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Old 01-03-2010, 05:55 AM   #1
FLKicksAss
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Ask me about living in Riga, Latvia

Hi.

Take an advantage of crisis - move to Latvia if you plan to play lot of poker.
Latvia is here: http://www.sia-registracija.lv/img/latvia-on-map-EU.jpg

+EU country
+cheap (possible to live with 1k usd per month. It's above countries average salary. Good flat - 400-500 usd per month, food in the shop - add another 400-500 + extra spending - up to you)
+lots of newly built cafes, SPAs, restaurants
+Can have good amount of fun for 2k per month
+easy to move in/out
+no problems with cashing out
+lots of good, high speed wi-fi
+cheap internet, easy to get it (as fast as 48h, not like Germany where it takes 3 generations)
+cheap taxis - 0.5 - 0.75 usd/km
+cheap to fly to Europe - Ryanair
+people speak English, Russian (if you know it), some German
+good food
+girls (unless you are a fat, ugly prick)


-not the best weather (better than UK's though)
-Nordic mentality - for some it's a "-".
-government (for locals)
-quality of roads


Feel free to ask any question. There are a few 2+2ers living there who will help if you have specific questions.
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Old 01-03-2010, 09:59 AM   #2
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Re: Ask me about living in Riga, Latvia

Visa conditions would be the obvious question for people interested in living there.
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Old 01-03-2010, 11:11 AM   #3
FLKicksAss
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Re: Ask me about living in Riga, Latvia

All fine with that - maestro, visa, AmEx. Haven't encountered a problem with that
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Old 01-03-2010, 11:31 AM   #4
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Re: Ask me about living in Riga, Latvia

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Originally Posted by FLKicksAss View Post
All fine with that - maestro, visa, AmEx. Haven't encountered a problem with that
I think he meant travel/tourist papers that allow you to stay in a country, not a debit/credit/atm card.
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Old 01-03-2010, 12:13 PM   #5
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Re: Ask me about living in Riga, Latvia

how many of your friends committed suicide?
and do they tax poker earnings?
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Old 01-03-2010, 12:14 PM   #6
FLKicksAss
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Re: Ask me about living in Riga, Latvia

That was my second guess. Anyhow, in Germany, where I lived for a while I VISA worked only in few shops.
About visas.
No problem for European Union citizens
For americans - you can be here free as a tourists and claim that you looooove the country this is why you rent a flat. Basically the policy is that Latvia likes people arriving and staying because it means $ in taxes etc.
It probably differs from country to country but there haven't been any problems with that.
Also opening a bank account is really easy - can be done in 10 min. I personally recommend Swedbank because of it's award winning and super easy-to-use internetbank.
Prepaid phone cards can be popped up from internet bank account.
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Old 01-03-2010, 12:38 PM   #7
FLKicksAss
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Re: Ask me about living in Riga, Latvia

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Originally Posted by krnpeoples View Post
how many of your friends committed suicide?
and do they tax poker earnings?
0
no
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Old 01-03-2010, 04:02 PM   #8
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Re: Ask me about living in Riga, Latvia

Latvia sound like a country full of exotic women...
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Old 01-03-2010, 05:24 PM   #9
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Re: Ask me about living in Riga, Latvia

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Originally Posted by FLKicksAss View Post
+girls (unless you are a fat, ugly prick)
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Old 01-03-2010, 08:11 PM   #10
genjix
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Re: Ask me about living in Riga, Latvia

i will go stay in riga in the summer. where's a good place to find those cheap apartments you just mentioned?

are people conservative at all there? i dont like religious/conservative countries
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Old 01-04-2010, 10:15 AM   #11
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Re: Ask me about living in Riga, Latvia

Hello Dear flkickass,

I'm Kevin. I'm a french guy so please sorry for my bad english skills.

I'm profesional poker player for 2 years yet and i'm planning to travel in estern europe to have a look... I've been living in Amercia latina and USA and i feel like move in a news place.

