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Moving to Play Poker in the United Kingdom – FAQ

Why the UK Poker Internet Costs Where to Live Visas / Banking Lifestyle

playing-online-poker-in-london

We interviewed expat blogger and grinder ‘blackgerbil1’ about life in the UK and his advice for players thinking of relocating to the UK for online poker.

Why Poker in the UK

– Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I’m originally from Birmingham, UK, and grinded there for years. Later on I moved to Asia, grinding in Thailand and Vietnam but head back home from time to time.

PokerRefugees.com have helped over 500 poker players to move abroad.

Everyone’s solid now so I focus more on blogging, but I’ve still got my finger on the pulse when it comes to poker. I grinded iPoker 100-200nl for years, and was pretty active in the iPoker regs thread on TwoPlusTwo.

– Why is the UK a good spot for people playing poker abroad?

As you probably know gambling is 100% legal and untaxed here, which includes online poker, live casino winnings, everything.

Many EU pros move here to avoid taxes, like Peter Eastgate after his WSOP win. Then some US pros wanting to get back on PokerStars / Full Tilt., e.g. Daniel Cates (jungleman) moved to London.

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Then of course there’s the high quality of life, safety, fast internet, all the things you’d expect. A lot of cultural diversity and tons of live poker options, EPT / WPT / UKIPT / GUKPT events.

You can get a Schengen visa and do a road trip across all countries in Europe, a mini poker tour across Amsterdam, Budapest etc. Girls are hotter in those countries too.

– Haha, any other disadvantages?

Yeah apart from the chicks (Liv Boeree one exception) British food also gets a bad rep.

Liv Boeree, poker pro from Kent, England. That British accent!

However there are tons of international restaurants everywhere. Chinese and Indian food on every streetcorner, or Just-Eat.co.uk is a good food delivery site.

Weather is a bit gloomy, but just hop on the Eurostar and you’re in Paris in 2 hours for $50 or so. Cheap airlines like Easyjet or Ryanair can get you to beaches on the South of France or Costa Del Sol for about the same.

Or a ‘booze cruise’ from Dover to Calais via car ferry is a popular activity, to sample European beers.

– How would you rate safety in the UK?

About the same as the US, there’s CCTV on every street corner, fast emergency services, etc.

Healthcare is free in the UK, and expats are entitled to that too. There are reciprocal healthcare agreements with other countries. For appointments with a GP or dentist you just need to register for an NHS number.

1-gukpt-uk-poker-tour-blackpool

A typical Grosvenor Casino, this one in Blackpool, one venue for the GUKPT

Poker in the UK

– So no problems accessing poker sites in the UK?

Yeah all poker rooms are open to the UK, one issue with PokerStars is they’ll put you on the dot.uk client rather than the dot.com one for 7% less VIP rewards or so.

Most people I know tend to take advantage of playing on the dot.fr site though, that’s an option for EU residents, you don’t have to be in France. Games are a lot looser on the French tables.

– How do you deposit onto / cash out from poker sites?

Since poker is legal any bank cards work. Skrill eWallet works in the UK too, as does Neteller.

– Casinos in the UK?

Loads yeah, Dusk Til Dawn in Nottingham is a famous one, PartyPoker run a lot of promos for UK players to qualify for live tournaments there.

2-dusk-til-dawn-poker-in-the-united-kingdom

Dusk Til Dawn Poker & Casino, Nottingham

‘The International’ cardroom is a popular one in London (formerly the Gutshot club), or you can find Neil Channing playing high stakes cash games at the Grosvenor Victoria casino.

Basically you’re never that far from a casino or cardroom. The UK Gambling Act of 2005 permitted the opening of ‘supercasinos’, the first of which was Aspers Casino Westfield, in London. Lots of pub (means ‘bar’) tournaments too.

Internet

– How is internet speed in the UK?

You can get e.g. Virgin fibre optic broadband, with speeds of 50 – 152 Mb for £5 – £17.50 per month. 1 GBP is about 1.50 USD or 1.40 EUR. So pretty cheap and fast.

For mobile internet 4G speeds are a little under 15 MBps. Or there’s ‘the Cloud’, which is a free wifi hotspot provider across the country – http://www.thecloud.net/.

3-aspers-casino-uk-london-poker

Aspers Casino, Westfield, Stratford City London

Cost of Living in the UK

– How much does it cost to live in the UK?

Minimum wage in the UK is £6.50/hour, average yearly salary after tax ~£26,000.

Some say London is the only ‘place to be’ really (it can be a bit boring outside the capital) and London is one of the most expensive cities in the world, so you’ll want a higher income than that.

You can do it fairly cheaply if you hang out at student bars, don’t eat out much, share a house with 3 other people, etc.

Somewhere up North you could be thrifty and get by on £1,000 a month, e.g. Manchester has a lot cheaper rentals than London.

British Poker Awards winning player Vicky Coren, interviewed at the UKIPT

– How much are the UK apartments?

In London you’re looking at £400+ renting an individual studio room in a house with other people, or £1000+ for a 1 bedroom flat of your own.

For good deals, sublets and finding flatmates everyone uses Gumtree.com.

Where else to live in the UK, apart from London?

This TwoplusTwo thread had quite a few votes for the South Coast (don’t expect very nice beaches though). Places like Brighton and Bournemouth.

Manchester, Leeds, Nottingham are other options. Or get out of England altogether and go to Dublin (Ireland) or Edinburgh (Scotland).

4-moving-to-uk-poker-gumtree-apartments

Gumtree listing, one bed flat in London for £1,400 ($2,160)

UK Visas / Banking

– Possible to stay long term on UK visas?

You start with standard visitor visas that are valid for 1,2,5 or 10 years stay, up to 6 months each trip – https://www.gov.uk/standard-visitor-visa/overview

After 10 years you can apply to settle in the UK – https://www.gov.uk/long-residence/overview

– Easy to open a the UK bank account?

Fairly straightforward, I’d go with Barclays (easiest for expats), HSBC or Lloyds, and stay away from Nationwide.

Lifestyle

– How big is the the UK poker community?

Pretty big of course, inspired by UK pros like Sam Trickett, Liv Boeree, etc. Then there was the Late Night Poker TV series, that got a lot of people into the game, with Vicky Coren and the Hendon Mob crew. I got into the game at my university poker society.

This the longest TwoPlusTwo thread about poker players moving to the UK, I’m in there posting as ‘PeoplesElbow’ – http://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/92/travel/moving-uk-1260961/

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Comedians David Walliams & Matt Lucas parody British characters on hit TV show ‘Little Britain’

– How to meet British ‘chicks’?

Yeah I think you call them ‘birds’ right? Apart from pubs and clubs there some online options like meetup.com, plentyoffish, match.com, and Tinder is fairly big in the UK.

British girls go crazy on holiday – ‘Brits abroad’ and ‘binge drinking’ are in the news a lot – so you could go where they go, Ibiza, Mayorca, Faliraki, places like that.

The situation is a bit dire though, which might explain why about 1 in 10 Brits don’t live in Britain, instead moving abroad. Maybe bring a girl with you if you’re coming here. One saving grace is there are tons of Eastern European chicks living here.

  All Playing Poker Abroad Interviews
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