The Taxman Always Wins Big at The WSOP

While poker fans are ooh-ing and aah-ing in shock at the massive sums up for grabs at the World Series of Poker Main Event final table – almost $28million from the $74million total prizefund – the taxman is always sitting there with the biggest smile of all – this year pocketing over $10million from the efforts of newly-crowned champ John Cynn and his colleagues…

By: Andrew Burnett

The chart above is taken from Russ Fox’s annual look at just how much the IRS and other national tax systems grab from ‘their’ players, the Clayton Financial and Tax of Las Vegas guru one of 7874 entrants who ponied up $10k apiece for this year’s Main Event

 

 

Of champion John Cynn, Russ states: “Mr. Cynn will pay federal income tax, self-employment tax (all nine of the final players are professional gamblers), and Illinois income tax. Of his winnings he’ll lose an estimated $3,860,183 to tax (keeping $4,939,817), a tax burden of 43.87%.”

Brutal.

And the fact that the top six finishers were all from the USA means that the IRS will be laughing all the way to the bank – the USA one of those countries which places a heavy tax burden on gamblers, unlike, for example, the UK, where gamblers pay no tax on winnings as we saw last year with John Hesp and Jack Sinclair.

Fox’s breakdown makes for excellent reading – unless of course you are one of those who Uncle Sam or his counterparts are chasing for a hand-me-out – and this year’s biggest winner as far as paying the least amount of tax goes to 8th placed finisher Artem Metalidi.

The Ukrainian, as Fox explains, “will lose only an estimated $243,750 of his $1,250,000 to tax. None of that is going to the IRS: The tax treaty between the Ukraine and the United States exempts gambling winnings from taxation.”

Position Player Prize Prize After Tax
1 John Cynn $8,800,000 $4,939,817
2 Tony Miles $5,000,000 $3,060,659
3 Michael Dyer $3,750,000 $2,300,725
4 Nicolas Manion $2,825,000 $1,607,677
5 Joe Cada $2,150,000 $1,277,365
6 Aram Zobian $1,800,000 $1,078,179
7 Alex Lynskey $1,500,000 $833,704
8 Artem Metalidi $1,250,000 $1,006,250
9 Antoine Labat $1,000,000 $567,426

 

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