So I would like to know more about the casino in RIGA. Is there a lot of cash game table in Riga? I'm used to play no limit holdhem. which level of blinds could i play there? 2-5, 5-10???

Will I need my car or it's easy to move buy taxi in riga?

Thanks you a lot for information guys.

Bye
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Old 01-04-2010, 01:07 PM   #12
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Re: Ask me about living in Riga, Latvia

How long do I get to stay before the Russian mob kicks the **** out of me?
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Old 01-04-2010, 03:16 PM   #13
alex23
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Re: Ask me about living in Riga, Latvia

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How long do I get to stay before the Russian mob kicks the **** out of me?
Depends whether you piss them off obv
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Old 01-05-2010, 10:06 AM   #14
OGS20
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Re: Ask me about living in Riga, Latvia

Could you get by living in Latvia speaking only English?

Also, how easy is it to rent fully furnished apartments? Do they normally come with the internet already installed or is that something you would have to sort out yourself?

Thanks.
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Old 01-25-2010, 09:56 PM   #15
B T R O M Z
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Re: Ask me about living in Riga, Latvia

Quote:
Originally Posted by ajchab View Post
Hello Dear flkickass,

I'm Kevin. I'm a french guy so please sorry for my bad english skills.

I'm profesional poker player for 2 years yet and i'm planning to travel in estern europe to have a look... I've been living in Amercia latina and USA and i feel like move in a news place.

So I would like to know more about the casino in RIGA. Is there a lot of cash game table in Riga? I'm used to play no limit holdhem. which level of blinds could i play there? 2-5, 5-10???

Will I need my car or it's easy to move buy taxi in riga?

Thanks you a lot for information guys.

Bye

v bad cash games @ casinos and not much big home games. def not a contry to live if u r looking for live poker action
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Old 01-26-2010, 12:31 AM   #16
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Re: Ask me about living in Riga, Latvia

wat does nordic mentality mean?
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Old 01-26-2010, 03:43 AM   #17
rsxpunk
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Re: Ask me about living in Riga, Latvia

oh ive always heard that girls in riga are some of the hottest in the world...

is it easy to find serviced apt's that you can rent month to month?

how well can you get by with speaking only english?

post some stories please im curious.
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Old 01-26-2010, 04:19 PM   #18
Slappz
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Re: Ask me about living in Riga, Latvia

You say 'take advantage of a crisis' meaning what exactly?
It looks cold... Skiing mountains around?
How would you compare it with surrounding EU countries? better things/worse things?
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Old 01-26-2010, 05:29 PM   #19
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Re: Ask me about living in Riga, Latvia

Quote:
Originally Posted by Slappz View Post
You say 'take advantage of a crisis' meaning what exactly?
It looks cold... Skiing mountains around?
How would you compare it with surrounding EU countries? better things/worse things?
Meaning that Latvia as a country has crashed tremendously and thus all prices went down?

Warning: I've been to Riga this last summer, and it's not that good IMO. Tallinn is much better, just as many hot chicks, and they're much friendlier in my experience. In Riga there are tons of "clubs" and "lounges" that are just front for extortion businesses where non-natives will be ripped off. Girls even in normal, reputable clubs can sometimes be trying to get you to go to those (happened to me at the #1 club). Sure you can get by if you're super cautious, but a lot of the hot girls who will speak to you in English in the downtown area are working some sort of angle. Also, foreigners are not perceived very well because of the English bachelor parties thrown in Riga with total disrespect for locals. All in all, if considering Riga, I think Tallinn presents a much better option in a more stable country with still a ton of hot Estonian/Russian girls and where you will still be rich with a poker income.

Also, the LVL probably went down since I went, but when I was there this past May prices were not cheap at all in downtown compared to other Baltic countries. The LVL was like $2 USD / 1 LVL, although that probably fell some since then (not looking it up).

