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Old 05-22-2011, 11:28 AM   #1
sl4v3
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online pros living in Vietnam thread

I'm an online pro living in HCMC, Vietnam (district 2) and interested in starting a thread for those of us living here to exchange information and avoid duplication of effort in getting addresses changed with poker sites, banking, and advice in general about living here. Also possibly meet up for beers or dinner on occasion.

About myself, I'm an online limit pro from the US that moved here in January of this year after a year+ living in Buenos Aires.

My specific questions - what are the chances of successfully receiving checks by mail or courier here?

Who do you bank with? Those of you that have received transfers from poker sites to a bank in Vietnam, are there any problems? Does the bank/government require to show you a work contract or where the funds are coming from? Are transfers subject to Vietnamese tax?

I opened a bank account with ANZ with just my passport. I tried HSBC at first and they told me I need a Vietnamese ID card which I don't have. HSBC also had an $8000US limit on how much I could have in my account at anytime and told me I'd need to show a work contract for some types of deposits/transfers.

ANZ told me I there were no limits on the amount of money I could have in my account. And they didn't mention the need to show a work contract (which doesn't mean they won't be required at some point).

For those of you not doing money transfers, how are you getting your money here?

Also, it looks like my bank account which is in US dollars is of no use as it looks like the poker sites require transfers to bank accounts here be in Euros. So, it looks like I'm going to have to close my US dollar account and open a Euro account and a VND account.

I haven't played since April 15th. Stars has been extremely difficult, unreasonable, illogical and incompetent in getting my mailing address changed - but I'm praying I might get final approval this week and can hopefully start working again.
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Old 05-22-2011, 07:41 PM   #2
MrGoodCat
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Re: online pros living in Vietnam thread

Hey! Got some questions to get this thread started :-)

How do you like HCMC in comparison to BA?
Do people speak English in HCMC?
Why did you choose HCMC over for example Manila, Philippines?
Is there a live poker scene in HCMC? If so, what level of players would you say it is?
How expensive/cheap is it generally? (Apartmentcosts, food, beer, ladies etc)

Cheers!
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Old 05-22-2011, 11:22 PM   #3
HC82
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Re: online pros living in Vietnam thread

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Old 05-23-2011, 02:28 AM   #4
DonJuan
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Re: online pros living in Vietnam thread

Been staying here since the 26th of last month. Relocated from philly and temp. Staying in dist. 6. Got introduce to a group of cool guys from cali staying here. I will post more of what I learn so far later. But in short I am enjoyinh the culture.
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Old 05-23-2011, 09:02 AM   #5
sl4v3
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Re: online pros living in Vietnam thread

- How do you like HCMC in comparison to BA?

Hard to compare. Very different experiences. I had a great time in BA and made lots of great friends. I'm liking it here for the most part other than being extremely stressed out since April 15th. Overall, I would say i liked BA better so far. But, I didn't like BA at first until I made some friends and learned a little Spanish.

- Do people speak English in HCMC?

Yes, somewhat. Almost all stores and restaurants (other than the super local ones) here will speak to you in English. Most people are eager to practice their English also. They're not always easy to understand or for you to be understood, but you can usually work it out. My roommate has lived here for about a year and doesn't speak any Vietnamese at all (other than "left" and "right" to direct the taxi to our hard-to-find house) and she doesn't seem to have much trouble communicating with who she needs to.

I think staying in HCMC knowing no Vietnamese is much easier than staying in BA knowing no Spanish.

- Why did you choose HCMC over for example Manila, Philippines?

It was a toss up between HCMC, Philippines, and Thailand. I've stayed here and in Thailand before. I'd planned to spend time in all 3 places (and still hope to eventually). My friend I knew in the States had been living here a while and her roommate left suddenly, so I let that make my decision as I wouldn't have to search for a place on my own.

- Is there a live poker scene in HCMC? If so, what level of players would you say it is?

