Top 5 Cities for Poker Professionals
By Scott Carlson, Rakeback.com Poker News Senior Writer
Most online players we spoke to throughout the World Series of Poker had the same idea about online poker in the post-Black Friday landscape. “If I don’t hit a big score this summer I am going to have to decide between getting a real job or moving out of the U.S. to play online.”
Who wants a real job?
So, we’ve compiled a list for the players that didn’t bink that big score this summer and just want to GTFO of the USA. Without further ado, here are the top 5 cities for wayward poker players looking to begin living “the dream” again.
5. North Front, Gibraltar
The lone European location on our list, Gibraltar has a lot to offer for the lost gambler. Gibraltar is located off of the southern coast of Spain. Their subtropical climate offers its residents warm summers and mild winters capped with 300 days of sunshine per year. With a number of online gaming companies residing in Gibraltar, you can feel safe about online poker being around for years to come. If you need a live tournament fix, the European Poker Tour and World Poker Tour offers events just a short flight away.
Added benefit – English is widely spoken here, as it’s the official language so Americans who don’t speak Spanish are in luck.
Drawback: Gibraltar is one of the most densely populated areas in the world. The population per square mile is about 50% more dense than in Los Angeles.
4. Macau, China
There are several advantages to naming Macau as your preferred choice of residence. First off, cost of living is significantly lower than the United States. Additionally, U.S. citizen can enter Macau (and Hong Kong) without a visa and are allowed to stay for up 30 days. Macau, dubbed the “Vegas of Asia” also has several casinos that offer poker and recently the gaming revenues of Macau surpassed even Las Vegas. The old school Grand Lisboa is home to PokerStars Macau and several tournament series are offered including the Macau Poker Cup and Asia Pacific Poker Tour.
Players looking for female “companionship” will also be pleased to know that prostitution is 100% legal in Macau (not that we’d know). The famous walk occurs near the Hotel Lisboa and is quite a sight to see. Finally, the new Cotai strip boasts a Las Vegas feel with new mega hotel-casinos going up seemingly each month – Don’t miss the World’s largest rooftop wave pool at the Galaxy Hotel or the largest casino in the world- the Venetian Macau.
Added benefit – P4P
Drawback: You are dealing with the Chinese government and things can change at any moment from blocking internet websites to denying entry into the country. Plus, with Portugese as a second language to Chinese, getting around with English is dicey at times.
3. Vancouver, Canada
If you can find a way around the visa issue like Phil Galfond did (and not Daniel Cates), Vancouver is as close to home a U.S. player will get in the world. The cost of living is slightly higher but Vancouver is one of the more gorgeous cities in the world. If you are a hockey fan you can grab tickets to the Stanley Cup runner-up Canucks. Also, if you are homesick, a trip back to mom and dad’s house is just a short flight away.
Added benefit – The standard of living is as close (if not better) to the U.S. as you will get. English (complete with funny accent, eh) is obviously spoken here.
Drawback: Getting a visa to stay in the country is difficult, plus social medicine will have you waiting hours for routine procedures.
2. Bangkok, Thailand
Where else can you live in a sick house with tons of poker friends (insert laughter here). Cost of living in the Thai capital city of Bangkok is a whopping 50-70% cheaper than the U.S. This is the perfect location for the grinder on a budget. Rumor has it that you’ll be “middle class” with an income of around $1,000 USD per month. Ship that.
Added benefit – The cost of living is dirt cheap. Also, The Hangover 2 was filmed here. How cool is that?
Drawback: Safety due to recent civil unrest is something to consider before moving, although the crime threat is lower that most major U.S. cities.
1. San Jose, Costa Rica
The Central American country of Costa Rica is home to a number of online gaming companies. Cost of living is cheaper when compared to the average U.S. city. The tropical climate is sure to help you forget about snow and cold weather during the winter months. Costa Rica boasts a total 800 miles of shoreline with the Pacific Ocean in the west and the Atlantic Ocean in the east. Players wanting a live-poker fix can play in the Latin American Poker Tour which has tournament stops throughout Central and South America.
Added benefit – U.S. citizens can purchase property that is backed by title insurance agents located in America.
Drawback: Crime against foreign visitors has been reported frequently including pick pocketing and robbery.
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