Tax On Poker Winnings A Whole New Gamble

by | Published: Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

One of the most basic appeals of poker is ability to compete against your rivals on a completely fair an even playing field.

An environment where it doesn’t matter how big you are, how strong you are, whether you’re male, female, black or white, where it’s solely one mind against another with the best five cards wins.

While this is true the aftermath of the WSOP Final shows that where you come from can still have a big impact on your winnings as a poker player.

The payouts themselves are the same, but how much you get to keep depends entirely on the laws back at home.

Pius Heinz for example has had a win that’s bigger than the majority of first prize pools anywhere in the world.

We’re not talking about the $8.7 million that he won but the fact he gets to keep every single cent.

Thanks to a tax treaty signed by Germany and the US any income earned by a German in the US is free of tax.

In addition to this any money won gambling in Germany is tax free so Heinz will keep his entire loot.

Compare that to the fortunes of some of the minor place getters from the WSOP Final.

Martin Stazko who finished second will have to pay $814,963 of his total winnings of $5,433,086 to the Czech government.

Ben Lamb who finished third will have to pay $1,524,011 of his $4,012,038 winnings to the US government.

Mark Gianeetti will need to pay 35% of his $3,012,700 to the US government.

That’s still less though than the sixth placed Eoghan O’Dea from Ireland who has to pay 40% of his winnings to the Irish government, totalling $695,018.

This shows just how lucky Pius Heinz is.

If he were to live in Ireland his $8.7 million prize would actually be worth only $6.8 million, a huge difference relying purely on the laws of your nation.

Still, taking home any money at this sort of level sounds pretty appealing.

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