One of the reasons the Federal government imposed the new laws on online poker was to discourage American citizens from online gambling. However, this regulation has had one impact that regulators would never have predicted. Many big players have actually becoming nomads.
Brian Hastings is one player who has been heavily hit by the online gaming laws. Hastings became an online poker legend in 2009 when he won nearly $4.2 million in an online poker session. However, Hastings is now forced to constantly move around the country in order to continue playing competitively.
Hastings almost went to the point of moving to Canada and setting up a Canadian bank account so he could legally play poker online. Many other poker players have tried moving north of the border. However, many of them have had difficulty doing so because they are forced to list their profession on their visa. They are afraid of being scrutinized for listing themselves as professional poker players and have elected to stay in the United States.
About 1,000 players have actually decided to take the leap in moving to Canada, while nearly as many have decided to move to Costa Rica. Those that aren’t willing to make the move must either play illegally or resort to offline gaming.
Players like Hastings find it difficult to compete in land-based casinos in Las Vegas or other states. They are forced to play against like-minded professionals, who are much tougher competition than the players they compete with online.
One player who wishes to remain anonymous told reporters that he is really struggling since federal regulators decided to start cracking down on online poker. He said that there is nowhere for him to put his skills to use.
Hastings is seen as something of a prodigy. After winning challenges against Swedish poker player Viktor Blom, Hastings has desperately wanted to put his skills to use again. He continues to do well financially, generally earning several hundred dollars an hour. However, he is struggling to live up to his potential as he forced to spend more time on the road and fewer hours in competitive poker tournaments.