Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Easy Places for Americans to Move To Overseas After the Presidential Election

Poker Refugees first came onto the scene in 2011 after "Black Friday", which went down in history as the day that online poker officially (and hopefully only temporarily) died in America. We witnessed history in real time as US-facing online poker and gaming sites were seized and shuttered overnight by the US Department of Justice. Since then, thousands of online poker players and sports bettors have escaped America to continue their lives and careers overseas, from friendlier and arguably freer countries. Many of them have used Poker Refugees to facilitate this move. 

It was a controversial concept at first - moving abroad - but over time became the new normal. 

Earlier in 2016, we saw history being made again as Donald Trump won the republican nomination for president and Hillary Clinton became the first female to win the democratic nomination. Almost instantly, voters on the right and the left started threatening to leave the country and googling how to move to Canada. Sound far fetched? Not so much. You can ACTUALLY move abroad if you want to. Millions of Americans already have voluntarily, simply based on the tangible benefits that life abroad offers (pre-political apocalypse).

Today, we collectively witnessed history yet again as one of the most polarizing political candidates ever - Donald J. Trump - became elected president. Half of the country will claim they want to move, and many actually will. 

You may be asking yourself, can YOU move abroad? The answer could realistically be YES, especially if you are already a remote worker, freelancer, online entrepreneur or location-independent in some way. 

Forbes estimates that there are already 53 million freelancers in America alone and by 2020, nearly 50% of the country's workforce will be freelancing in some way (Hey, just in time for the next election!). 

The concept of traipsing around the world, working from a laptop first exploded into public awareness back in 2007 with the publication of Tim Ferris' The Four Hour Work Week. The lifestyle was already realistic back then. Nearly 10 years later, it's no longer a pipe dream.

There's even a widespread term for it these days: "Digital Nomads".

Could you be one of us?

Some examples of remote jobs include: 
  • Blogger
  • Computer programmer
  • Consultant
  • Data Analyst
  • Financial Trader
  • Graphic designer
  • Online or Affiliate Marketer
  • Online Sales: eBay, Amazon, Etsy, etc
  • Professional Gambler
  • Software Engineer
  • Tech Support or Customer Service Agent
  • Web Developer
  • Writer
  • YouTuber
  • And 100,000 other job titles

So WHERE can you move to? 

How long can you stay there? 

You all have many questions, to be sure. 

Here's a list of our most popular time-tested and proven destinations. 

Although absolute utopia doesn't exist, it's fun to look for it. Start here:  

1. Canada: America's neighbor to the north is easily the most obvious choice of where to move during a Trump presidency 


  • Close to home
  • Culturally similar to the US
  • English!
  • Great infrastructure for working online
  • Nature everywhere
  • Ski resorts galore
  • Poutine - if you like french fries and/or cheese, you will like this
  • The Prime Minister is pretty cool
  • Tourist visas for up to 6 months per calendar year with a US passport

CONS: High cost of living in the major cities, strict immigration policies, difficult to get permanent residency, oh - and long (freezing cold) winters

2. Costa Rica: The land of pura vida has been a top retirement haven for decades, and for good reason


  • Easy flight from the US
  • Fiber Optic internet now available
  • Extensive rental market for short and long term furnished rentals
  • Westernized culture and amenities 
  • English widely spoken
  • Consistently ranked as one of the happiest countries in the world
  • Did we mention it's beautiful? CR is the #1 ecotourism destination with one of the best climates on the planet

CONS: One of the most expensive countries in Central America, rising crime rates, disenchanted long-term expats, bad roads

3. Mexico: We hear a lot about Mexicans coming to America, although many Americans are already living south of the border (maybe the wall isn't necessary after all?) 


