We took a lot at some notable pros who moved abroad for poker, past and present.
Whether it was to get back to grinding after poker left the US, or for other reasons, these poker players all shared their experiences in blogs or interviews, inspiring others to do the same.
Considered one of the toughest NL HU players online, Isaac Haxton made the move to Malta shortly after Black Friday.
The Mediterranean Island and tax haven is synonymous with poker, with a large community of grinders, many online rooms setting up operations there, and its live poker scene including EPT and WPT events.
Katie ‘hotjenny314’ Dozier, co-author of several poker books with husband Collin Moshman, is a 15 tabling MTT and SNG specialist and Grindettes member – a group representing successful women in poker.
Katie and Collin now enjoy by the beach in Rosarito, home to a lively community of poker players. Another reason for choosing Mexico was its proximity to Vegas for live tournaments.
Due to Danish taxation laws, the 2008 WSOP Champion stood to lose around $6.6 million of his $9.1 million Main Event win.
Understandably, the 22 year old Dane relocated to a trendy suburb in London to avoid that. Gambling is legal and untaxed in the United Kingdom, including online poker.
PokerStars Team Online’s Kevin ‘WizardOfAhhs’ Thurman is a multiple time Supernova Elite, CAP games specialist and training site founder.
He made several video blogs about making the move to Canada to get back online, including showing his baller three story pad by Lake Okanagan, British Columbia.
Destination: Costa Rica
High stakes SNG specialist and coach Grayson ‘spacegravy’ Physioc was the first noted poker pro to move to Costa Rica and also Poker Refugees first client. He set up a poker training centre in the Central Valley, blogging his journey.
He even lived in Costa Rica for a while several years prior to Black Friday – Costa Rica is a popular spot for entrepreneurs, with a westernized culture and partial exemptions on income taxes.
Another member of the Grindettes quartet, we interviewed Katie back in 2013. Like Katie Dozier, she’s a tournament grinder and lives by the ocean in sunny Rosarito.
She told us she feels safer as an expat in Mexico than she did living in a gated community in Las Vegas, and that her monthly expenses in the beachfront villa she shares with other poker players are under $1k.
Online phenomenon Justin ‘ZeeJustin’ Bonomo moved to Malta to join Isaac Haxton and Steve O’Dwyer, a few months after Black Friday.
Bonomo said in interviews that he found it difficult to adapt to live poker, finding it slow and less profitable than online.
Ex Full Tilt Red Pro and Cardrunners coach Brian Hastings is a HU crusher, known for his $4.2 million win over Isildur1 – the largest amount won in a single day online – and three WSOP bracelets.
Like Phil Galfond, Hastings picked Vancouver as his new outpost for online poker, a popular spot with a high standard of living, cultural diversity and cleanliness – the mayor plans on making it the greenest city in the world by 2020.
Daniel ‘jungleman12’ Cates began looking to move abroad after Full Tilt left the US market, locking up around 80% of his $7 million bankroll with it.
After being denied entry to Canada due to problems with his visa (should’ve called PokerRefugees!) the 25 year old Maryland native now resides in the UK.
Maria Ho moved to the US from Taiwan at the age of four, but now calls Canada home, having moved to Vancouver from Las Vegas. Along the way she’s amassed over $2.6 million in gross tournament earnings and starred in CBS show The Amazing Race.
Vancouver was a perfect pic being close to Vegas and on the West Coast. It’s also Poker Refugees’ #1 destination in Canada. Since relocating she’s been grinding on PokerStars a lot more as ‘Femmeonfelt’, including a recent win in the Sunday 500.