A friend told me a big home game (big as far as number of people, I think it's fairly low stakes) that plays every Saturday. I've never gone to it. He told me the level of play there is terrible and I believe him.

- How expensive/cheap is it generally? (Apartmentcosts, food, beer, ladies etc)

We rent a house that costs $500 + utilities per month which I share with a friend. It's about 15-20 minutes from downtown. We have a maid that comes 3 times a week and we pay her $75/month (probably paying her more than we need to). Places in district one (dowtown) will definitely cost more than here. I think you could pay anywhere from $300-$2000US for a place depending on how nice you want it and the location and how much they cater to foreigners.

Food is cheap depending where you go. You can eat in a local place for about $1US if you want. The nicer and foreign restaurants will cost more but I would still consider them cheap. A nice steak dinner with wine in a French restaurant might cost $15. Basically, you can eat very cheaply here if you choose to. Also, a lot of restaurants of a decent size will deliver to your house for free which is very convenient.

Drinking here is basically similar to the food. It all depends on where you go as to how much you pay but it can be very cheap.

Price of ladies?? My sources tell me the going rate for bar girls is $50US with an extremely high probability of being robbed if she has the opportunity. I'm sure there are more secure and probably cheaper ways to hook up with a working girl, but I don't have any info on that.

Normal girls. Being a westerner is often a big plus in the eyes of many of the girls here. Many are quite conservative but not all. They are usually fun to go out with and definitely helpful in finding new places and trying new things.
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Old 05-23-2011, 05:18 PM   #6
MrGoodCat
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Re: online pros living in Vietnam thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by sl4v3 View Post
- How do you like HCMC in comparison to BA?

Hard to compare. Very different experiences. I had a great time in BA and made lots of great friends. I'm liking it here for the most part other than being extremely stressed out since April 15th. Overall, I would say i liked BA better so far. But, I didn't like BA at first until I made some friends and learned a little Spanish.

- Do people speak English in HCMC?

Yes, somewhat. Almost all stores and restaurants (other than the super local ones) here will speak to you in English. Most people are eager to practice their English also. They're not always easy to understand or for you to be understood, but you can usually work it out. My roommate has lived here for about a year and doesn't speak any Vietnamese at all (other than "left" and "right" to direct the taxi to our hard-to-find house) and she doesn't seem to have much trouble communicating with who she needs to.

I think staying in HCMC knowing no Vietnamese is much easier than staying in BA knowing no Spanish.

- Why did you choose HCMC over for example Manila, Philippines?

It was a toss up between HCMC, Philippines, and Thailand. I've stayed here and in Thailand before. I'd planned to spend time in all 3 places (and still hope to eventually). My friend I knew in the States had been living here a while and her roommate left suddenly, so I let that make my decision as I wouldn't have to search for a place on my own.

- Is there a live poker scene in HCMC? If so, what level of players would you say it is?

A friend told me a big home game (big as far as number of people, I think it's fairly low stakes) that plays every Saturday. I've never gone to it. He told me the level of play there is terrible and I believe him.

- How expensive/cheap is it generally? (Apartmentcosts, food, beer, ladies etc)

We rent a house that costs $500 + utilities per month which I share with a friend. It's about 15-20 minutes from downtown. We have a maid that comes 3 times a week and we pay her $75/month (probably paying her more than we need to). Places in district one (dowtown) will definitely cost more than here. I think you could pay anywhere from $300-$2000US for a place depending on how nice you want it and the location and how much they cater to foreigners.

Food is cheap depending where you go. You can eat in a local place for about $1US if you want. The nicer and foreign restaurants will cost more but I would still consider them cheap. A nice steak dinner with wine in a French restaurant might cost $15. Basically, you can eat very cheaply here if you choose to. Also, a lot of restaurants of a decent size will deliver to your house for free which is very convenient.

Drinking here is basically similar to the food. It all depends on where you go as to how much you pay but it can be very cheap.