  • Driving distance from the US
  • Huge, diverse country with cities, beaches and mountains
  • English widely spoken in border and beach towns
  • Friendly, welcoming local people
  • Very low cost of living
  • Unlimited Mexican food and cerveza (duh)

CONS: Developing country with lower comparative standard of living, drug trade-related crime in certain areas, wide gap between rich and poor, inconsistent infrastructure and internet speeds around the country

4. Europe: It could be time to hop back over the pond


  • Highest standard of living in the world, especially in Scandinavia
  • Variety of countries to suit any taste
  • Drink beer or wine during your lunch hour - or anytime for that matter
  • There are more Teslas than pick-up trucks
  • Every conceivable amenity from shopping to restaurants to events to nightlife
  • Tourist visas from 90 days in the Schengen Area to 180 days in UK & Ireland

CONS: Prohibitively expensive (ever been to Monaco?), locals aren't known for being the friendliest in the world, very difficult to get permanent residency without familial ties or a lot of money

5. Australia/New Zealand: Life down under is looking up


  • American standard amenities and infrastructure
  • Politically stable, safe, low crime rates
  • Surfing & skiing
  • Pubs overflowing with pints of beer
  • English-speaking
  • The Crocodile Hunter Zoo
  • More sheep than people in New Zealand

CONS: High cost-of-living, different hemisphere and side of the planet, largely isolated from friends and family back stateside 

6. Asia: China was a hot topic during the heated Trump-Clinton battle, but Asia has even more to offer


  • Extremely affordable - live on as little as $1,000/month or even less
  • Never get bored: There are technically 48 nations in Asia - country hop!
  • Any choice of climate from Siberia to Singapore
  • Amazing food
  • Miles of beaches
  • Advanced telecom structure, especially in SE Asia
  • Did we mention it's cheap? 

CONS: Visa restrictions can be tight with 30-day increments in many cases. Culture shock is an issue for many expats. Also, time zones are opposite the USA. 


So there you have it - the world is your oyster! Sure, moving abroad even temporarily is a daunting undertaking, but that's where we come in. We've been helping individuals move abroad for over 10 years - whether you want to go offshore for a month or forever.

Read a bit more about us here

Contact us here

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Interview with Pro Sports Bettor & Sports Refugees Client, Ryan Turner

Here at Poker Refugees, we've relocated over 550 online gaming pros, and what some people don't know is that many of them include professional sports bettors in addition to online poker players.

In today's blog, we will be sharing a very in-depth interview with one of our sports betting clients who relocated from Canada to Costa Rica to bet on sports.

Read on to find out Ryan's educated insights on: 

  • How to get starting betting sports professionally, coming from a backgroud in financial trading
  • Why it's important to move abroad for success in your sports betting or online gaming career
  • How you can bet on sports full time without physically living in Las Vegas
  • How using a relocation company like Sports Refugees or Poker Refugees is massively helpful
  • What he was most worried about when moving to a different country and how Poker Refugees resolved those concerns
  • In what ways will the sports betting industry evolve in the future and will it help or hurt pros?

Q: Where are you from and how did your career betting sports develop?

A: I’m from Canada and I started out working as a financial analyst with an economics degree.

It was approximately in 2002 that online prediction markets like developed and I quickly realized, just from browsing competing websites, that a new set of opportunities was emerging as a result. I started exploring the sector by arbitraging financial binary options, which turned out to be a good way for me to capitalize on my strengths: I'm more introverted than many in the financial industry, and online gambling allowed me to take my skills and apply them in an environment that was a better fit for my personality. It turned out that this emerging sector not only presented exciting opportunities for financial growth but that it was a kind of work that made me happier.

Once I ventured into the sector I noticed that these sites also offered sports betting, which is structured in exactly the same way as binary options are, but comprises a larger market. Migrating was a no-brainer. I did sports arbitrage for about six years, until I stopped hedging off the other side of the bet. Now I take the liability of the side that has value, thus becoming a real professional gambler. 

Why is it important for sports bettors to have access to international betting sites like Pinnacle and Bet365 compared to US- or Canada-facing sites? 

It’s essential that anyone working as a professional sports gambler have access to as many sites as possible. You would need bookmaker accounts just to check prices. You would need bookmaker accounts to know where value and opportunities are – and not just one or two, but accounts at many sites to transact at the best odds, especially if you have any kind of arbitrage operation.

There are very limited betting opportunities in the local U.S. and Canadian products that are currently available. You can make a living on sports betting in Las Vegas, for instance, but it requires a physical presence in Nevada to do so without the hassle and uncertainty of dealing with brokers. You can also make a living from local Canadian products – for example, by taking advantage of palpable errors in provincial lottery markets (which, in Canada, are never busted). But prices in the betting market move based action that is now global in scope. You cannot have access to the entire market if you are physically based in Canada or the United States.

