Future Still Unclear for Displaced U.S. Online Pros

Grayson Ramage
Grayson Ramage

It’s been nearly two years since online poker’s Black Friday scattered the U.S. poker-playing community to the far reaches of the world.

Some of the best online poker players in the world including Shaun Deeb, Calvin “Cal42688” Anderson, Brian Hastings and Phil Galfond were forced to move out of their native country to continue playing. 

Grayson Ramage, who’s a dominant force on the PocketFives leaderboard with over $3.2 million in lifetime earnings, seems to be reaching the breaking point when it comes to living abroad.

“Honestly I’m getting sick of it,” said Ramage while on break from the 2013 Aussie Millions Main Event.

“It’s nice to see different places and travel around but you really don’t have a place to call home. It wears on you.”

Since Black Friday, Ramage, who originally hails from Red Hook, NY, has split his time between Toronto, Prague, Costa Rica and Las Vegas. He generally sees his family a couple times a year.

It’s not an unusual situation for U.S. online poker players who are generally forced to leave countries after a certain period of time expires.

U.S. Pros Still Waiting on Online Poker Legislation

Grayson Ramage
Grayson Ramage at the 2013 Aussie Millions

There was no timetable for when online poker would return to the U.S. after Black Friday but as the years go by there’s a good chance some of the displaced pros will start to seek alternative jobs.

“It is a good living but I’m getting tired of all the traveling,” he said.

“I think I’ll keep living abroad until this upcoming WSOP. After that I may make a decision to do something else or at least travel less. I’m not sure.”

There have been some positive steps towards legalizing and regulating online poker in the U.S. but Ramage isn’t exactly holding his breath.

“It doesn’t seem too likely at this point,” he said. “Particularly any form of interstate online poker.”

It's not a stretch to imagine that by the time online poker is fully legalized in the U.S., the current generation of poker stars will have moved on.

On the bright side Ramage has enjoyed getting to experience new cultures while traveling and is still hungry for a big live score.

Ramage has yet to win a major live poker tournament and would love to make a deep run in the 2013 Aussie Millions.

“I really haven’t done a lot live over the last few years,” he said. “I’ve had some chances but things just haven’t worked out. Hopefully this is the one.”

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