Player Interview: Adam Ross: Costa Rica & Panama

Adam was one of our first clients to move in mid-late 2011 after the launch of Poker Refugees in August 2011. He came to us on his own and we found 2 poker roommates for him; they met up in the US, decided to live together and came down to grind for a year in the infamous Vista Las Palmas (VLP) building - the nicest oceanfront condo in Jaco, Costa Rica and filled with poker players.

View from Vista Las Palmas, Costa Rica, a haven for online poker players

He may not be a big name pro, but most of our clients at Poker Refugees are not - they are just normal poker players who grind behind the limelight and make a good enough living to continue their careers and free, independent lifestyles as online poker players. Our players play a range of stakes from low to high. Some are backed and some are backers. Some live on <$1,000/month while others live like high-rollers.

His experience goes to show that you don't have to be a well-known pro to play online poker abroad if you apply hard work and dedication to your craft (and maybe just a side of run-good).

"I look back on the past 18 months with fondness, a greater understanding of the world, and friends in cities around the globe. [Moving with] Poker Refugees is and has been the single greatest catalyst for all that I have gained in the past 18 months." 

"Truth be told I am not as good a poker player as a lot of [big name Poker Refugees] clients, but I found my niche and I made it work."

Poker Refugees Blog Interview: Adam Ross

(Q) How many years have you played online poker?   
(A) I played semi-professionally for 2 years before Black Friday; then 7 months without playing post Black Friday; and since October 2011 (when I was relocated by Kristin Wilson of Poker Refugees to Jaco Beach, Costa Rica)

(Q) Which sites do you play on the most? 
(A) I have had the most success on Party Poker. I also like 888 and Titan. These days I play less on Poker Stars and Full Tilt than I used to. 

(Q) Do you feel like the games have changed a lot since Black Friday and how so?
(A) I feel the games I play (mid-stakes MTT's) have gotten a little harder especially on Poker Stars. There are a lot of casual players from the United States that provide added value in the games I play that are not in the games anymore. 

(Q) You first moved to Costa Rica through Poker Refugees in 2011 where you lived in a beachfront condo with 2 roommates. How was your experience living abroad for the first time?

(A) When I was still in the United States awaiting my fight to Costa Rica in October 2011 I honestly was still a bit nervous about the move, I had traveled some when I was younger and had a small idea about the world outside of America, but to actually move to a foreign country seemed at the time, a big deal. 

What I found out promptly after I had landed in Costa Rica was that Poker Refugees had removed all the uncertainty and mysticism behind moving to a foreign country. They secured us a huge luxury condo on the 14th floor in the most prominent building on the beach in Jaco. My roommates that Poker Refugees introduced me to, were very cool and we got along great, we lived in that apartment together for a year. Soon after that PR set up an appointment with me and a local bi-lingual translator to set up my bank account (as my Spanish was pretty terrible at the time, since it has gotten substantially better). 

My experience in Central America besides grinding, has been one filled with travel, interesting and unique people, great weather, and a lower cost of living. 

Adam has resided in Jaco, Costa Rica and Boquete, Panama

(Q) Where are you currently living now?
(A) I have been living in Boquete Panama for the past 7 months, it is a pristine mountain town with perfect weather and an relatively large ex-pat community.

(Q) How was it moving a second time (or third time) once your poker “foundation” was set?
(A) It was not hard since my  Spanish was better and the mysticism around living in a foreign country had be removed from my previous year in Jaco, Costa Rica. Since my foreign bank account was set up and I was up and running on 6 different poker websites all I needed was a new place with an internet connection and I was good to go, and it also helped that I had some friends who were already living in Boquete, Panama.  

(Q) What are some of the highlights of living the life of a poker expatriate abroad?
(A) The dollar goes further, I get to travel a lot, weather is great, beachfront property, beach volleyball, $1 beer specials, cool local people. The list is long and that is only a few of the highlights from where I was living, Jaco, Costa Rica, but a person's experience is what they make of it.

(Q) Has your perspective on “home” changed or are you still waiting for poker to become legalized in the US to move back?
(A) My perspective on "home" has changed over the past year and a half, i no longer feel confined to live only in the U.S. The line between travel and living somewhere becomes somewhat blurred after living in Jaco for a year.

Whether  or not I will come back to the states to play poker online will largely depend on what the regulatory framework and scope of U.S. online poker market will be, I do not know what they are planning for legislation so I will wait it out and see what they come up with before deciding to move.   

(Q) What is the cost of living like in Panama?
(A) It is substantially less than in the U.S. and a little bit cheaper than Costa Rica. 

(Q) How is your internet connection?
(A) It was not perfect, there were occasional power outages that would last less than 5 min but with a battery back-up and mobile hot spot we were able to stay online if the internet goes down. It is recommended that grinders have a secondary source of internet. 

 (Q) What is a normal day-in-the-life like?
(A) Wake up to freshly brewed local coffee and the maid asking what I would like for breakfast, usually a ham and cheese omelette with banana pancakes. 

It's true - Maids cook in Costa Rica & Panama
Eat b-fast, work-out, quick swim and hot tub, walk along the beach and get a smoothie, practice my Spanish in town. Play 5 on 5 beach volleyball, Come home to a spotless house, clean and folded clothes, and a prepared meal on the stove. Eat. 

Start my poker session, make good decisions. Finish poker session. Go to friends apartment in my building for a drink before we go to dinner and then the bars/clubs. Bar/club-hop and party till whenever and go to the late night spot on weekends. Sleep. 

(Q) Any advice to players who are thinking of moving abroad? 
(A ) This is an opportunity that is not afforded to many Americans, most people do not even have the possibility of moving abroad. 

Living in foreign countries is one of the signature highlights of being a professional online poker player and Poker Refugees makes the transition super easy and completely demystifies living abroad. 

If you are considering moving abroad then you should probably do it because if you are one of the few who are lucky enough to have moving abroad as an option it would be a shame to not take advantage of it when you can. 

Adam & Friends in Playa Hermosa, Jacó, Costa Rica

We can't agree with you more, Adam! 

For more info on Poker Refugees and a free phone consultation, check out: and subscribe to our blog or YouTube for more player interviews!

Labels: , , , , , , , ,