The Best Countries to Play Online Poker

Online poker players, sports bettors, and all sorts of “digital nomads” have been traipsing the globe since laptops became a thing. However, the question of where to live can be pretty overwhelming for most.
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The world’s first and only relocation company for online poker players and sports bettors, Poker Refugees, has helped 500 players move to 25+ different countries in the years since Black Friday. They know a thing or two about the pros and cons of where to live for online poker and why.

Although there is no one-size-fits all answer, below are some of the more popular destinations. (All countries on the list have access to e-wallets Skrill/Neteller for depositing/withdrawing unless otherwise noted.)

If time zones aren’t an issue for you, head down under! Australia has an ultra high standard of living and many of the things a player could be looking for:

Developed infrastructure, stable, safe country full of amenities and great food
Travel Visas up to 6 months
Diverse selection of cities, lifestyles, climates
Casinos and live poker events
Friendly locals
Cons: High cost-of-living and far from North America & Europe
Costa Rica
While some offshore gaming sites were ejected from Costa Rica in the Black Friday fallout, poker players themselves set their sights on the land of pura vida. And for good reasons – some being:

Direct 2-3 hour flights from the US
Arguably the best Internet in Central America
Extensive rental market for furnished rentals
Westernized culture and amenities; English spoken
Ranked as the happiest country with the best climate in the world, also the #1 ecotourism destination on earth
Bank accounts in USD with online wire transfers
Cons: More expensive than its neighbors and poker has a bad reputation as a result of Black Friday.
Few people outside the gaming industry could probably find Malta on a map, yet the island nation is a gambler’s paradise with low taxes and a regulated environment. More benefits:

Mild climate year-round
Internet is fast and cheap
English widely spoken
Low cost of living compared to Western Europe
Ocean views, boating and water sports
Pubs and nightlife
Portomaso Casino & EPT Malta
Cons: Small & isolated in the Mediterranean, 90-day max visa for non-EU citizens, hard to open a bank account
Just over the border from California, Rosarito/Tijuana is an attractive place for those who want to eat, sleep and play poker. People also love Playa del Carmen. Highlights of playing poker from Mexico:

Huge country with beaches, cities & mountains
Direct flights from the US, Canada and Europe
English spoken in border and tourist towns
Playa del Carmen

Cancun is the biggest airport in Latin America
Tropical weather, white sand beaches & a lively party scene where everything seems open 24/7
No car needed – walk everywhere
About 100 poker “refugees” living here year-round
The cost of living can be quite low
Round-the-clock delivery services
Cons: Forex conversion fees to Pesos. The weather and Internet can be fickle. Rental prices skyrocket during high season. Gaming legislation is possible in the near future that could impact online pros.
Online gambling isn’t actually legal in Thailand and e-wallets are restricted. Regardless, Thailand has long been attracting poker players for these reasons and more:

It’s really cheap
Thai food
Surprisingly fast internet
Full moon parties
City, beaches, mountains, islands - it’s all here
International online poker community
Cheap international flights in and out of multiple airports
Cons: Strict laws and monarchy. It’s hard to get a long-term travel visa. Beware of tsunamis.
United Kingdom
Famous for being one of the rare countries that doesn’t tax gambling winnings. If you can afford the cost of living, it’s a great place to be because...

Cheap and plentiful international flights; Heathrow is one of the busiest hubs in the world
First-world living, global superpower with something for everyone
Tourist Visas for up to six months
Culture! Never get bored
It's relatively safe around these parts
EPT London, casinos
Multi-currency bank accounts & PokerStars debit cards
Cons: It’s prohibitively expensive and the average weather conditions are less-than-ideal