This topic is near to my heart. I have lived with poker pros and been part of the poker community in Australia, Central America and Southeast Asia so this is truly an insider’s guide. We have a seperate page about moving overseas as a professional sports bettor.
Bitcoin has solved most of the complications and problems that made European and US poker pros need to move overseas in the old government currency days.
After black friday hundreds of American grinders moved to place like Costa Rica and Thailand because poker sites would no longer accept their action from the states and because depositing and withdrawing funds from the states was too difficult, slow and expensive.
With Bitcoin these are all non issues but there are still other good reasons to moving overseas as a poker pro.
Pros to moving overseas as a poker pro
- Live where you want, have a better lifestyle.
- Reduced cost of living means you can play lower stakes and still have greater purchasing power.
- More tolerant gambling laws and banking in new location.
- Time zone change to match the fish; for example moving to Central America to play Americans.
Cons to moving overseas as a poker pro
- Time zone change can take you out of sync with fish.
- Visa requirements for staying in your new location are a hassle.
- Isolation from family and old friends, it is a lonely game.
- People in your new country will be unimpressed when you tell them what you do.
Poker stuff to get lined up before you go
- Large poker bankroll and a large life roll so you are not pressured to make quick profit.
- Banking plan to convert bitcoin to government currency and vice versa while overseas. For example don’t have SMS security enabled on your internet banking if you are not in the country to receive the SMS.
- Power converter for your grind station and phone charger.
- There are communities of poker pros around the world who have been through everything you will go through. The average age is early 20s and there is a big fun and lifestyle factor with these guys. To make connections start at the 2+2 Travel forum.
Legalities and realities of poker overseas
The laws and their implementation are constantly changing around the world as are the policies of poker sites. Sites that are restricted by local internet filters can usually be accessed with a virtual private network (VPN) or via mirrors, alternate URLs and proxies that the sites themselves can provide you with or.
The other problem is if the poker sites themselves use geoblocking to not accept customers from the place you move to. In that case use a VPN.
For full details see bitcoin gambling laws and jurisdictions.
Virtual private networks for poker overseas
Poker pros living overseas will arrive at the dilemma of whether or not they should get a VPN to make websites think they are logging in from a country of their choice, or to bypass local internet filters and to encrypt their browsing from hackers and spies.
VPNs do this by routing your connection through a server in your chosen country and giving you a visible IP address from that country.
This is not necessary for playing on most bitcoin sites but could be a good idea for security or if you are going to a country where some of your other favourite websites are blocked or you have other online activities that would benefit from having a VPN. If that applies to you see our big list of bitcoin accepting VPNs.