Phil "OMGClayAiken" Galfond is one of U.S. finest high stakes players. Phil has won almost 8 million dollars at various poker sites online, however, the most of his winnings come from Full Tilt Poker's nosebleed tables.
Just like many other U.S. poker players, Phil's daily life has been turned upside down since Full Tilt & PokerStars (just to mention 2 sites) were forced to close down in U.S. about 2 weeks ago (Black Friday). And just like many of his fellow countrymen, Phil has been considering whether or not he should leave the country to avoid further hassle.
Below you can read what Phil had to say about Black Friday in his blog.
"This is my first blog post since black friday. A lot of people have come to me for answers, and the truth is, I don't know any better than most of you. I think your decision about what to do next is very dependant on your situation. If you can afford to, I think the best course of action is to just relax for a month or two (maybe coach or do something else productive), and see if anything becomes more clear.
To the people considering leaving the country... I think it's a very viable option, and one I'm considering myself. Make sure you do your research with regards to immigration laws, bank laws, rent, casinos (if you want to play live), etc. One thing that is an important question I've been asking myself is: Do I want to move somewhere and do nothing but work for maybe 6 months, or do I want to move somewhere (that might be more expensive) and have a life and a great experience to look back on.
I'm leaning towards the latter, if I do end up moving, but like I said before, the decision depends on your situation. It is still tempting to me to have a 4-6 month work only trip and no life outside of it. It's definitely not a good long term plan, but for a short time period, it's not so bad.
Personally, my plan for now: Head to Vegas early this summer. Play a bunch of live poker all the way through the Series. After that, see how things are looking and make a decision then. I'm trying not to stress too much about it now.
What will we learn in 2 months? I don't really know. Worst case, you could at least hear some stories of how it's going in various countries from other players in the poker community.
One thing that is very important: Do not bank on online poker becoming legal soon.
1) You shouldn't ever be unprepared for the negative outcome. Make sure you keep savings, find new work, whatever it is that you would do if you knew online poker would be impossible to play from the US for 6 years. If you're wrong, and it's legal in 1 year, it's a lot better than assuming it's coming sooner and being unprepared when it doesn't.
2) From what I understand, it probably will take a long time, if it does end up happening (which I think it will). Even if lots of people in the government want online poker to be legal, it's just a slow process.
Hope you guys are doing ok, and planning well. Please post any ideas you've had or questions or anything like that. Maybe I could even make a video on Pokerstatic answering some of them.
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