Digital Nomad (Part 1)
One of the best things about playing online poker for a living is the freedom to work from almost anywhere in the world. As long as I have a computer and an internet connection, everywhere is my office. I'd like to share with you some tips based on my experience of travelling and playing poker for a living.
The most important thing to consider when taking your work as a professional poker player on the road with you is if you can actually play on PokerStars.com from the country that you intend to visit. If you're planning a summer holiday to Spain, a long weekend in Paris or a month long trip to Vegas for the WSOP you're going to be out of luck.
Currently (May 2013) you will not be able to play on your .COM account while travelling to USA because of Black Friday. You can't log in while in Spain, Italy or France because they have segregated online gaming markets. Neither can you log into .COM from Denmark, Belgium or Estonia. Those countries have separate sites, that do share liquidity with .COM, but you can only log in with a .DK/.BE/.EE account, and you can't get one of those without being a citizen with a tax code.
As a professional online poker player you certainly multi-table and use additional software, so you will need a high specification machine to be able to grind as normal when you're away from home.
The two most important specs for me are the screen (both size and resolution) and an SSD hard disk. Currently I have a laptop with a 17" screen and 1920 x 1200 resolution. That' s as much screen real estate as you can get on a laptop with the exception of the new Apple Retina MacBooks which have an incredible 2880x1800 resolution. On the negative side they only go up to 15", are extremely expensive and they are Apple.
Most laptops are fitted with mechanical hard drives that are very slow in comparison to PC hard drives in order to consume less power. A solid state drive (SSD) is important for me to ensure my machine doesn't lag when multi-tabling and using a HUD with a sizeable database. If you find a laptop that's otherwise perfect but doesn't have an SSD, it's pretty easy to just buy an SSD and swap them out.
If you're going to be away from home for a long time consider taking an external monitor to dual-screen with your laptop. When choosing which model to purchase be sure to check the technical specs of each one and chose the one that is thinnest and lightest. These days you can easily buy a 21 inch monitor that weighs just 2.2kg for only ￡90. It's a cheap and easy solution. Just wrap that up in some clothes and stick it in your suitcase. If you want to go as far as taking two extra monitors with you to triple-screen it's possible to do this with most good laptops. Just plug one into the HDMI port and one into the VGA or DVI port.
If you use tracking software your license will usually allow you to run it on multiple machines, allowing you to install it on your home desktop machine as well as your laptop.
Before taking a trip, make sure to sync your databases so that you have all the benefit from the hands your played on your desktop while you are away from home using your laptop.
Player notes aren't saved to your account. They are saved to an xml file on the machine that you play on. When I travel I copy this file from my desktop to my laptop, and copy it back to my desktop when I return home. If I have a valuable read on a player that I've played with before there's no reason for me not to benefit from it just because I'm playing on a different machine.
I like to take the same mouse that I use on my desktop with me to plug into my laptop. I also set up all the hotkeys exactly to same as they are on my desktop. I want to emulate the home set up that I'm used to as much as possible so that I don't have to consciously think about which buttons to press and can concentrate on just making good poker decisions.
Bringing along the correct technology is obviously essential if you want to work away from home but there are many other things to consider. In part 2 of this blog I will talk about how to select the best accommodation and how to make sure you always have a suitable internet connection.
Dale Philip is a member of Team Online