Daniel Weinman took his winner’s photo for the 2023 World Series of Poker Main Event in front of a stack of cash that was $12,100,000 tall.
However, Weinman’s bank account will never see that much lettuce. As an American, gambling winnings are taxed as income, meaning that by the time the WSOP cut him his cheque, the company would have withheld around 37% and sent it to the IRS as federal income tax.
Then, when Weinman returns to his home state of Georgia, he has a further 5.75% of the full amount to pay as Georgia state income tax.
This makes Weinman’s apparent $12,100,000 windfall into something closer to an estimated* $6,969,679 windfall.
Every player at the final table was subject to similar calculations. Some of the overseas players pay nothing, while others have it even rougher than the Yanks.
Within the US, each state charges a different state income tax. So, the top three finishers are also all Americans from different states so Weinman, Steven Jones (2nd – $6,500,000), and Adam Walton (3rd – $4,000,000) all receive tax bills that differ only slightly. The differences are such that they do not affect the players’ positions in the 2023 Main Event money rankings.
*All the figures in this article are estimates using online tax calculators and assuming no other income and no deductions. For non-US players, a double taxation treaty is also assumed.
The Taxman Cometh
For Jan-Peter Jachtmann (4th – $3,000,000), his bill is particularly galling. Professional poker players in Germany are taxed as self-employed businessmen, which means they pay income tax (though they can deduct expenses). Hobbyists, on the other hand, do not pay tax on offline poker winnings.
Unfortunately, Jachtmann, a resident of Hamburg, describes himself on Twitter as a semi-professional. This fact will probably cost him around $1,405,678 of his $3,000,000 win. That takes his fourth place down to $1,594,321.
This is rather less than the $1,850,000 prize that Dean Hutchison gets to keep, two places below Jachtmann in sixth. Both Hutchinson and Toby Lewis, being from the UK, do not pay tax on their gambling winnings. This leaves them with their full amounts of $1,850,000 and $1,425,000, respectively.
Check out the 2022 WSOP Main Event tax breakdown here!
Ruslan Prydryk is from Ukraine, which charges nothing on the first UAH480,000 ($13,057) in poker winnings and then a flat 18% thereafter. Prydryk will also probably have to pay a 1.5% military levy.
This means his remaining $1,934,546 for fifth is also higher than Jachtmann’s prize for fourth.
Just this year, Spain opted to start treating poker players as professionals meaning that, like Jachtmann, Juan Maceiras (8th – $1,125,000) will have to pay income tax on his win. For Macieras, that means a 43% pay cut from $1,125,000 to $642,525.
Italy, on the other hand, has heavy gambling taxes, but they fall entirely on operators, not the players. So, Daniel Holzner (9th – $900,000) might avoid paying anything on his winnings when he returns home to the Apennine Penisula. This creates another reversal, where ninth place will take home much more than eighth.
In total, the final table at this year’s WSOP Main Event won $33,300,000 and paid an estimated $11,575,951 in taxes to four national and three state governments. Three of the players probably paid nothing in taxes.
Table of 2023 WSOP Main Event Final Table Payouts After Taxes*
|Place||Player||Country||Prize||Tax Owed||Prize After Taxes|
|1st||Daniel Weinman||United States||$12,100,000||$5,130,321||$6,969,679|
|2nd||Steven Jones||United States||$6,500,000||$2,653,860||$3,846,140|
|3rd||Adam Walton||United States||$4,000,000||$1,438,163||$2,561,837|