What comes to mind when one hears of Thailand? For many, the image is white sandy beaches, turquoise waters, idyllic beaches, and a vibrant nightlife. Thailand is best known for its tourism attraction, perhaps the most popular in all of Asia. This picturesque destination is pulling in professional poker players in droves for several good reasons:
Bangkok is a Good Launching Pad
Thailand borders Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, and Myanmar. Although money prize poker is restricted in Thailand, it is easily accessible at casinos located on the borders with these countries. Bangkok is also easy to get to. All major airlines make a stopover when flying to Macau, South Korea, Taiwan, India, China, Japan, the Philippines, Australia, and New Zealand.
The Asian Poker Tour circuit comes to Cambodia, Vietnam, and India. Poker players from Thailand are free to participate. Thai national Chane Kampanatsanyakorn participated in the 2014 event, inspiring many other poker players in Thailand to participate in the annual event.
While gambling is restricted in Thailand, the government is considerate of the allure of gambling for tourism. The laws are not enforced as harshly as in the US or Europe. The expat community has active poker game groups that meet in private parties to play.
Online gambling is not illegal in Thailand. Nowadays you don’t have to move somewhere to enjoy poker when you can play it online at an online casino. Webet is an upcoming sportsbook and casino in Thailand that has seen growing popularity. Poker players in Thailand can place real money bets on Webet. There are many other offers on soccer, horse racing, tennis, basketball, and many other games.
Many Thai prefer to play poker online instead of making the journey to land-based casinos at the border. There is an active community of Thai based online poker players in multiplayer tournaments online.
Good Internet Speeds
The Thai government is very serious about the digital economy, which has seen it invest heavily in internet infrastructure. Internet speeds in Thailand average 16 Mbps, which is only second to Singapore in South Asia.
Good internet speeds have attracted digital nomads and numerous foreign companies whose employees make up the expat community. Online gaming has become a pastime for many expats and Thais alike. Online betting is not restricted as long as the bet is not in Thai Baht.
Vibrant Expat Community
There are all kinds of expats in Thailand; from CEOs of top foreign companies to students working online gigs at coffee shops. English is widely spoken everywhere including the islands because of heavy interaction with tourists.
Expats are mainly found in Bangkok, Phuket, and Chiang Mai. Poker players prefer Chiang Mai because it is close to the border casinos of Laos. Bangkok is also popular with expats because of its connectivity by major airlines and the vibrant nightlife. Those who prefer a more laid-back lifestyle go to Phuket with its stunning views of the ocean and sandy beaches.
Affordable Living Costs
Many expats are surprised at how cheap it is to live in Thailand. You can rent an apartment in Chiang Mai for as little as $150 a month, and a luxury condo in Bangkok for $600. Single young people can live on as low as $700:
- Rent inclusive utilities and internet – $275
- Food -$190
- Transport – $100
- Entertainment- $75
The cost of living is slightly higher in Bangkok by about a third. Regardless of where you are, living in Thailand is far cheaper than anywhere in the US and Europe. Thai currency will go much further if you are a professional poker player. You can play more real money games.
Friendly Culture and Food
The majority of Thais practice Buddhism. The religion encourages them to be at peace with other people and the world at large. They are friendly and courteous. The general philosophy here is ‘Mai Phen Rai’ a carefree attitude to life, which is polite, respectful, and fun-loving.
The variety of food is endless, whether you are a vegetarian or not. The staple food is rice with varied stews of seafood. You can have a sumptuous plate of curried rice, fish stew, and a glass of fresh juice for less than a dollar.
The weather is sunny for most of the year but temperatures rarely exceed 35 degrees. It is easy to adapt and quite enjoyable when you get used to it.
Are you looking for a friendly destination to relocate to as a professional poker player? Thailand should be on top of your list choices. You will be glad you picked it.