The city has near-ruins in the downtown area and lots of buildings that are crap/ravaged and look like a post-WW2 picture. People from there want to leave in my experience. After 3 days there I totally hated the city. This comes from someone who has traveled a TON and has been twice to Tallinn, and loves it. Basically all the positives of Riga, with none of the negatives.

EDIT: A massive advantage of Riga over Tallinn is Air Baltic, a cheap airline that has flights to a TON of destinations around Europe/Middle East/Asia hubbed in Riga, whereas Tallinn has basically no air transportation. Couple direct flights on traditional carriers, but very very limited compared to Riga/Helsinki. However, both these cities are within reach (boat, 1h30, or bus to riga, like 3-5 hours can't remember), and there is also an air baltic connection Tallinn airport -> Riga (where you can go anywhere).

Last edited by Jim14Qc; 01-26-2010 at 05:34 PM.
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Old 03-25-2010, 04:19 AM   #20
AugustasN
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Re: Ask me about living in Riga, Latvia

Where else are poker tournament organized besides Casino Olympic? And can you give some info about live cash games? Stakes, place, how often do they run?
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Old 04-26-2010, 08:20 PM   #21
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Re: Ask me about living in Riga, Latvia

The OP seems to be neglecting this thread. I'm English but I've lived in Latvia for 8 years and 2 of those were in Rīga. I can answer any questions if you wish.

Re. Nordic mentality? I can't help but think that this was wishful thinking from the OP. Latvians are nothing like Scandinavians. Standards of education here are poor. Ignorance, racism, homophobia, belief in astrology, the superb value of Eastcon products and other such nonsense are widespread. The majority of males are alcoholics (I do not believe this to be an exaggeration.) Many educated and more intelligent or dynamic people have already left the country to live and work in Western Europe. When they leave they usually say they'll come back. Few do.

The culture is more Russian than Nordic, but Latvians tend to be more passive and more introvert than Russians. Incidentally, Latvians are a minority in Rīga.

I really wouldn't recommend living in Rīga. I live in the countryside which is almost devoid of people apart from some pensioners and the occasional harmless chronic alcoholic. The Latvian countryside is a cheap and stress-free place to live. It's mostly uncultivated and, where I live anyway, it's mainly forest. I read somewhere that the Latvian countryside has the lowest density of population in Europe.

The OP posted that poker winnings are not taxed. My understanding is that they are in fact taxed but the Revenue service (VID) has not got its act together to enforce this. Although, like most things in Latvia, the situation is unclear and open to interpretation. In fact the VID are probably more or less unaware that people are able to earn money from gambling, as most gambling here is in the form of slot machines, lotteries and other hopeless formats, ideally suited to the ill-educated and/or drunk.

I don't play live here but I understand that there is little live poker apart from some illegal clubs that foreigners are unlikely to find or be given access to.

If you visit Rīga, please heed Jim's warnings. Beware the night-life industry especially. Most of these businesses are intent on ripping off tourists, so be very careful. There are plenty of nice Latvian girls, but you're unlikely to find them in the bars and clubs.

Life in general is tough for Latvian females because they normally have to do most of the work and they have very little chance of meeting a normal man. The Latvian male tends to be chauvinistic, greedy, shallow, selfish and spoiled by his mother, as well as having problems with alcohol and tobacco dependence. His main aim in life is to own a BMW and to drive it like a testosteroned idiot. Unwelcome traits in females to look out for are envy, cattiness and schadenfreude. Unfortunately, most seem have these traits to some degree, even the nicest ones. I know these are terrible generalizations but this is how I've found most people to be. There are, of course, happily, many exceptions.

Re. speaking only English. In Rīga it would be pretty easy to get by just speaking English. Especially if mixing mainly with younger people. Older people tend to know a little German rather than English. If you live in the countryside you'll need to learn Latvian. In Daugavpils - Russian. Most Russians in Latvia get by speaking only Russian, but this is becoming more difficult for them now that few Latvian children learn Russian in school.
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Old 04-27-2010, 05:05 AM   #22
headache3
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Re: Ask me about living in Riga, Latvia

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Originally Posted by SteveCut View Post
The OP seems to be neglecting this thread. I'm English but I've lived in Latvia for 8 years and 2 of those were in Rīga. I can answer any questions if you wish.

