US Online Poker Players are continually forced to live Abroad


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It's been exactly two years now since Black Friday rocked the online poker world. However, many US players are still forced to live abroad in order to continue playing professionally.

Nathan Singer is one of these people as he lives in the mountainous town of Boquete, Panama just so he can play at the world's biggest poker sites. When Black Friday stuck, Singer was facing a very important decision: stay in the US and scrape by through live cash games and tournaments, or leave the country and continue earning up to $10,000 a month through online poker.

The choice wasn't easy, but the Californian chose to leave for Panama because of its beautiful coastline, fast internet speed and ease of traveling to and from the United States. But even with all of these attributes, Singer would quickly trade his life in Panama for the opportunity to play online poker in American again.

Lost in Translation

Living in Panama has been relatively lonely for Singer because he hasn't really taken the time to learn the local culture or language. “Learning a new language and making foreign friends takes time, and poker players tend to see time not spent playing as money lost." he said. "It is also a very solitary profession, which lends itself to social awkwardness.”

Fortunately, the 10-year online poker professional has three poker-playing roommates who've smoothed the transition to a new country. His housemates include a failed internet entrepreneur, a 26-year-old sports junkie and an ex-British Air Force engineer. The group mainly sticks together and doesn't associate much with those outside of their circle.

All About the Money

Despite experiencing mild culture shock over the past two years, Singer and his roommates have stayed in Panama and made good money while doing so. Singer is the best overall and commonly pulls in $70,000 per year. As a whole, the house earns around $25,000 - $35,000 per month.

Singer discussed his successful play by saying, "I can tell how other players are feeling and what they are likely to do, even online. I’m also able to stay calm and look at things very rationally, which is hugely important in poker, where results are not dependent on process - you can often do the right thing and lose, or the wrong thing and win."

As long as the money keeps rolling in, it looks as if Nathan Singer will be staying put in Panama. But he and many other poker players who are living abroad will no doubt be praying for the day that US online poker legalization happens.