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US Online Poker Players Expatriate Gamble Pays Off

19/04/13 8:29 PM

Online poker players can be as patriotic as the rest of their countrymen, no matter what country they come from. But when you make a good living online playing poker, and your country’s justice system shuts down the companies where you earn your money, your hand has been forced. That is what happened when the US effectively banned online poker in 2011 by shutting down the big three online poker sites. United States Online poker players who love their country were forced to make a very difficult decision.

Those players would have preferred to stay in the United States and pursue their careers in the land that they love, happily paying taxes to help support their country. But when PokerStars, Full Tilt and Absolute Poker were forced to stop operating in the United States on April 15, 2011, the day known as the dreaded tax deadline in the US received another dark moniker. That day is known as Black Friday in the United States online poker community, and while no player has ever been charged with any crime involving online gambling in the US, online poker players now had to find a new place to shuffle up and deal virtually.

Nathan Singer is one of hundreds of successful online poker players who reluctantly left the United States to continue to earn a decent living, and he currently makes thousands of online poker decisions a day in Boquete, Panama. Playing multiple games at once, some days playing for as much as nine hours and some days for less than an hour, Singer says he makes about $70,000 a year playing online poker. Singer is one of many Internet poker players who make automatic decisions, sometimes with little or no conscious thought, playing multiple games at one time.

Originally from California, he and his four roommates live near the Costa Rican border, and are among hundreds of professional poker players who have been forced to move abroad. He says that he feels sometimes like a traitor for leaving his beloved United States, but that since online poker allows him to live such a free and easy lifestyle, while still making good money, he had virtually no choice. Destinations with tropical climates like Costa Rica, Mexico and Thailand have also become favorite expat spots for US online poker players.

Singer said he and his friends chose Panama because it is close to the United States, has a good infrastructure, and also supplies something that online poker players definitely need … a fast Internet connection. The Californian plays up to 16 tables at once, and voicing the sentiment of his four roommates the Panamanian ex-patriot online poker pro would much prefer to be living in the United States. Singer is the most successful player in a house that usually makes around $25,000 to $35,000 a month. With Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware recently legalizing online poker, Singer says that he can see a happy return to the United States sometime in the future.

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