Teh avid readers will realize that poast comes a bit early but it's 6pm here in Thailand barely any game running so i figured i poast tis now since i don't have anything better to do (besides cardio which i will do after).
It's beginning 2015 and i'm pretty much in poker for a living now for almoast exactly 6years. Wasn't always easy, but definitely was always worth it and if i go back i would do it all over again.
Atm i'm in Bangkok but i decided that's going to change late april where i will make my return to good old Europe after spending moast of my time in Asia teh last 1.5years, specifically Indonesia and Thailand with some additional trips.
I went alot back and forth on that decision to leave Bangkok but finally after outweighing pro's and con's for a couple of weeks i came to an executive decision which i think is teh best life EV and poker EV wise. That being said unlike alot of other places which i left in panic (think: London, Australia, Bali in raining season, etc.) teh decision to move on tis time was actually alot closer bc i like it here in Bangkok and could definitely imagine to stay longer here but overall but i think in Europe there is moar money and a better life/work balance waiting for me under current conditions.
That's teh short version so that you know what's up and i'm going to break down teh how's and why's from here on. So if you are not interested in that shit just move on to teh pictures.
Firstly i have to admit that climate wise Bangkok was prolly teh best place i ever lived in. They have wet and dry season but unlike Bali here you don't really realize that it's wet season bc it just doesnt rain all day all teh time (maybe i was just lucky). Currently it's dry season and i haven't seen any rain so far this year :) Debatably it gets a little hot from time to time especially in April and May but i like it hot so that was never a big issue for me. It pretty much never goes below 20°C and you really will not need long clothes ever - sounds good, huh? Yeah, i definitely gonna miss this weather.
Another thing i definitely like here is teh easyness of living. Life goes slow and it's just very relaxed no matter what you do. Nobody is stressing things here - obviously that has advantages and disadvantages. But that's that.
From now on i will go into specific points explaining why i leave and why i don't think Bangkok or South East Asia in general is teh best option for an aspiring grinder to be at (even though it's nice):
1. horrific timezone:
if you are an mtt player you can pretty much forget to have any sort of social life or a somewhat normal schedule here bc sunday million for example starts around 3am. As a cashgrinder or sng kid however you have a bit moar flexibility - however, no matter how you shift things it will never be optimal, not even close and i tried pretty much everything... If you play any meaningful stakes (using pokerstars as teh reference here) there will be very few action between 11am and 7pm so it's basically not worth playing those time unless you only play 4 tables or something like that. So you somehow have to avoid those times but that's not easy. I tried waking up 7pm going to bed at noon and i can tell you if you are not depressed before you will be after a couple of weeks on that sched... I tried splitting sleep in two parts from noon til 4pm and midnight 3am but this wasnt working for me either and i was oversleeping all teh time and significantly moar tired than otherwise.
Currently i try waking up superearly between 3 and 5am and play as much as possible until noon, then go gym, have food, etc and go to bed between 7 and 9pm. Why my experiences with that schedule are by far teh best it is still far from what i (and moast others as well probably) would consider a good schedule... Cliffs are basically that unless you are willing to sacrifice a significant percentage of your hourly in order to live on a "normal" wake up 9-11am schedule you will have to give up a significant percentage of your feel well schedule in order to maximize expectation. Couple of years ago when hourlies tended to be alot higher anyways that was probably by far not as much of a problem as it is now.
2. internet speed/reliabilty:
in general internet i decent and reliable especially for south east asia BUT:
- like every 3 month some tanker hits a cable in teh ocean and then speed goes down massively for a week or 2 until they fixed it (happend at least 2 times since im here)
- speeds here in thailand are good for example if you have 50MBit you get 50Mbit but once teh page you want to connect to is in europe you will not even get close to that speed unless you start getting some sort of business line any pay shitloads for it (even though im not sure if that makes it better for sure)
- in times where teh fastet latency gets teh best seats and therefore moar tables, moar funplayers and moar money you are always in disadvantage towards anybody who is closer to teh server (particularly europe players). my guestimate would be that can effect your yearly EV by 10-25%
3. cost of living:
i basically came here to spend way less money than i did in europe but it definitely didn't happen. Yes, it's cheaper here compared to all western europe and yes you can live very cheap here but if you like to live on a pretty high level teh differences are quite meaningless.
I'm paying around 2.5k$/month for my current flat which is definitely very nice but not uberballer. In alot of euro cities (not all, think London, scandinavia, etc.) i would get at least something similarly nice for a similar price. Teh big advanatge here is that you pretty much always have a nice pool and a small in gym in teh building compared to europe and everything tends to be brandnew but all in all i would've assumed you'll get alot moar for your money here. To give you an example teh stuff which i would consider as really really siq starts around 5k$/month and from all i've seen in moast of europe it starts a similar price. What i must say though is that for a bit less of a budget of let's say 1k$ you get significantly better flats compared to their counterparts in europe.
