In Case You Were Wondering, Kane Kalas Makes a Living Playing Online Poker in Costa Rica

Kane_kalas_poker1Photo: Clayton R. Norman

Of course Harry Kalas’ son is living a nomad’s life and making hundreds of thousands of dollars playing online poker in Costa Rica.


Wait, what?

Most of us know Kane Kalas as the somewhat dorky-looking kid whom the Phillies roll out once or twice a season to honor his father… or sing the national anthem during Game 5 of this year’s NLDS.

It was after said game that Kane – still wearing his grey suit and white shoes – and an “attractive” woman ran into a local sports fan, who we’ll call “Tom.”

I bumped into Tom after hosting quizzo at Drinker’s last month. He told me the story of running into Kalas just hours after the Phillies’ season ended at the hands of the now World Champion Cardinals. Kalas, who was unfamiliar with the city, was looking for “a bar,” and elicited the help of my new drinking buddy to find a suitable establishment (you tell me a story about a dapper Kane Kalas, I’m your new best friend). Tom immediately recognized the silky pipes and the, um, noticeable suit. It was Harry’s son.

Tom showed Kane to the popular, bar-laden strip in Old City, eventually stopping outside (if memory serves me correctly) Cuba Libre. Kane, thankful for the assistance, offered to buy Tom a drink. Realizing that it’s against some law to refuse a drink from the offspring of Harry Kalas, Tom took Kane up on the offer.


The two talked for a while about the Phillies, politics and other things. Oh, and the fact that Kane lives in Costa Rica and makes a living playing online poker.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: No way

So was I.

I think most of us, as fans, were under the impression that Kane was in school somewhere, or making money with those pipes.

I left the bar shortly after, retreated to my basement and kind of forgot about the whole thing, filing it away as an “interesting but questionable tidbit.”

Until today.

Reader Greg sent me a Tweet, joking about who would win a fight, Scott Paterno or Kane Kalas? [the answer is Kane, by the way] That tweet reminded me of the story, so I turned to the Google machine: Kane Kalas Costa Rica.

Boom! Results.

Kane Kalas makes six-figures playing online poker in Costa Rica.


Kane Kalas, who goes by the moniker Nascar_1949 online, told PocketFives Podcast listeners about the process of relocating to the Central American country of Costa Rica.

“It takes a couple of weeks. I came out here about two and a half or three weeks ago and it probably took me two weeks to get back up and going on PokerStars. The bank accounts were actually pretty easy. I was able to set up two bank accounts. The first one took a couple of hours and the second one took about 20 minutes.” 


It turns out (you can’t make this stuff up), Harry’s son was one of the many high-stakes online poker players who potentially lost gobs of money on “Black Friday,” April 15, the day the U.S. shut down poker sites and froze the assets of their participants.

Kane, along with many others, needed a place to play — and a way to make money.

Enter Kristin Wilson, a surfer who has traveled the globe.

Wilson recognized the need for U.S.-based online poker players to set-up shop in poker-friendly lands like Canada, Panama, Argentina, Chile… and Costa Rica. She started a company that offered to assist in the sometimes not-so-simple relocation process, charging clients a flat $1,000 fee for her services.

Kalas hooked up with Wilson (not literally), and was on his way to Costa Rica late this summer: []

Kane Kalas, 22, and Alex McElroy, 23, are two of Wilson’s clients. High-tech international nomads, the two landed in Costa Rica in late September as a result of the U.S. government shutting down their livelihoods. After being in Costa Rica just a week, Wilson has them set up in an Escazú condominium while they ink a deal to rent a five-bedroom house in Santa Ana. They are working to set up Costa Rican bank accounts proving they are not playing from a U.S. location and allowing them to get back to playing online poker.

They play between seven and 10 hours of poker daily. They use software to track thousands of hands they’ve played in order to recognize long-term patterns in their opponents’ play. Both say they expect to earn between $140,000 and $300,000 this year, once they start playing again.


That’s a lot of coin for playing games on the Internet. It’s all true, though.


Kane is regarded as one of the top players in the world. A quick Google search turns up tons of results, which are as awesome as they are surreal. His Google+ profile also lists Costa Rica as his home.

So, yeah, Harry Kalas’ son lives in Costa Rica and makes hundreds of thousands of dollars playing online poker. Tremendous. 

Here’s video of Kane, from 2010, sipping a beer and talking about how he pretty much rules… and how his father was a "recreational gambler."


Whomp, there goes another rubber tree plant.

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10 Responses

  1. You should start a “Another rich kid living off his dad’s legacy” post…i want more Scott pa!

  2. Good for Kane. If he can make a living from poker (online or no), how is that any different than earning a living on Wall St (using software that does instant heavy volume trading for small per-share profits on a massive scale)?
    You can’t do better than Costa Rica if those are all the choices, although the increased cost of living would lead me to settle on Panama instead. Have you ever been to Costa Rica or Panama, Boyo? If he earned a lot more than what you report I’d settle in Monaco (assuming online gambling is OK there too).
    Like I say, this is free enterprise at its finest.

  3. Part of me what’s to hoist him on my shoulders. There’s another part of me that wants to beat the living shit out of him.


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