Player Interview: Matt Stout: Costa Rica & Amsterdam

Matt Stout was one of Poker Refugees' first clients in August 2011 after the company officially launched. We talked to him during his downtime at WSOP 2012 in Vegas about his adventurous life over the past 2 years.

Poker Refugees Blog Interview: Matt Stout - allinat420

Matt at a Final Table during WSOP 2013

(Q) Years playing online poker: 
(A) Since I was 19, so 9 years (8 for real money). After I turned 1,000 play chips into 1 Million to prove to myself that I could play for real money.

(Q) How many months after Black Friday did you decide to move? 
(A) The final decision was made about a week before we moved [in August 2011]; generally my plan was to see how WSOP 2011 went but either way pretty likely to move outside the country.

(Q) What are all the places have you lived since Black Friday? SantaAna and Jaco, Costa Rica; Amsterdam; Rosarito, Mexico. Also have traveled a lot through Europe for EPTs.

(Q) What is your favorite destination so far? 
(A) If you take away the whole earthquake factor I would say Costa Rica is the coolest.

Costa Rica - Ecotourism Capital of the World

(Q) How long did it take you to get set up the first time and how has your experience been in subsequent moves – do you feel more comfortable now living abroad? 
(A) About a week the first time, but that was when it was taking other people months. Yeah obviously much easier, after getting set up once [through Poker Refugees], I feel a lot more comfortable relocating myself to other places. 

(Q) You own a home in Vegas; at what point do you foresee being able to live there and support yourself online? 
(A) It seems like it’s going to be a long time still before that happens and there’s realistically enough action to make it worth it to the point where I don’t have to travel outside of the country for large portions of the year.

(Q) The main reason players tend to move is to get back on Pokerstars again. Do you play exclusively on Stars or which other sites do you play on? 
(A) FTP, Ongame, Microgaming, Lock, 888, iPoker and Party

(Q) What’s the weirdest experience you’ve had living abroad or craziest story you’ve heard about another player?  
(A) The weirdest experience I’ve heard of anyone having is Bryan Paris’s girlfriend getting robbed in front of a security guard. Also being on the 14th floor of a 16-story building for a 7.6 magnitude earthquake. That qualifies too. (Ed Note: We're glad you're all alive!)

(Q) Favorite food/meal/restaurant abroad:
(A) Gino’s Pizza in Santa Ana; impressively close to NY-style pizza.

(Q) Do you think your experience would have been different had you moved by yourself as opposed through with Poker Refugees? 
(A) I probably wouldn’t have gotten online by WCOOP 2011 due to the situation with documents and utility bills, as well as not speaking Spanish. Getting the bank account set up so fast made it easily worth it. A hell of a lot easier.

(Q) How has living abroad changed your life? 
(A) Well, let’s see, the fact that I met my fiancé in Costa Rica changed my life a little bit (Matt is engaged to Kristin Wilson's (founder of Poker Refugees) sister, Shannon). 

Matt is one of many Poker Refugees clients who's found love abroad - 
maybe we should start a dating service!

Overall, I’ve done a lot of international travel but actually spending more time living in other countries has given me more perspective on the world. And it’s cool to adapt your daily lifestyle to the local culture.  It won’t be easy to run off to Europe or Costa Rica for a few months once I’m 35 and have kids.

I'm glad I have this opportunity to travel the world and play poker while I’m young and don’t have any kids or many responsibilities. I won’t feel like I’ll regret it when I’m older and settled down. 

(Q): Any last words of wisdom for players still in the US who may be thinking about it or who delayed their move due to school, work or other situations? 
(A): Yeah, if you can afford to and your life situation allows for it, definitely do it. It’s a great experience to live outside the country. You get to know yourself a lot better as well when you’re in experiences that aren’t the norm.  

Anyone who played poker before [Black Friday] and couldn't move must miss it. I feel bad for people who couldn’t afford to move before or have family obligations, but if you can, definitely do it. -Matt Stout

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