When I came to Thailand a little over two years ago one of the biggest motivating factors in that decision was that I really didn’t see much going on in the industry that seemed especially meaningful or challenging that I hadn’t done before.
So I decided to take some time off and take a step back and observe how the industry was evolving while I worked on some personal projects and continued to write on my blog. It was the right move at the time for me and I haven’t regretted the decision a single bit. Over the last two years I’ve launched a lot of cool and exciting projects, seen Thailand and other parts of SEA the way no tourist can, and I’ve met some really amazing people from all over the world.
But barring winning the lottery (which isn’t likely since I don’t buy lottery tickets) the plan has always been to return at some point. I wanted to come back when there really was something that would get me excited about the business again.
And I simply can’t ignore how different the online poker landscape looks today than it did even a couple of months ago. Most people (players and the media) are focusing on the cash out issues but this is really an exciting time for online poker in the longterm. I’ve been really encouraged by the way companies are starting to approach online poker again and finally see an environment where eventually legal, regulated online poker will be available in the US.
That’s a long lead-up to say that I’m leaving Thailand and ready to get back into pushing online poker to the next level. I’m rejoining Party Gaming, I mean Pwin, I mean BwinParty, I mean the World Poker Tour. I’ll be back working with my old boss at Party, Steve Heller, who is now CEO of bwin.party USA and World Poker Tour. I’ve really enjoyed working with Steve in the past and I think he’s putting together a solid team.
I’ll post more details about what I’m working on and such but I should be back in the US in early July ready to hit the ground running.
In terms of this blog I plan on continuing to blog about the industry just as I have before. I’ve never stopped blogging working for either Full Tilt or Party in the past.
That sort of leads to a second big announcement (that’s completely poker unrelated). I got engaged back in Feb of this year and we had plans to get married in November. Well, this has sort of pushed up the schedule a bit so last Friday Ked and I went to the Bang Rak amphur office in Bangkok and legally tied the knot.
In Thailand there are two forms of marriage. There’s a Buddhist ceremony where vows and such are exchanged and is similar in nature to a western marriage. The only exception is that it’s not legally binding. Many Thais marry in a Buddhist ceremony and don’t bother filing for a legal marriage unless they’re about to purchase a home or car or something else that is to be joint property.
The legal marriage mostly involves getting a lot of documents translated, certified, and then sitting around a government office where they review that the documents are complete and they hand you a marriage certificate. No vows, no ceremony, nothing. Just paperwork.
So, we’re sort of doing it in reverse. We got legally married yesterday and I’ll be coming back out to Thailand in November to do the Buddhist ceremony up in her hometown of Phetchabun (with a reception in Bangkok).
We pushed up the legal side so we could get the spousal visa paperwork started. Depending on which office accepts your application it could be up to 10 months before they’re allowed to board a plane to the US. Hopefully the Bangkok USCIS office will take our application and the turnaround will be 8 – 10 weeks.
Lots of changes ahead. Should be an exciting time.