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The popularity of poker in the western parts of the world seem to be waning. However, in Asia, it is like having its second wind. Due to this, a lot of expats and foreigners are carefully thinking about whether it would be a wise decision to move to Thailand to play poker.
Moving to another country is never easy. Almost always there is some level of adjustment one must make in order to survive. To live in a foreign country is literally a gamble in itself, much more to move there to gamble professionally.
In the past years, a huge number of online poker players have relocated to Thailand and other parts of the world. Playing online poker gives them the freedom to play whenever and wherever they are. Online poker allows players to play at their convenience as long as they have a laptop and a reliable internet connection.
Why Move to Thailand When You Can Play Online Poker Elsewhere?
Thailand has been chosen by many online poker players mainly because of the country’s low cost of living. It allows them to enjoy the perks of their online trade better. In addition, the country has amazing weather coupled with great beaches. Probably one of the better reason is the great community of online professional poker players already established in the country. Living in a country with like-minded people will allow them to adjust and acclimatize better and faster.
Cities like Phuket, Chiang Mai, and Bangkok are the primary areas where expats live. So if you would like to adjust easier, better head to these places. Phuket is located on the west of the country, where most beaches are. So if you like coastal life, Phuket is perfect for you. If you like going around and exploring, choose a place in Bangkok that is near the BTS or the Skytrain. Since traffic in Bangkok is so bad, taking the train is always the best option. Chiang Mai is a small city north of Thailand. It is home to hundreds of expats and is highly advisable for those who are on a budget but enjoys tons of outdoor activities.
Moving to Thailand to Play Online Poker: Is It Worth It?
Before buying that one-way ticket to Thailand, you must first carefully consider a lot of factors. Give yourself at least six months to think about your decision. Some may see your decision as something crazy as it is out of the ordinary. Moving to a foreign country means having to reconsider your entire lifestyle. Are you ready to live on your own, without any friends or immediate family members that you can rely on? Are you ready to live in a tropical country? Are you ready to take on another job in a foreign country? Are you ready to leave the life you have known for so many years and start again?
Moving to Thailand to play online poker does not mean you will live in that country for the rest of your life (unless you really like it, of course). Since you are a free man, you get to decide how long you want to stay in Thailand. Some players who move to the country do not even have any long-term plans. Most of them stay for a few months and pack their bags again to try their luck in another country.
Majority of online grinders in Thailand are young individuals, in their 20s or 30s who lead a single, unattached life before deciding to move to Thailand. Still, this should not discourage you from taking that big leap. Fitting in Thailand is relatively easy thanks to the huge expat population existing in the country. many of these individuals are professionals such as English teachers, businessmen, and retirees.
The Benefits of Moving to Thailand to Play Online Poker
As mentioned, online poker players would find it beneficial if they move to Thailand because:
- They can play online poker anytime they please. Thailand has a reliable internet connection and since it is tourist-friendly, players can go online anytime and anywhere they may be.
- The country has amazing weather all year round. If you are someone who doesn’t mind spending days on the beach, Thailand is really the perfect place for you. Be warned, though. Summers can really be hot so best spend in the country’s hottest beach destinations.
- Thailand has one of the lowest cost of living in Southeast Asia. For a few hundred bucks monthly, you can live comfortably in Thailand. There are plenty of housing options for expats, retirees, and foreigners. Some even say that they can live better lives in Thailand then when they were in their home country because almost everything here is cheap.
- Food, food, and more food. Great food. If you are someone who loves an explosion of flavors, Thailand can give you that and more. Thai people love anything spicy so expect to taste more of it when you head to this country. Spices indeed add so much flavour to any food.
- Thai people are one of the most welcoming and hospitable in the world. If there is one thing expats love about Thailand, it is the people. Thais are so warm and friendly that sometimes it feels like you have stayed in the country for over a year already even if you have only stayed for like a week.
Do note, however, that Thailand is far from being the perfect country. It still has its flaws. It is not some magical wonderland that you can thoroughly enjoy. You have to remember that Thailand is still a developing country and still has some issues that expats have to deal with. One of them is the cultural and language barrier.
Online Poker in Thailand
Whilst discussing the perks of moving to Thailand to play online poker, let’s look at the online poker scene in the country. It should be clear that the only legal gambling allowed in Thailand is Muay Thai. Any kind of gambling is illegal. However, online poker or online casino remains a gray area for this Asian country. There have been no reports of any online poker player apprehended so it is safe to say that playing online poker in Thailand is relatively easy.
First, whilst it is considered illegal, the local authorities seem to not care. Still, players should still keep a low profile. You should not announce to anyone, anywhere that you play online poker as a means of living. A lot of online grinders often say that they work freelance online.
If you are looking at playing live poker in Thailand, the only place you can go to are underground casinos. Only go to one if you know it was organized by some online poker players you know. Otherwise, stay away to keep you out of trouble. Still, if you are considering playing live poker, it might be best to head to Macau or Cambodia where you can play legally.
Opening a Bank Account in Thailand
Opening a bank account in Thailand is one of the valid concerns of many expats who move to Thailand to play online poker. However, you can still transact using your old bank and just withdraw money from the many ATMs that litter the country. Since Thailand is a country heavy on tourism, foreigners can spot ATMs on every corner of the street so you can still use your old card from your home country.
Of course, you have to shoulder bank fees. It is best to clarify this with your bank especially if you are planning to use it often. Fees would eventually stack up and cost you money so it is advisable to open a bank account in Thailand. Some banks would ask for proof of income before they let you open a bank account.
Expats often use Kasikorn Bank or Bangkok Bank for their accounts because it is fuss-free. It is highly advisable to dress properly and present some legal documents. Some are lucky to be granted an account by only providing their tourist visa.