Teh other major expense i have is food or better said eating out. I didn't cook a single time here so i basically eat out like 2 times a day and once again if you want it cheap you can have it cheap, but if you like to sit down in a nice restaurant with a nice environment prices will be samesame to what i was used from Malta or Germany. Teh dishes itself tend to be cheaper but if you need 3 dishes everytime like i do you spend teh same overall. I think for my average meal i pay around 25$ with a softdrink + coffee and i don't think that's cheap in any way and that's not just one place i go to but all. And those places are casual for teh moast part, nothing superfancy.
What's definitely cheaper are supermarkets and going out drinking but those 2 are only minor monthly expenses compared to teh 2 aforementioned.
so cliffs: overall it tends to be a bit cheaper here but by far not as cheap as i would've expected or other people might expect (that being said it's bangkok and almoast all other cities in thailand are significantly cheaper for example chiang mai, where quite some grinders are located)
4. uncertainty in regards to onlinepoker in thailand:
i dont want to spread any rumours here because i dont have any insights but after Pokerstars pulled out of alot of markets lately even in this region (think Malaysia, Myanmar and since this febuary Singapore) you definitely have to think about where things are going if you play for a living and my stance is that IF Pokerstars gonna pull out of a couple of moar markets in future teh very next ones on that list going to be Thailand and Indonesia. (Actually i don't really understand why they pull out of Malaysia but not Indonesia but thats another discussion). And for teh case this is going to happen in future teh last thing i want is to be in Thailand with 9months left of teh lease for my 2.5k$ condo bc essentially i would (have to) leave immediately and definitely would lose out on some money not to mention to find somebody who takes over a 2.5k lease. Now again i don't want to spread any rumours bc i heard of none BUT after recent developments it's quite clear that teh chance Pokerstars withdrawing from teh mentioned markets somewhere in future is definitely higher than 0%. I almoast decided to move to Singapore after Bali and yeah, since beginning this month i wouldnt be allowed to play anymoar from there if i wouldve gone down that route. speaking of rungood
5. coup d'etat:
not teh main reason im leaving but definitely plays a small role as well. when moving here last april i ran good as usual and one month after my arrival teh army took over and proclaimed martial law over teh coutry (and it's been under martial law ever since...) Basically no biggie if they wouldnt have changed teh entire nightlife with it. While before that you could play til midnight, have a shower, go out til teh morninglight but all of a sudden clubs started closing 2am sharp CITYWIDE in an 8million people city. And it's still pretty much like this. Some places started at least doing until 3 these days but afterwards you on your own and its a pain driving around with a taxi at 3am to different clubs and just to hope thats teh day they might go until 5. Definitely a big part of why i decreased my participation in nightlife significantly. I'm just not somebody who likes going out early, it's called nightlife for a reason, it isnt called late evening life ffs. Another major hassle which increased tremendously is teh harrasment of foreigners on teh street, before clubs, etc. Completely random pisstests, fines for not carrying passport, etc. Not teh best way to handle people which bring decent amount of money to teh country but it seems this is teh route they want to go with this.
6. visa issues:
while it's still fairly straight forward to get a tourist visa its definitely a bit harder to get them now then it was before and they can deny you one pretty easy if they just want to. for example my friend who went to Malaysia last month to get a new tourist visa didnt got one and got told to apply for one from his home country. After i have my fair share of tourist visas in my passport now i dont really want to be in that situation some day.
last but not a least another point is that after being car(e)less for 1.5years i really have teh urge to get one again. in asia i wouldnt be allowed to get one on my current visa and besides that they are like 3 times teh price and given where i live completely unnecessary anyways...
Definitely some moar smaller issues as well but i don't wanna make tis poast too long. Now alot of people will ask "but where is teh moron moving to now exactly?"
Vienna is teh answer for that. Why Vienna would be a new poast itself probably but i try to make it short. For once it's a very safe place in case of taxation as a pokerplayer in europe. It's german speaking which after almoast 6 years abroad will be a nice change as well. Moar and moar poker pro's, especially germans are relocating to Vienna and i already know shitloads of people who live there, alot of people i actually lived together with some time during teh last 6 years and alot of people i'd consider good friends. I'm also alot closer to my family, to nonpoker friends from teh old days (moast of whom i havent seen teh last 1.5years) and alot closer to teh server of teh isle of man lolol.
Finally Vienna has allegedly won a couple of surveys in regards to quality of life and so far i heard only positive things from almoast anybody i spoke to. Also i will not just move there and stay there all teh time. I still have teh plan to spend 3-5 months a year abroad (#ihatewinter), i just want to have my main base and teh office in Vienna!
OK, tl;dr. Last but not least after 6 years here some poast saving pictures of all teh places i lived during those last years. Poker can change your life,
|gold coast, straya|
|koh samui, thailand|
|1st flat in malta|
|buenos aires, argentina|