Re. Nordic mentality? I can't help but think that this was wishful thinking from the OP. Latvians are nothing like Scandinavians. Standards of education here are poor. Ignorance, racism, homophobia, belief in astrology, the superb value of Eastcon products and other such nonsense are widespread. The majority of males are alcoholics (I do not believe this to be an exaggeration.) Many educated and more intelligent or dynamic people have already left the country to live and work in Western Europe. When they leave they usually say they'll come back. Few do.

The culture is more Russian than Nordic, but Latvians tend to be more passive and more introvert than Russians. Incidentally, Latvians are a minority in Rīga.

I really wouldn't recommend living in Rīga. I live in the countryside which is almost devoid of people apart from some pensioners and the occasional harmless chronic alcoholic. The Latvian countryside is a cheap and stress-free place to live. It's mostly uncultivated and, where I live anyway, it's mainly forest. I read somewhere that the Latvian countryside has the lowest density of population in Europe.

The OP posted that poker winnings are not taxed. My understanding is that they are in fact taxed but the Revenue service (VID) has not got its act together to enforce this. Although, like most things in Latvia, the situation is unclear and open to interpretation. In fact the VID are probably more or less unaware that people are able to earn money from gambling, as most gambling here is in the form of slot machines, lotteries and other hopeless formats, ideally suited to the ill-educated and/or drunk.

I don't play live here but I understand that there is little live poker apart from some illegal clubs that foreigners are unlikely to find or be given access to.

If you visit Rīga, please heed Jim's warnings. Beware the night-life industry especially. Most of these businesses are intent on ripping off tourists, so be very careful. There are plenty of nice Latvian girls, but you're unlikely to find them in the bars and clubs.

Life in general is tough for Latvian females because they normally have to do most of the work and they have very little chance of meeting a normal man. The Latvian male tends to be chauvinistic, greedy, shallow, selfish and spoiled by his mother, as well as having problems with alcohol and tobacco dependence. His main aim in life is to own a BMW and to drive it like a testosteroned idiot. Unwelcome traits in females to look out for are envy, cattiness and schadenfreude. Unfortunately, most seem have these traits to some degree, even the nicest ones. I know these are terrible generalizations but this is how I've found most people to be. There are, of course, happily, many exceptions.

Re. speaking only English. In Rīga it would be pretty easy to get by just speaking English. Especially if mixing mainly with younger people. Older people tend to know a little German rather than English. If you live in the countryside you'll need to learn Latvian. In Daugavpils - Russian. Most Russians in Latvia get by speaking only Russian, but this is becoming more difficult for them now that few Latvian children learn Russian in school.
Thanks for this. A couple questions.

Can you comment any on Liepaja? Are the people the same? Same cultural trends?

There is a girl from my university from Liepaja who I am pretty good friends with who displays some interesting characteristics. She tends to be a bit bossy and make decisions for the group she is with without taking into consideration other peoples feelings. She also makes many comments about how things are better in Latvia (restaurants, TV, etc..) When it comes down to it I like her and enjoy her company, and I honestly think she is a good person. However, she is pretty selfish at times. Is this typical of a Latvian girl?

She is trying to get me and my girlfriend to come stay with her this summer for a month or so during some music festival. I am considering it but really dont wanna go if the people are really like you say.
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Old 04-27-2010, 05:14 AM   #23
TomJones09
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Re: Ask me about living in Riga, Latvia

Was in Riga last month and it was one of the first places I have been to that I didnt like.
Dont know what you mean with nordic, but latvia cant be compared with scandinavia.
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Old 04-27-2010, 05:43 AM   #24
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Re: Ask me about living in Riga, Latvia

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Dont know what you mean with nordic, but latvia cant be compared with scandinavia.
Absolutely! That was my point, Tom.
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Old 04-27-2010, 07:12 AM   #25
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Re: Ask me about living in Riga, Latvia

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Thanks for this. A couple questions.

