US Poker Pros Facing Complications Playing AbroadAugust 11, 2011 8:05 am
In the U.S. more than 50,000 people listed “online poker” as their primary source of income before April 15th when the Department Of Justice shut down the four biggest U.S. facing poker sites.
In the ensuing upheaval, online poker pros were faced with the prospect of having to try transferring their skills to the live bricks and mortar arena. However, this was not seen as a viable option for many and, as Bryan Devonshire explained in his blog:
“I’m driving to Vegas now. It’s depressing to have to commute for hours, get there, wait on a list and then play 1/15 of the hands I would normally play online…I have a depressed attitude and a disdainful sentiment toward my own government.”
Another option for the now disenfranchised online pros was a seemingly drastic move abroad, but this also isn’t quite as clear cut as it would seem as Daniel “jungleman12” Cates found out recently after being turned away at the Canadian border.
The problem would seem to revolve around obtaining a working visa by listing ‘online poker player’ as a profession. Furthermore, many countries are wary about simply allowing people in in order to by-pass US Laws.
However, some pros undeterred, seem to be considering ways around this with Justin Bonomo, Issac Haxton and five friends planning a move to possibly Melbourne, Malta or Madrid. Nevertheless, they still face many complications, such as the duty to report to Immigration every 90 Days and as Justin Bonomo explains:
“It’s not like you can get a work visa if you’re playing online poker full-time. When [your paperwork] expires, you’ve got to leave the country and get it renewed; it’s not a big deal, but it isn’t something you can ignore.”
Many US poker players are currently facing an uncertain future as they try to continue on their chosen career paths. Players so far finding success in re-locating include Phil “OMGClayAiken” Galfond and Cole South now playing from Canada. Daniel Negreanu and Andrew “Foucault” Brokos, too, have returned back to their native Canada in order to continue their sponsorship tenure at PokerStars.