The photo at the top of this page shows a man named Quentin Krug-Basse. He lives in Paris, France, and is a professional poker player. You may have encountered him at the high stakes Spin & Go tables, where his screen-name is “MiguelBarrera”.
What might not be so clear from just looking at that photo is that this man also goes by the name “fredydruger1” on Twitter, where he is a self-confessed trash-talking, meme-making menace.
“Maybe it’s because of the way I look that I thought this would be fun,” Krug-Basse says in a recent interview, copping to his double life as someone who takes gleeful pleasure in hurling insults from behind his keyboard. “In real life, I’m not really this type of guy. Maybe that’s why I found it fun to be like that online. I don’t know.”
In person, Krug-Basse is every bit as mild mannered, softly spoken and pleasant as that photo would make you believe. But “fredydruger1” is a different beast, inspired by the so-called Bad Boys of Detroit, who growled through the NBA in the 1980s.
THE UNLIKELY ‘BAD BOY’
“It happened gradually, via Twitter,” Krug-Basse says. “I just started posting some memes and some funny stuff at some point. I tried different tones. I tried to mock myself. I tried to mock my opponents. I try to laugh at everybody. And maybe like a writer or a humorist, I developed my style over time. And it evolved to this character who is bullying my opponents, saying, ‘I’m the best, you’re the worst’ stuff like that.”
He continues: “I watch a lot of biographies, from sports players and entrepreneurs. I think it’s better for your mindset than what a mindset coach can bring you. I like to know what people are about. I think one day I saw one about the Detroit bad boys, and I loved it. How they were insulting people, fighting with each other, really putting all their hearts in the job. I just decided to do something similar.”
Flick through the fredydruger1 timeline and you’ll see the kind of thing: disparaging remarks about broke poker players, photos of graveyards supposedly housing the regs who tried to play high stakes online games.
In one tweet, Krug-Basse is pictured relaxing on a couch in his house, the box of a huge new TV clearly visible in the background. “Flexing with Portuguese regs’ money,” it reads.
Quick picture of me, flexing with portuguese regs’ money. Felt cute. Might delete later 🤭 pic.twitter.com/QuGJVfWfk5— fredydruger (@fredydruger1) December 12, 2022
“For now I’m having fun doing it,” Krug-Basse says. “Maybe in the future I will stop because sometimes it gets a bit too personal, and some people take it too personally. That’s not what I want. I just want to make it funny. But if people don’t like it, or it gets too personal, I stop doing it.”
SPIN & GO PRO
One of the reasons Krug-Basse is so happy to take on all-comers in the keyboard wars is the confidence he has in his poker game. He has been playing, and beating, high-stakes Spin & Gos for six years, rising to the top of his chosen discipline and making a comfortable career out of it.
On the surface, Spin & Gos seem like a volatile environment in which to ply your trade. Stacks are short, levels are fast and the deck will always deliver its surprises. But Krug-Basse rejects the idea that Spin & Go players are more susceptible to variance than players who favour other variants. Especially if one understands the mechanics and has done the homework.
“It’s a bit of a popular myth that Spins are high variance, but actually they’re not,” he says. “If we compare the results from MTT players and Spin & Go players, for example, we will see that Spin & Go players have a more steady and regular income. Spin & Go players don’t really have losing months, or multi-month losing streaks like you can have in MTTs. I believe MTT players, even in high stakes, can even have losing years.
“In Spin & Gos, if you have a losing year, you are definitely doing something wrong. You’re not that professional, I guess.”
THE CARING, SHARING TROLL
This solid grasp of the poker fundamentals allows Krug-Basse to present a relaxed and easy-going manner; at ease with his game and his position in the wider poker eco-system. He adds that in between berating opponents, he is always relaxed in sharing what he knows with other players. He sees no reason to keep his knowledge secret.
“Even not at the table, I like to talk a lot, I like to help beginners,” he says. “I like to share. I don’t mind sharing my results, sharing strategies, sharing promotions or sharing some kind of edge that I’m found. I think a lot of poker players like to hide a lot of stuff because they think they will win more, or they think that if they reveal their secrets, their edge will disappear. I like to do the total opposite.”
He adds: “I talk a lot to people and I think it helps to make this job more human. I’m playing at home, I’m not meeting anybody, so I think having this kind of social talk on the side makes it more enjoyable. So I do trash talk people for fun, and maybe for strategy. And on top of that I just talk with people as if they were my colleagues or co-workers or just friends. I like to talk a lot.”
One of Krug-Basse’s other recent tweets features a screenshot from a PokerStars Blog article discussing the $10 million already in the PSPC prize pool from the 420+ Platinum Passes awarded so far.
He is barbed, of course — “« That means more than $10.2 million of dead money » fyp,” fredydruger1 suggests — but the tongue is firmly in the cheek for this one.
Krug-Basse himself is one of those Platinum Pass winners, having qualified through the Platinum Grind promotion back in 2020. Playing high volume, high stakes Spin & Gos meant he qualified for a Platinum Pass without even slightly changing his regular poker diet, and considers the prize a very welcome bonus.
“It was just a gift from PokerStars to players in a similar situation to me,” he says. “It was really great. We were asked to pay a certain amount of rake in a limited time, but high stakes Spin & Go players will do that on a regular basis.
“One day, we noticed this promotion and we were like, ‘OK, we continue to do what we do and we get the Platinum Pass on top of everything.’
“You can imagine it brought a lot of action to the tables…It was some kind of rush. It was a perfect post-Christmas gift.”