You also need to be operating in a manner that is consistent with your bookmaker's terms and conditions if you want a reliable annual income. For most casual sports bettors, violating the terms and conditions is not a big deal – but if your income depends on the viability of your account, you’re better off in a jurisdiction like Costa Rica, which allows you to conduct transactions across borders seamlessly, and in compliance with the relevant terms and conditions.   

Would you consider betting sports to be your primary career and source of income? What is your normal schedule/day like throughout the course of the year and sports seasons? Feel free to elaborate as desired.

Absolutely. Betting on sports, and earning interest and dividends on those resulting profits, are my only sources of income.

Like most other jobs, mine has both weekly and annual rhythms. My schedule is driven by the sports leagues: I’m typically working when there is an NFL or NBA game on. And like a teacher, I get July and August off, when those leagues have a break in common.

What was your primary motivation in moving abroad and why? What factors affected your decision to move? 

 It's really very simple: I moved to Costa Rica in order have the legal standing to access the entire global market in sports betting. You just can’t do that in Canada. Costa Rica is a special kind of jurisdiction – it has created a global niche for itself in facilitating this type of work. Nobody is afraid to do business here, while other jurisdictions tend to be more conservative. 

What type steps did you take in researching the move? 

With a relocation of this scope – we're talking about my livelihood, not just a sideline business – due diligence was vital. So was drawing on local experts who could help me navigate the transition confidently. There are times in business when you can afford to take certain kind of risks – when it's an advantage to do so. But you also need to know when to take those chances, and when to go back to the basics and ensure you're starting from a sound foundation. After years in the business Kristin developed an impressive reputation and I knew I could rely on her to help me manage the relocation without exposing me to unnecessary risks along the way. 


How did you come across the Sports Refugees relocation service? 

I first learned of Kristin via anarticle on Bloomberg back in 2011 - “Poker Expats in Paradise.” I didn't have any immediate plans at that point, but her name stuck in my mind: I knew her services might be valuable if I ever decided to expand my sports betting operation, and following her work was good way for me to learn more about what that kind of expansion might entail. By the time I decided make the move, contacting her was one of my first steps – her track record make it an easy decision.

What were your top concerns in moving by yourself and how did SportsRefugees address/resolve those concerns? 

Moving to a new country by yourself is tough, not just practically but on a very human level. In the highly distributed world of Internet work, in particular, the experience can be socially isolating and overwhelming. Something that drew me to online gambling in the first place – the fact that it was a good match for my introverted personality – became a bit of a liability in the context of moving, because I wasn't going to have a ready-made community of colleagues to join, or an easy way to develop a support network in Costa Rica. Kristin creates paths for people like me to make the transition less unsettling – her personal connections and local knowledge made a huge difference in getting me settled.

Walk us through the relocation itself in your eyes. How long was it from the time you contacted Sports Refugees and signed up through actually arriving to Costa Rica and getting set back up with the sites? 

Once I'd made the decision to move, I wanted to make the transition as efficiently as possible, so even though it cost a bit more, I decided to use Kristin's expedited service. I was even able to sign the lease on an apartment she recommended while I was still in Canada.

I landed in San Jose on a Monday afternoon, about two weeks after first contacting Kristin. From the moment I landed, Kristin's local concierge manager kicked into high gear. He was a tremendous help: thanks to his efforts I had essentials like a cellphone as soon as I walked off the plane, a hotel to stay at while I took meetings and got up and running, and a meeting at my first bank the day I arrived.

After that, things kept moving at a good clip. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were “work days” - I would wait by the InterContinental’s pool until the Sports Refugees rep, picked me up and took me to that day's slate of meetings, with banks and the local lawyer we were working with. As we prepared all the local documentation, including bank statements and notarizations, I provided the documents to the bookmakers I dealt with. I don’t speak a word of Spanish, and I didn’t have to – the Sports Refugees employees were my translators as well as my guides.

I set up accounts with two different banks in three days. By Friday, just four days after I arrived, my betting accounts were all switched over to Costa Rica and I was able to open new accounts on sites where I was previously barred from operating, due to residency constraints.