Can you comment any on Liepaja? Are the people the same? Same cultural trends?
I like Liepāja. It's nothing like Rīga. It's much smaller, feels more friendly and has more of a youth, musical, culture to it. It also has a bit of history, some older buildings (nothing spectacular, just nice) and is a seaside town. If I had to live in a town in Latvia, Liepāja would be top of my list. Not sure about the people, as I've only visited the town 3 or 4 times and spent maybe a week there in total, but, come to think of it, I didn't notice the usual staggering drunks on the streets there. Most tourists to Latvia go to Rīga. IMO they'd enjoy themselves much more in Liepāja, at least in the summer.

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There is a girl from my university from Liepaja who I am pretty good friends with who displays some interesting characteristics. She tends to be a bit bossy and make decisions for the group she is with without taking into consideration other peoples feelings. She also makes many comments about how things are better in Latvia (restaurants, TV, etc..) When it comes down to it I like her and enjoy her company, and I honestly think she is a good person. However, she is pretty selfish at times. Is this typical of a Latvian girl?
Oh yes. I know this girl very well
She probably is a good person at heart. Her problem is that she's been raised in Latvia. People here do not give consideration to others. A small example: when I first came here, soon after independence, I would stand in a queue waiting to be served in a corner shop. Being British (and stubbornly stupid), I would stand back from the person in front of me to give them some personal space and wait until their transaction had been completed before addressing the shopkeeper. This turned out to be a futile, yet interesting, exercise. I could stand there until the shop was empty before I'd get served. Other customers would just jump into the space I'd left, even though it was clear that I was queuing. The shopkeeper never gave a **** who's turn it was or how long someone might have to wait. It's every man for himself here. The same goes on the roads. On the plus side there's little road rage, presumably because that would lead to a continuous state of apoplexy.

Presumably because Latvia is a small, inconsequential country, Latvians tend to overcompensate by being overly patriotic. They think patriotism is a good thing and cannot understand my arguments against it. However, it is very difficult for me to understand what, exactly, they are patriotic about. Your friend quotes restaurants and television. IMO restaurants and television are extremely poor. To be frank, the food here is really awful. I won't go into detail for the time being, but believe me it is bad. Television consists of news (just don't look for in-depth analysis); watchdog shows that chunder on about inconsequentials like shops refusing to accept a jar of small change as payment, while the whole bloody infrastructure of the country is corrupt; interminable re-runs of American films of the Jim Carrey and/or talking animals variety; and originals or local copies of the most dumbed-down reality, quiz and sit-coms. Oh, and the interminable "dance/sing/suicide pact (please!?) with a ****** Star" type shows. There is absolutely NOTHING of quality. They do not even understand what quality is. OK, I know the TV companies do not want to spend a lot of money when buying foreign shows, but would Dad's Army really be much more expensive than "Are you being served". Would Frazer or Mash really be so much more expensive than Married with Children. Guess what we get? That's right: just the dumbed down trash. Oh, and there are no controls on sponsorship or advertising and I'm yet to meet a Latvian that has understood my arguments for the need to be. In effect State control of the media has simply been exchanged for corporate control of the media. Independence has been bypassed.

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She is trying to get me and my girlfriend to come stay with her this summer for a month or so during some music festival. I am considering it but really dont wanna go if the people are really like you say.
Give some serious consideration to coming. Liepāja is a nice place in summer and bear in mind that I've lived here a long time and, like Leonard Cohen's song, "this one has grown old and bitterrr" LOL! Take what I say with a pinch of salt as I'm an old nuģis really. Don't let me put you off. I think you may enjoy it. I could never recommend Rīga, but Liepāja is much more provincial and there's not the foreign tourist rip-off culture there. Have fun! If Prāta Vētra are playing at the festival - definitely go. They are a quality act.
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