Price of ladies?? My sources tell me the going rate for bar girls is $50US with an extremely high probability of being robbed if she has the opportunity. I'm sure there are more secure and probably cheaper ways to hook up with a working girl, but I don't have any info on that.

Normal girls. Being a westerner is often a big plus in the eyes of many of the girls here. Many are quite conservative but not all. They are usually fun to go out with and definitely helpful in finding new places and trying new things.
Great answers, thank you! And have a great time in HCMC btw! :-)
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Old 05-24-2011, 12:39 AM   #7
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Re: online pros living in Vietnam thread

I have an ANZ account also, and I think there was some confusion as to the 8k thing. I think you are talking about the 7k(might be 8k now) limit on depositing cash into your account. It's a government thing to make sure that businesses aren't cheating on their taxes etc. So everytime you deposit cash they check your entry/exit form for what you marked down and then stamp it for how much you have deposited in cash. For checks and everything else though there is no problem. I may be wrong though, never had to deposit more than a few thousand in check form. Checks here take 4 -6 weeks to cash, just wire the money, way simpler and almost the same in fees. $25 vs $50 for a wire. Have no idea on your other questions though.
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Old 05-27-2011, 02:03 AM   #8
SwedishSavant
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Re: online pros living in Vietnam thread

Is Anyone looking for a roommate?
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Old 05-27-2011, 02:55 AM   #9
prodonkey
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Re: online pros living in Vietnam thread

what's the visa situation like there?
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Old 05-28-2011, 03:01 AM   #10
plat4me
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Re: online pros living in Vietnam thread

3 month tourist visas, same entry/exit thing you have to do like Thailand.
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Old 05-28-2011, 06:44 AM   #11
DDNK
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Re: online pros living in Vietnam thread

No entry-exit thing here in HCM.

Visa situation is different in the different cities. Hanoi's probably a pain just due to their wanting to keep the Chinese out.

HCM: 3mo tourist visa single-entry = $55, 3mo multiple-entry = $95
You can renew 3 times for either. I only know the single-entry is $35 for renewal.
After that, you can reapply and get a new visa without leaving the country.
You need to go through a tourist agency, the visa officials will actually turn you away if you apply directly.

There are also 6mo visas available, although I'm not up on them.
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Old 05-28-2011, 11:18 AM   #12
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Re: online pros living in Vietnam thread

What DDNK said is probably correct, I'm on a 1 year visa now but when I was teaching English, they did 3 month visa's and you didn't have to leave. Thought that you had to leave if you weren't working but guess not.
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Old 05-29-2011, 01:53 AM   #13
stuck_in_vn
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Re: online pros living in Vietnam thread

Been living and playing online poker in Vietnam for over 4 years now so if you have any specific questions just pm me. I don't browse two plus two that much so I won't be answering the questions in the thread. Or check out my blog which talks about living in Vietnam, local style.

8000mileslater.blogspot.com
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Old 05-29-2011, 02:01 AM   #14
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Re: online pros living in Vietnam thread

How do you like HCMC in comparison to BA?
Do people speak English in HCMC?

There's a lot of foreigners and expats living in District 1 and 3. If you're talking about locals, specifically girls, their english isn't that great. Worst than say Thailand. But you can the girls you meet in district 1 and 3 can probably converse with you in English.
Why did you choose HCMC over for example Manila, Philippines?
I've been to Manila. The live game there is decent, but i'd say it's a lot more dangerous to live in Manila than Vietnam. Besides a few purse snatching crime is very minimal. The people are nice, and the girls overall are a lot prettier but like i said you sacrifice the the english capabilities. It's cheaper to live in HCMC as well if you want to live on a budget.
Is there a live poker scene in HCMC? If so, what level of players would you say it is? There's a few homegames played here with expats and the games consist of nonprofessionals that are of decent quality. Games aren't too big though. I've heard of huge local games, but it's at your own risk to bring large sums of money to some random place to play a home game.
How expensive/cheap is it generally? (Apartmentcosts, food, beer, ladies etc)
Honestly, it all depends on how you want to live. You can live lavishly and be treated like a king. Or you can live on a budget and spend 700-800 USD a month yet still live pretty comfortably. Girls can also range. I know of places for $30 bucks with pretty decent quality. Most expats get fooled into paying 50-80 bucks and they're decent themselves. And then there's supernice ones that can cost around $200.
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Old 05-30-2011, 12:41 AM   #15
Alpha 5.20
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Re: online pros living in Vietnam thread

