Poker Refugees Player Interview – 

Dan Smallidge

Poker Name/types of games you play: Heads up Pot Limit Omaha

How many years have you played online poker? 7.5 years as my primary source of income 9 total years

Which sites do you play on the most? Stars and Full Tilt - Before Black Friday Absolute - Before the UIGEA Paradise

You first moved to Costa Rica through Poker Refugees in 2011 where you lived in a beachfront condo with 2 roommates we matched you with from elsewhere around the United States (Adam Ross who we also interviewed for the Poker Refugees blog & Gino Levrini). How was your experience living abroad for the first time?

It was a much easier transition than I imagined [with Poker Refugees].  It helped a lot that I spoke some Spanish, but really having 30 other poker players in Jaco was the reason it was so easy to adjust.

You've since traveled quite a bit; what are some countries where you've played online poker? Costa Rica, Guatemala, Malta, Mexico, S. Korea

How was it moving a second time (or third or fourth time) once your poker “foundation” was set back in 2011?

I think the hardest part of the process would have been the initial unlocking of your account.  After that moving around was easy.  Costa Rica, Malta, and Mexico were all really cool places to live because of the poker communities there.  It really makes a big difference having other grinders to talk to / hang out with.

What are some of the highlights of living the life of a poker expatriate abroad?

Meeting my current girlfriend in Costa Rica. 

Dan & his girlfriend travel in Panama
Meeting tons of other poker players - I can't emphasize this enough.  I was never very involved in the poker community while playing in the states and I only knew a few other poker players from my area, but moving abroad I have met so many other really good players and made a lot of really good friends.

Looks like Dan is enjoying life these days!

In Costa Rica I went ziplining, went to several volcanoes / national parks / waterfalls, and went whitewater rafting. I also learned to surf in Costa Rica.

Exploring Costa Rica
In Guatemala I visited some Mayan ruins and hiked up an active volcano.

Hiking Mayan ruins in Guatemala's rainforests

Has your perspective on “home” changed or are you still waiting for poker to become legalized in the US to move back?

I wouldn't say my perspective on "home" has changed.  I'd still like to return to the US once poker is legalized and regulated, but I would definitely say my perspective on living abroad has changed.  It wasn't nearly as scary or difficult as I originally thought it would be.

Watching a baseball game in SKorea!
You met a girlfriend in Costa Rica; do you guys still have a long distance relationship and what advice would you give to players with significant others at home? 

We are actually both in Korea now, but I was on my own in Malta for three months while I was waiting for her to jump through all sorts of hoops in order to get an English teaching position in Korea.  Skype made it easy for me to see her and talk to her every day, but obviously you still miss the physical intimacy.

What is a normal day-in-the-life like for you?

Since I play HU cash I have a lot of freedom with my schedule.  I tend to play a lot of short sessions and take a lot of breaks.  In my free time I like to play sports, hang out with my friends and girlfriend, read, and play video games.  It's been pretty easy to make friends and find activities to keep me busy everywhere I've been. 

Where to next? I'm currently in Korea [and staying for the time being].  My girlfriend has a job teaching English here.  This has definitely taken me the farthest out of my comfort zone, since I don't speak any Korean, but it's actually pretty easy to get by.  Unfortunately, there isn't much of a poker community here.

Poker Refugees wishes you the best Dan; good luck in both online poker and life with your significant other!

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