he said. “It’s just a matter of getting the right cardS.”

Kaltenmaier said he got into poker after watching passengers playing on the ship. He got so good that he was banned from playing against his customers.

“Poker is a lot like fishing: part luck, part skill,” said Kaltenmaier.