The Christmas he is referring to is the one from 2019, and he won his Platinum Pass in the early months of 2020, before the pandemic swept the world and forced the long delay to the PSPC.
After such a long wait, Krug-Basse is now champing at the bit to get to the Bahamas, dead money or not.
“At some point I think we were all scared that it might never happen,” he says. “But I’m very excited that we are going to go there finally.”
GROWING INTO THE GAME
Like all poker players, Krug-Basse looks back at his earliest days playing poker with a mixture of amusement and despair. But says that when he decided to focus more, and apply himself, the pieces began to fall into place.
He initially started in home games with friends, dabbling in numerous variants and in games that sometimes only loosely resembled poker. But he then encountered Texas hold’em on TV thanks to broadcasts of the EPT and PCA. He watched intently, sometimes late into the night.
“I was seeing guys who were my age or a bit older winning millions,” he recalls. “I was like, well, that really seems great. I would love to do that.”
His time playing low-stakes online tournaments and occasional 1c-2c cash games didn’t yield the riches he had sought. But a more committed investment to study proved to be a turning point, and he fell in love with analysing poker much more profoundly.
“One day I really changed,” he says. “I joined a school and discovered that the strategy was really deeper than I was thinking.”
Krug-Basse had once been set on a career as a sound engineer, living in Montreal and working for a company that made music for video games. Although he acknowledges that that too is the kind of career that many people would love to pursue, poker just seemed to be even more attractive.
“I would love to do it probably in the future, but the kind of money you can earn is nowhere near what you can have in poker,” he says. “Also poker gives you a lot more interesting stuff: the freedom, the scheduling and so on.”
He adds: “This was not my main career intention. One day, I was like, maybe I should try and see how it goes. And it went well.
“It just happened like that. I wasn’t bold enough to really believe I could make it. I had it in part of my mind, like you might think you like to be a rock star or a football player, without really believing it. But it happened some day. I tried my luck and it worked out pretty well. It’s been my main job for four years now, and I don’t think I will change soon.”
He made quick and consistent progress through the stakes, always studying and honing his skills. He also became a prominent figure in online discussion forums, both in the French-speaking and international poker worlds, gradually developing the online persona he now inabits.
GETTING INTO PEOPLE’S HEADS
“I like to be the online bully and try to get in their heads,” he says. “I also just like to talk a lot to people because, from a mindset point of view, I like to know my opponents. Because if I know my opponents, and I talk to them, it’s more like a friendly competition. If I don’t know them, I see them as an opponent, as a villain, and it’s a bit more tough for me.”
He adds that all of this happens strictly away from the tables. He keeps chat turned off when he’s playing, but that the player pool for high stakes online Spin & Gos is relatively small, so he can get to know many of his table-mates in other arenas.
He also underlines that he’s not going to do much trash-talking at the PSPC, where he’ll be squatting in other players’ domain.
AN UNFAMILIAR ENVIRONMENT IN THE BAHAMAS
Krug-Basse admits that his almost total lack of MTT experience leaves him stepping into the unknown at the PSPC. He has discussed with other Platinum Grind winners how to extract the maximum value from the Platinum Pass. But while many of his Spin & Go-playing colleagues have temporarily switched to bigger tourneys, and have even been playing live, he has taken a less demanding approach.
“I decided to not care about it,” he says. “It’s a freeroll. If I work a lot, this will maybe only boost my expected ROI by a few percent. I’m just crossing fingers and hoping I will make a full house versus flush on day three, something like that. I have zero preparation. I’ll just go there and hope for the best.”
That said, it hasn’t stopped him dreaming of the title — and preparing his winner’s speech.
“If I win or go deep, I’ll probably say all MTT pros are just terrible at this game, stuff like that,” he says. “If I win, in my interview, I’ll probably say this was too easy. I don’t know.
“If I don’t go deep, I will probably keep it to myself. I’m not expecting any win or any kind of return for this, so I really see it as a true bonus. If I get eliminated fast, I’ll just enjoy the holiday and I think it will be great.”
For all the bluster, Krug-Basse is clearly greatly looking forward to the trip to the Bahamas. He will get to meet for the first time many of the players he knows intimately from the online tables and the poker forums. Plus the TV presenters and commentators who first introduced him to poker.
“There is at least maybe 10 or 20 players that I will meet that I faced online a lot,” he says. “Not only opponents. Some guys that I really like, and I’ve met online but haven’t had the opportunity to meet in real life.
“Benny and Yu, from the French streaming, and MTT pros that I like and look out for. Even if I get eliminated on the first day, I’m sure I’ll have a very good experience meeting everybody and having some drinks.”
Of course, in his particular case, that may come with its own problems.
“There might be some people angry at me,” he says. “I hope none of them will want to kick my ass. We’ll need some security there.”
OTHER PLATINUM PASS PROFILES
- TANAY SAMANT: PLATINUM PASS WINNER WORKING TO CURE CANCER
- JONATHAN NEWMAN: ‘LIFELONG LEARNER’ TRADES CLASSROOM FOR POKER SUCCESS
- STEPHEN GRAY: FREEROLLING EN ROUTE TO AN OIL RIG
- FRANCO SPITALE: CHARITY SPURS SPITALE AFTER COLLAPSED LUNG AGONY
- BRANDON MEANS: TRICK OR TREAT…OR PLATINUM PASS
- RISH IYER: WOMEN’S CHAMP AIMING FOR PSPC TELL-ALL