To sl4v3: How is that you got trouble changing your pokerstars account mailing adress? I relocated in Vietnam 2 weeks ago and just send stars my rental contract, they changed my account within 30 minutes no problems.
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Old 05-30-2011, 10:27 AM   #16
sl4v3
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Re: online pros living in Vietnam thread

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Originally Posted by Alpha 5.20 View Post
To sl4v3: How is that you got trouble changing your pokerstars account mailing adress? I relocated in Vietnam 2 weeks ago and just send stars my rental contract, they changed my account within 30 minutes no problems.
My lease wasn't in my name. I just took over the lease after my friend's roommate had to leave suddenly. So, it was a big process to get my landlord to replace the old roommate's name with my name on the contract.

Then Stars rejected my lease contract because I'd been living here more than 3 months. I'd lived here for 4 months. I don't know why a year long contract signed four months ago is somehow less valid to Stars than one signed yesterday. But it is to them.

I sent copies of my visas in my passport, a bank statement in my name, a picture of me outside my house showing my address, and utility bills in my landlord's name and probably several other things I'm forgetting.

They rejected my bank statement because they said it looked fake. I sent more documents from my bank and they then accepted it. A few days later they rejected it again. I sent more bank documents and they accepted it again.

I arranged for my landline call. As I didn't have a landline, they agreed to call me at a bar where I'm friendly with the owner at 4pm the next day. At noon that day, I check my email and they are saying they tried to call but I wasn't there. That I now must provide a residencial landline. I emailed them back and told them they called at the wrong time and to please call me at the prearranged time. I arrive at the bar at 3:30 and wait. 11:30pm, they call. Almost 8 hours after they said they would call. Everything is good he says and I should have my address changed shortly.

A few days later I get another email. You guessed it, my bank statement has been rejected AGAIN! They say I need a certified bank statement. So I head to the bank and get one. Send it again. And.... wait for it..... rejected again because they say it doesn't contain my address. WTF? My address is about the ONLY thing on the statement as I only have one transaction on the statement. I tell them to look again. They then approved it.

A week later, my address change still wasn't approved. I emailed them asking what the hold up was. Oops, seems my file was taken out of the queue on my last bank statement rejection and never put back in. The next day, I was finally approved.
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Old 05-30-2011, 09:40 PM   #17
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Re: online pros living in Vietnam thread

Wow! Thats sounds like an absolutely ridiculous story!

I also need to open a bank account in Vietnam now, I was thinking of HSBC but I never heard of that 8k limit stuff and work permit which I obviously dont have. Anybody has some more information about that?
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Old 05-31-2011, 05:04 AM   #18
sl4v3
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Re: online pros living in Vietnam thread

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Originally Posted by Alpha 5.20 View Post
Wow! Thats sounds like an absolutely ridiculous story!

I also need to open a bank account in Vietnam now, I was thinking of HSBC but I never heard of that 8k limit stuff and work permit which I obviously dont have. Anybody has some more information about that?
As someone else mentioned, I probably misunderstood on the limit and the work contract stuff that HSBC mentioned to me. But I am sure they wouldn't let me open an account without a Vietnamese government ID card which I don't have. I highly recommend ANZ. They were super easy to work with and they only require your passport to open an account. The guy found a loophole for me so I wouldn't have to pay the $35 fee for closing my USD account within a year (I closed it and opened Euro and VND accounts which is what you'll need for most sites if you're going to wire money and get a debit card to withdraw VND). I've also been told that the wire and other fees are less at ANZ (although I haven't verified this). 39 Le Duan is the address.
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Old 05-31-2011, 08:59 AM   #19
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Re: online pros living in Vietnam thread