How do you like Costa Rica? Do you find it to be safe, have good infrastructure, have sufficient amenities, shopping, banking services etc? 

Costa Rica is an excellent place to do business. From a gambler’s perspective, the Internet and banking services are first-rate: there's a reason that many large American companies – behemoths like Amazon and Baxter – have huge operations here.

Outside of business operations, it feels quite different. Costa Rican life is obviously a big shift from what I'm used to in North America – you often see it in the smaller details, like the way so many homes are surrounded by security fences. 

Do you feel that the Poker Refugees relocation service was priced fairly and provided significant value for the money? Would you recommend Poker Refugees to others? Why or why not? 

Since I moved my operations to Costa Rica [with Sports Refugees] my average monthly profits have at least doubled. And now that I have the stability and scope to operate on a larger playing field, I’ve been able to invest a considerable amount in software development, to increase the speed with which I place bets and access data. Definitely value for the money.

How was the experience working with Kristin and her local employees on the ground? What are some of the things that most stick out from this experience? 

Everyone was very warm and friendly.

Looking forward, how do you see the future of online sports betting in the US and Canada progressing? Do you think that regulation will create future roadblocks for pro bettors or create more opportunities? 

Canada and the United States are sophisticated countries that want to a capture as much value from gambling markets as they can. The regulation of the gambling industry in these countries is a protectionist restraint of trade masquerading as consumer protection; all of which is ostensibly justified by the negative externalities of gambling. If anything protectionism should intensify because it has the twin engine of a moral cause and a profit stream. Combine this with the fact that because gamblers themselves have no union and no rights. So I don’t see the legal situation in North America improving.


Are you a sports bettor or poker player who wants to maximize your earning potential in your career? If so make sure to contact us at or 

Monday, 21 December 2015

Featured Poker Refugees Reviews of the Month: December 2015

The Poker Refugees & Sports Refugees teams have relocated over 521 professional online gambling professionals since 2011 to as many as 25 different countries. We welcome feedback and testimonials from our clients and are happy to share them with the community. Here are some Poker Refugees Testimonials collected during December, 2015!

Poker Player, Poker Refugees, Swieqi, Malta: 
Kristin was fantastic in regularly advising me on what I needed to do to relocate smoothly to Malta from the UK.

She also helped with everything I needed to organise once I had arrived in Malta, such as opening a bank account, buying a car and ensuring that I had a stable internet connection.

I would definitely recommend her services to anyone who was considering relocating to play poker in another country. -John N

Sports Bettor, Sports Refugees, Jaco, Costa Rica
Wow, what an epic 7 day journey that was! 

Six months ago I came across Poker Refugees when I was searching for ways to open multiple sports betting accounts such as (Bet365, Pinnacle, The Greek etc). I reached out to Kristin to learn more about her brand and everything she had to offer when it came to helping me get set up with hose accounts. After speaking with her briefly via email I learned that she was a relocation specialist and has helped many poker players and sports bettors relocate over the years. 

Over the next 5 months I contemplated all of the pros and cons of following my dream of being a professional sports bettor who had to live in another country. Finally after much consideration, I decided that I could not take it anymore and need to get on the sites that offered me so many more betting options than what I was getting in the US. I called Kristin back up and asked her what it would take to get me set up in Costa Rica in a week. She laughed, and said no problem. So I moved forward and joined the team.

The next 7 days was a complete whirlwind, in the sense that moving to another country that you have never been to, on 7 days notice is no joke. However, Kristin and her whole team made this process so easy on me that I feel like we have been planning this move for two years! At no point in the 7 days of my relocation did I ever feel like she wasn't in control of the situation, and knew EXACTLY what she was doing. She helped with everything from finding a condo on the beach in my price range, setting up all travel, bank account, multiple sports betting sites with a VIP no limit Skrill account, phones, drivers,and so much more. She is still here to help me with any and all questions I have in my new environment here in Costa Rica. 

I will for sure introduce Kristin to a whole group of people who I know want to live the life of a traveling sports investor, and I am confident that she will be connected to us for the years to come as we continue on our journey that we have dreamed about for so many years. 

