ref·u·gee/refyo͝oˈjē: One that flees; especially; one that flees to a foreign country
Our team is as diverse as our players, but a few things we have in common are local knowledge, international experience and the sincere desire to help our clients relocate and readjust as fast as possible. We are passionate about helping our clients travel and relocate around the world to play poker. We're all "Refugees" who have done it ourselves, and love to help others follow their passion.
Kristin Wilson – Owner & Founder
She may not be known for her poker skills (yet), but many of her friends and clients are. Kristin's entrepreneurial drive and free spirit propelled her to step directly from graduating from the University of Central Florida with a degree in International Business and an MBA straight into the jungles of Costa Rica in late 2005. Since then she has helped hundreds of people retire, relocate or start businesses in Central America, having helped found 3 real estate offices for international franchises in 2 countries before 2008.
A former champion professional surfer from Florida, Kristin has been a renegade traveler since age 15, having visited at least 20 foreign countries in addition to residing in Nicaragua, Australia and Puerto Rico – mostly by herself. Her first experience living abroad was in 2002 - 2003 when she was sent to Costa Rica (coincidentally) to serve as an Ambassadorial Scholar of the United States. The combination of experience in real estate, relocation and independent international travel allows her to identify with individuals who are traveling or moving abroad for the first time and make their move as seamless and stress-free as possible.
- Facts you may not know about Kristin:
- She's fluent in Spanish & English
- She had a dog named Renegade once
- She started college at age 16
- She's used to consistently fail the "Career Interest Inventory" tests in middle school
- Her first car in Costa Rica was a 4-wheeler
- Her nickname in Spanish is 'Machita' or blondie
Mauricio Arguedas – Costa Rica Translator, Driver & Concierge Assistant
Affectionately known as "Mau", players will most likely meet him if you are moving to Costa Rica's Central Valley. He's our go-to guy for translating, shopping trips and concierge services when he's not mud bogging on the weekends with the Costa Rica Land Rover Club.
Mark-Daniel Hughes – Canada Poker Liaison
Mark-Daniel, known as MD in the poker community in Vancouver, has been involved in poker for over six years. At 19, he began grinding live cash games and online tournaments full time. In August of 2011 he decided to retire from playing full-time and has since turned his focus to other aspects of the game. He has written articles for poker magazines, reported on live tournaments and has been the personal assistant to several of Vancouver's elite poker players. More recently, he has worked as a consultant for tournament design and poker event planning. He played a major role in designing the events and structures for the West Coast Poker Championship poker series held at the Edgewater Casino in downtown Vancouver each fall. Last fall he also acted as the poker host for Edgewater, where he helped organize weekly higher stakes games and assisted in growing their poker room's social media and marketing. We're lucky to have him as a resource for all our players relocating to Vancouver and for advice on living in Canada in general.
Keith Pearson - Ecuador Poker Liaison
Hailing from New Jersey, Keith graduated with a Master's Degree in International Trade at the University of Arizona and studied abroad on a Spanish language exchange before honing his online poker skills in recent years. After Black Friday, he moved to South America and now calls Ecuador home, helping other poker players feel just as welcome. He plays cash games, coaches on the side and is also involved in other tourism and teaching activities. He's been to Ecuador 12 times since college, claiming that Guayaquil City is "an awesome place with a great vibe, really friendly outgoing people, great nightlife, and has become modernized over the past few years. We are only 1 hour to the nearest beach, and 1.5 hours to Salinas, which is one of the nicer beach resort areas in South America. It is extremely cheap and having the best of both worlds really does make a difference."
So if you are searching for a new place to play and especially if you are on a budget, we highly recommend Guayaquil as a destination. The combination of cheapness, friendliness, great food, city/beach contrast and beautiful women makes it a great option to grind and experience a new culture while outside your home country.
Julian Orozco - Mexico Poker Liaison
A local hailing from Mexico City, Julian has lived in Australia, New Zealand and Europe from 1997 through 2008. Since 2009 he has lived in Cabo, Baja California Sur, working with his own business developing upscale services for foreign tourists in the area. Julian helps Poker Refugees players with concierge services, legal advice, rental properties and tax strategies.