I dont really understand why a foreigner need a vietnamese ID card to open an HSBC bank account, it's supposed to be an international bank, and one of the biggest ones with that. I will probably end up opening an euro account at ANZ bank then.
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Old 05-31-2011, 10:28 AM   #20
sl4v3
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Re: online pros living in Vietnam thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alpha 5.20 View Post
I dont really understand why a foreigner need a vietnamese ID card to open an HSBC bank account, it's supposed to be an international bank, and one of the biggest ones with that. I will probably end up opening an euro account at ANZ bank then.
I'm told it's not hard to get a Vietnamese government ID card if you have a strong preference for HSBC.

With ANZ, if you open a Euro account and you want to have a debit card to use in VN, you'll need to open a VND account as well (you can't withdraw directly from your Euro account at an ATM here). You can transfer back and forth between the accounts online. The minimum balances you'll need to open your accounts are 300 Euros and 3 million VND.
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Old 06-14-2011, 04:29 AM   #21
Alpha 5.20
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Re: online pros living in Vietnam thread

Well, I tried to open an ANZ bank account yesterday and couldnt do it with just my passport, they are also asking for a birth certificate...
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Old 06-15-2011, 08:15 AM   #22
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Re: online pros living in Vietnam thread

That's kind of weird.. didn't need it to open up my account. What country are you from?
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Old 06-15-2011, 05:52 PM   #23
sl4v3
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Re: online pros living in Vietnam thread

Ya, that's strange. I don't know if there are multiple branches, but did you go to the one on 39 Le Duan? If not, I would try there. Also, it sounds silly, but I would recommend you wear pants and shoes rather than shorts and flip-flops. You'll get slightly more respect.

On the other hand, I tried to wire money from Stars to my account. The bank never received the funds and so Stars sent me an MT103 document showing the details of the wire which I showed to ANZ. The bank did an investigation and said all details of the wire were correct but that they just never received any funds. I told Stars to investigate and they recalled the funds and charged me $72 for the recall saying my SWIFT code must have been wrong. I showed them ANZ's website to confirm that I entered the correct SWIFT code. They are now asking their processor what went wrong. Nothing is easy here.

Last edited by sl4v3; 06-15-2011 at 06:04 PM.
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Old 06-15-2011, 08:47 PM   #24
Alpha 5.20
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Re: online pros living in Vietnam thread

I came back with a birth certificate and could open a euro account this time, and yes I went to the one in 39 le duan, it's not too far from where I live anyways. But yes the first time I went in shorts and flip-flops saying that I was just a tourist spending money in Vietnam, couldnt make it, the second time I still went in shorts and flip-flops but said right away that I play online poker and invest into real estate when the girl (a different one) asked what I do for a living, 3 minutes later I had my account...

Wtf are you talking about? That is a very scary story, how the **** is it possible the bank never receive the money if all the papers were correct? I cashed out yesterday and really hope it goes smoothly, especially that I will need the money very soon to pay a 10% account on an apartment I want to buy in riviera point and also I need cash to go play in Macao next month. ****. Stars new policy of only allowing cahsouts to a bank in the same country as the registered account leads to ridiculous situations.
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Old 06-24-2011, 02:31 AM   #25
sl4v3
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Re: online pros living in Vietnam thread

Update on my wire woes: Stars insisted my account details were wrong. I assured them they were not. They agreed to refund my $72 if I got a letter from my bank verifying my account details, so I did that. Stars refunded the money and said sorry. When Stars asked their processor specifically what went wrong, the processor said ANZ told them that no account existed with my details. I told ANZ this and they said that is impossible. So who knows what went wrong. Anyway, I requested another wire on Monday. It still hasn't hit my account and I have sick feeling it won't. I don't know what my next step will be if that is the case. Has anyone had success wiring money from Stars to ANZ yet?
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