Thank you for all you do Kristin and the whole Poker Refugee team! I don't know if it would have been possible to make this dream a reality with out all of your help. -Cheers, Pat M, Costa Rica

Poker Player, Poker Refugees, Jaco, Costa Rica
There were a few speed bumps in moving here but Kristin was dedicated and made sure that everything would be completed. It speaks volumes of someone's character when things don't go as planned and they are still able to come through. I really appreciate [Poker Refugees'] help. -John F

Poker Player, Poker Refugees, Malta:
I loved the service. Made moving here really easy for me and allowed me just to focus on poker. Kristen was so nice and helpful during every phase very helpful I chose to use Poker Refugees. -Ian 

Poker Player, Poker Refugees, Cuenca, Ecuador:
I was very pleased with the whole package.  Kristen and Cristina were both very friendly and helpful.  I would have been completely lost doing this on my own.  It is a great value for the money! -Mara P

Want to move for online poker or relocate to be a sports bettor? Then you will have your own story to tell! 

Monday, 9 November 2015

How Phil Galfond Moved to Canada for Online Poker

April 15, 2011 is a day that has been branded into the minds of countless poker pros. On the date infamously dubbed 'Black Friday', the US Department of Justice seized the domain names of the three largest online poker sites.

This sent the online poker world into a frenzy, with many pros having to make the tough choice between moving abroad to continue playing poker or finding a new career path.

That was the choice Phil Galfond – online cash games phenomenon and video training site founder – had to make.

The Decision

One of the most famous poker pros to relocate abroad

Ultimately Galfond, a self-described 'homebody', realized the opportunity cost that was at stake and made the move to Vancouver, Canada.

Vancouver was a logical choice for Galfond. It's a beautiful city of around 600,000 people (2.3 million in the greater metro area) and conveniently close to the US border.

Canada is a popular choice for many Poker Refugees clients, as our services for finding properties, opening bank accounts, and handling other logistics help make for a smooth and hassle-free transition.

It's also a very international city, boasting one of the most ethnically diverse metro areas in the world.

Galfond’s Upswing

For the poker pro who goes by the aliases 'OMGClayAiken' and 'MrSweets28' online, the change of venue turned out to be just what was needed.

Earlier that year, Galfond had struggled through one of the worst downswings of his career. After arriving in Vancouver, however, he went on a $600,000 upswing – not a bad welcoming gift.

He also surely enjoyed Canada's flexible tax laws on gambling winnings. Our Canadian team can fill you in on details about how to best approach the tax situation as a poker player.

Stress-Free Poker Abroad

Relocating to a new place can be fun and exciting. But sometimes, it also comes with a dose of stress. Getting used to a different culture, rules, and regulations can be a challenge, especially for those with limited experience living abroad.
At Poker Refugees, we go out of our way to make relocation easy and convenient for our customers. With custom orientation packages, referrals to local expat communities, and property searches from a team with 10 years of real estate experience, we simply make your life easier.

We do what we're good at, so our customers have more time to focus on what they're good at – playing poker. Once you take out the stress of relocating, the change of environment can really be invigorating.

After leaving the US, Galfond was finally able to put all the turmoil and stress of US poker laws behind him. He was able to clear his mind, get out of his slump, and focus his attention on poker, resulting in that $600,000 upswing.

Other players have been finding similar effects from moving abroad to play poker – realizing that a change of location can really help to re-sharpen their focus.

Why Move to Vancouver

Canada is often characterized as being a barren, frozen tundra of sorts, and for some parts that may be accurate. But being located near the ocean, Vancouver has one of the mildest climates in Canada.

Many find it quite nice, especially if you're not the type of person who needs 90+ degree (32+ Celsius) tropical weather year-round.

One aspect that Vancouver does share with the rest of Canada is its low crime rate. Compared to any major US city, safety issues in Vancouver are basically unheard of.

There's also a strong poker presence in the local expat community. For players who want access to live games as well, there is plenty of action to be found – both cash games and tournaments.

Although housing and apartment prices are generally pretty reasonable in Canada, it's important to remember that Vancouver is one of the more desirable cities to live in the world right now, and finding a nice apartment in the city center won't be super cheap.

