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South of the Border: Heading to Rosarito to Play Online Poker

by Katie Dozier |  Published: Aug 31, '12


It’s a sad state of affairs when an American has to leave their country for the freedom to practice their profession. Such is the case for me and Rosarito, Mexico. While I do resent essentially being forced to do so, getting to spend time in another country is certainly something that I love to do!

My husband and I chose Rosarito for a couple of easy reasons: we can drive there routinely, being about 7 hours from our home in Vegas, and the cost of living is pretty cheap. We’ll maintain places in both areas and drive back and forth frequently. I was surprised to take some heat from haters on twitter while posting about my plan to do this: I will of course never play on my account from the US!

The first time we drove through the Mexican border into Tijuana, there was a huge back up on the scenic road we were supposed to take to Rosarito. Because our GPS seems to not be as much of a fan of Mexico as we are, we decided just to wait instead of trying to find an alternate route. The road on the scenic drive (which is a toll road) curves around the coast and we drove in just as the sun was setting. It was the prettiest road I’ve ever been on.

Of course, some of the horror stories about Mexican roads are true. Even though I’m a fan of rollercoasters and excitement in general, I was downright freaked out when we took a road to Ensenada that curved narrow lanes around cliffs with barely enough room for two cars.

Also on the scary spectrum are the occasional military checkpoints. Mexican men in camo uniforms with huge guns have had us get out of the car, and frequently poked around in our trunk. However, we soon realized that we were partially inviting a search by rolling down our window and saying “Hola” to the one in charge.

Therein an exchange would take place that involved them learning that we didn’t speak much Spanish and us learning that few of them spoke English. While we don’t have anything to hide, being ordered around in a foreign language by people with guns is never a relaxing experience. Mid-way through the trip, we learned that the cool kids don’t roll their window down when they reach the checkpoint, they just wave. Every time we’ve done this, we’ve instantly been waved through. Muchas Gracias.

Of course, even when we add up the time we were stopped at checkpoints in Mexico, it doesn’t begin to compare to the amount of time we spent dealing with coming back into the US. The first time we came back, we made the rookie mistake of leaving on a Friday afternoon, which took about 3.5 hours of border wait time. We timed it much better this trip back, leaving mid-week in the early afternoon.

Mexicans have made a huge business out of weaving between the cars in line to cross the border. We’ve seen a huge number of things for sale, such as fresh fruit, clamatos, souvenirs like giant crosses with Jesus on them, and even multiplication tables.

A churro salesman close to the border:

And musicians:

The most recent time we crossed back over the US border, it took about 45 minutes, and we were asked for our dog’s shot records by a man that clearly enjoyed dallying and feeling important. We produced all that was required, we let back into our country, then joked that the guy probably wished he could have interrogated our friendly yellow Lab. In stark contrast, when crossing the Mexico border, we didn’t even have to speak to anyone, and there was no delay over if we had just been stopping at a traffic light.

There are many thing I love about Baja. First, the beach! I grew up mainly in Cocoa Beach, Florida, and vastly prefer the beach in Rosarito—particularly the private beach of our complex. The steps wind down to a sandy beach surrounded by gorgeous cliffs and black rocks. Wilbur loved swimming in the beach too, and the cold water certainly didn’t bother him!

View of the beach from our place:

Wilbur trying on Collin’s new quasi-sombrero:

In the next blog about Rosarito, I’ll talk about my second favorite aspect of the area: the food! Also, thanks to the many people that helped us make this transition, including the posters in this great thread about Rosarito on 2+2, and to our Realtor Miguel Sedano.

Hasta Luego ;)

Katie “hotjenny314” Dozier is a lead coach for Team Moshman and one of the Grindettes. An accomplished super-turbo and MTT player, she makes videos for Drag The Bar and PokerStrategy . Dozier, co-authored Pro Poker Strategy: The Top Skills and The Superuser. She posts more frequent updates on Twitter.

Any views or opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the ownership or management of