Since Black Friday U.S. Poker Pros Emigrating

Pocket Fives came up with an idea to help U.S. poker pros.

Pocket Fives came up with an idea to help U.S. poker pros.

For many Americans, Black Friday, when the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) raided three major online poker rooms and virtually closed down online poker in the nation, was an inconvenience. But for those poker pros who made much of their living playing online, it was a deal breaker, as they could no longer work at their occupation.

It’s true that they were still able to play in Las Vegas at the land-based green felt, but there was no way that a single poker room where a player sits at one table at a time could replace the opportunities afforded by online poker. Most pros play at four, six and even nine tables at a time, trolling for fish, finding them and taking their cash with aplomb. On April 15, 2011, that was all over.


Moving Out

Although players tried to hang in there and stay in the states, many found it extremely difficult. After a few months, it became evident that there would not be a quick settlement to the online poker debate in the U.S. and that meant that if pros who played online wanted a chance to stay solvent, they were going to have to leave America.


Costa Rica

U.S. poker pros are taking their mice and emigrating.

U.S. poker pros are taking their mice and emigrating.

It was the poker forum PocketFives that had a brainstorm that would set the wheels in motion to help online pros relocate and continue to work. Cal Spears, who is a cofounder of the poker forum, and Adam Small, another member of the PocketFives team, developed an idea. Enlisting Kristin Wilson, a friend of Small’s and a real estate agent in Costa Rica, they created the relocation service called Poker Refugees.

Why Costa Rica? Besides the fact that is has a relatively low cost or living and quite a few Americans already live there, it is friendly to online poker and gaming. Wilson, with her expertise in the region, was able to help implement player’s requests.


Making It Happen

The cost of the service is relatively inexpensive. For $1,000, Poker Refugees will help facilitate finding a place to live, creating a locale bank account, arrangements for travel and visas and more. Although they started out focusing on Costa Rica, they are also able to aid players who want to emigrate to Canada and Panama. Additionally, they work in aiding players in moving to other online poker friendly regions such as parts of Europe and Asia.


Coming Home?

It will be interesting to see once online poker is established in the U.S. if players decide to come back to the land they called home. Some probably will but even with the DoJ starting to open the door to online poker in the U.S. by reinterpreting the Wire Act and with increased lobbying of Congress by groups on the pro side of online poker, the ability to play legally over the Internet for a lot of cash is at least a few years away.

Short URL: http://www.ggpokernews.com/?p=1489

Posted by on Jan 28 2012. Filed under Poker Lifestyle. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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