However, Poker Refugees' team has over 10 years of real estate experience. In addition to helping you find the right property for you, they can assist you in negotiating prices.

If you're interested in making the move to Vancouver, you might want to learn more about Canada and the wide variety of services we offer. If you have further questions, don't hesitate to
contact us at

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Moving Abroad for Poker – Top 7 Advantages

One of the best things about playing online poker for a living is the freedom and flexibility it allows.

Tired of the long, cold winters where you live? Go hop on a plane to someplace warm and sunny.

Sick of paying $20+ for a decent meal? Head over to one of the many countries where your dollar/euro will go much, much further.

As long as you can find a decent internet connection, the world is yours. Being an online poker player is the ultimate digital nomad lifestyle.

Lower Cost of Living

Bottle of beer in Vietnam: 50 cents. A simple but clean room in Thailand: About $8 per night. Being able to live wherever you want: Priceless. Poker gives you that freedom.

Plus, unlike most other jobs, your income won't be scaled down to your location. If you're making enough to pay the bills in places like the US, Western Europe, Australia, etc., you can live like a king in many parts of the world.

Getting Back on

Governments regulate most industries, and online poker is no exception. Unfortunately, the players' interests are usually not the main priority when it comes to regulation.

Players in countries like France, Spain, and Italy end up with segregated player pools, and U.S. players can no longer play on PokerStars at all.

Moving abroad allows players to regain access to PokerStars, along with a number of other sites that are blocked in their home countries.

These additional sites can pay dividends quickly, especially with game selection becoming increasingly important.

New Rooms = New Bonuses to Clear

With the ability to play on more sites, players also have more opportunity to capitalize on the deposit bonuses being offered. Taking advantage of deposit bonuses is a great way to speed up the growth of your bankroll while surviving variance.'s bonus calculator is a great tool for planning your bonus-hunting -

You can compare all of the major sites' bonuses, see how how long they'll take to clear at your stakes, and view a lot of other useful information.

Poker Communities Abroad

For all its benefits, poker can be an isolating activity.

Anyone who plays for a living has undoubtedly gone through awkward conversations with friends and family members who just don't understand it, or assume poker players are all degenerate gamblers.

Humans are social animals; we need to interact with others who can relate and empathize with our experiences.

Thus, it's not really surprising to find that communities of grinders exist all over the globe. Entire groups of people, whose faces don't automatically glaze over when you start to talk about your 'perceived range'!

There's always players looking for an extra person to split rent with in their poker house. Even if joining a grind-house isn't for you, you can still enjoy going out and socializing with people who get the whole poker thing.

Live in a Tropical Paradise

It's also no surprise that many of the biggest poker communities have been formed in places like Thailand, the Philippines, Mexico, and Costa Rica – places with beautiful weather and amazing beaches.

Who wouldn't want to wake up to a view of the ocean every morning? You could go swimming, surfing, or deep sea diving, among other activities. Or just sit back in your hammock, sip out of your coconut, and watch the waves roll by.

Tax Benefits

Depending on your country of origin, living and working abroad may come with tax benefits, although you should always consult a licensed professional to get an opinion on your individual situation.

However, it is generally known that US citizens, for example, can earn tax-free income up to $100,800 while living abroad as of 2015 (the amount is inflation-adjusted and changes every year).

According to the IRS Website, one of the multiple ways to qualify for the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion is to live outside the US for at least 330 days during any consecutive 12-month period. Remember you are also still required to declare your worldwide income with the IRS, even if it's exempt from taxation.

On the contrary, players from outside the US (especially many European poker pros) can legally change their registered tax domicile to a more poker-friendly country in most cases. Poker Refugees can refer you to tax professionals for international poker players in countries worldwide.

100% Legal Poker

The legal and regulatory environment of internet gambling has undergone some major changes in the past decade, from UIGEA to Black Friday.

The results of those changes, by and large, have been negative for online poker pros.

Luckily, most countries around the world don't see poker as a crime, nor do they see the need to regulate and segregate player pools into oblivion.

You can simply log on to PokerStars, Full Tilt, or whichever site you prefer playing on, and get your grind on. No worrying about governments blocking sites or confiscating your funds.

For help relocating for online poker quickly and easily in a new country, contact Poker Refugees today.