You may have heard about Playa del Carmen, Mexico before, and that's because it's awesome. Playa del Carmen could possibly be one of the most ideal and convenient places for poker players to live south of the border. Why? Think 75 poker players living within 10 blocks of each other, a 24/7 partying beach lifestyle, and delivery of any food you want at any hour. Even if you're looking for a quiet, tropical abode, 'Playa' (as it's affectionately called) has something for everyone.
Not only is Playa a magnetic place for US players who move for a month and stay for a year, but there are also players from many countries throughout Europe and other areas of Mexico who are drawn to the sunny weather, beach culture and amenities.
Long-time poker local and online cash player, Gus Voelzel, spares a few minutes to sing the praises of this tropical poker paradise and tell us about his experience about what life is really like, and how living there has changed his.
|Gus loves poker and Dr. Pepper|
Name: Gus Voelzel
Years playing online poker: I first played online on Party Poker in 2004.
Types of games you play: Cash games (Full Ring & 6max), with some
tournaments on Sundays
Current location: Playa del Carmen, Mexico
How many months after Black Friday did you decide
It took me 9 months to move, not because I wasn't
prepared to go much sooner, but I was in a relationship at the time and was
holding out faint hopes that internet poker would be back in the US quickly, as
has been successfully done in many European countries... [alas - we hear the US government doesn't move so fast]
What were the most challenging parts about
getting set up in Playa when you first arrived?
The most challenging part of Playa is playing
poker instead of going to the beach during the day and going out at
|Players hitting the beach instead of the poker tables|
|Gus & Friends Relaxing After a Long Session|
Actually, undoubtedly, the biggest obstacle in Playa is finding a
place to live, because the realtors, property management companies, and owners
tend to do everything they can to keep their places empty instead of occupied.
[Editor's Note: That's where Poker Refugees can come in handy - to act as the buffer and representative who can effortlessly relocate you to your Playa dream home sans realtor mierda (bullshit in English)]
When online poker comes back in the US, do you
think you will want to move back immediately or has living abroad changed your
perspective on “home”?
When online poker comes back in the States I
won't be on the first plane back, but it won't take me long. I'll
probably finish out my lease here and arrange to get what I currently have
online back to the US before I just jump ship and head back to Texas. As
much as I enjoy living in Playa, Austin will always be home and I look forward
to the day I can be back there again.
On any given day, where can you find poker
players in Playa?
During the day they're either at the beach or at
home grinding. Most nights people will meet up for dinner or to watch a
sporting event (Playa's a small town and we pretty much all live within 10
blocks of one another) followed by the inevitable night out on the town.
|Party Life in Playa|
What makes Playa such a great place for poker
players to live?
For a lot of these guys, it's their first time
out of the US. They don't speak Spanish for example. But Playa, being a
tourist town, caters to English speakers. There's a food delivery service that
is English speaking, and there's a large poker community here, so life, in
general, is as easy as it gets.
The beach is obviously a bonus and as
small as Playa is, our group is recognizable and accepted by the other locals.
What type of activities are there to do besides
Fishing, snorkeling/SCUBA, various Mayan ruins,
cenotes (ancient sinkholes you can snorkel and Scuba in), golf, paintball, beach volleyball, basketball
|Snorkeling in Akumal Bay|
What's the best club in town?
Depends on the time of year, but the most popular
are Mandala and Coco Maya. There's Coco Bongo for the tourists, and
Palazzo, Blue Parrot, Santanera & Reina Roja can all be good nights out.
Approximately how many players call Playa home on
Counting the ones who are in Vegas right
now and are coming back after the WSOP, I think there are 75 grinders
here. We've had another dozen or so who have come and gone.
How can poker players stay out of jail? (LOL!)
By staying out of trouble? It's pretty hard to go
to jail here, as the police expect there to be drunken tourists walking the
streets. Don't get in fights, don't have a crazy girlfriend, & don't
pee in the streets seem to be the best 3 pieces of advice re: staying out of
How many Skype groups do you guys have down
Too many. Although at this point they've
become necessary due to the sheer number of guys in the chat. We used to
have one all-encompassing group chat, but as our population exploded, we added
an Activities Chat, a Food Chat, and a number of other specialized chats.
Any last words?
Moving to Playa has be a very pleasant
experience. I really didn't know what to expect before coming, even
though I was lucky enough to have a friend, Spencer Hudson, be the guinea pig
and make the move first, so when I got down here I literally instantly was
introduced to the poker community. I've learned a lot not just about
poker, but about people since I've been down here, and I'm glad I chose Playa
as my poker destination as opposed to the other 6 places on my list.
If you want to learn more about Playa del Carmen, check out this handy PokerNews guide here, and hit up Poker Refugees, of course, to snag a sweet beachfront grindhouse for yourself. Long-term studio rental prices can start at $400/month and high rollers can find oceanfront/ocean view condos for $2500-4000/month.
Labels: gus voelzel, kristin poker refugees, move to play poker, online poker, online poker in mexico, playa del carmen, playa del carmen poker, poker abroad, poker refugees, poker relocation, pokerstars