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About LandShark

  • Birthday December 7



  • About Yourself
    I'm an ex-limit Hold 'em grinder who's been working in the online poker industry for over 10 years. I'm currently living in Atlanta, GA and working as a freelance poker writer.
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    Music Production, Guitar, Ping Pong, History
  • Favorite Cash Game and Limit
    NL 100 Zoom

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  1. While poker fans across the world watched Ryan Riess(pictured) and Jay Farberbattle heads-up for $8.3 million and a coveted gold bracelet at the WSOP Main Event finale on Tuesday, there was one group that could rest easy knowing that they would get their cut no matter what cards fell: the American Internal Revenue Service (IRS). In the end, Riess' aggressive play coupled with a great run of cards led him to victory over Farber, the VIP casino host and amateur poker player. Riess pocketed the $8,359,531 first prize, while Farber could take solace for his second place finish with a hefty $5,174,357 payday. But, as tax attorney Russ Fox pointed out, those impressive scores are all pre-tax, and after doing a few estimates, he shows just how big of a bite each player's respective government will take. Riess, the night's big winner, "doesn't have to deal with state income tax (Nevada doesn't have a state income tax)," he said. "However, he does have to pay both Federal income tax and Federal self-employment tax. I estimate that Mr. Riess will owe $3,478,818 to the IRS (a 42% tax rate)." Since second place finisher Farberdoesn't file as a professional poker player, he'll get off a little easier, but not by much. "As an amateur gambler, he doesn't have to worry about self-employment tax. Still, he'll have to fork over an estimated $2,026,527 in tax (39%)," said Fox. That's after he pays his backers for his initial $10,000 stake into the Main Event. The rest of the final table participants will feel the sting as well. Third place finisher and professional gambler Amir Lehavot (pictured) took home $3,727,823 for his deep run. As a married resident of Florida, the poker pro won't have to worry about state tax on his winnings, but will still need to ship $1,549,200 to the Federal Government. Lehavot sold pieces of his action as well, so his true payout would be even less. Fox calls fourth place finisher Sylvain Loosli "the biggest winner" from a tax perspective. After relocating from France to London, he pays significantly less in taxes than he would in his home country. "The United Kingdom does not tax gambling winnings from its residents, including professional gamblers," said Fox. "The tax climate in France is anything but pleasant… The current maximum French marginal tax rate is 49%." Keeping all that in mind, Loosli's tax situation effectively puts him into third place with a net win of $2,792,533. JC Tran, the chip leader and favorite going into the final table who ended up taking a disappointing fifth, will take a beating by the IRS as a professional poker player and California resident. In total he'll need to give up 47.56% of his earnings, which comes out to about $1,001,977. Sixth place finisher and Quebec resident Marc-Etienee McLaughlin faces a complex tax situation, but as Fox points out, his home city has one of the highest marginal tax rates in Canada at 50%. Taking that into account, McLaughlin is likely to owe $792,935 on his $1,601,024. Michiel Brummelhuis (pictured) of Amsterdam seems to get off the easiest, as the U.S.-Netherlands tax treaty exempts his WSOP winnings from taxation. In his home country, gambling winnings are taxed at a flat rate of 29%. That means Brummelhuis will pay only $355,353 on his $1,225,356 prize. Eighth place finisher David Benefield of New York is a student at Columbia University and former professional poker player. "Mr. Benefield does have to pay both state and city income tax on his winnings. Of the $944,650 he won, I estimate he'll owe $437,201 in tax (46%)," said Fox. Finally, Mark Newhouse, the unfortunate ninth place finisher, didn't win anything over the $733,224 he was guaranteed in July. Fox estimates he'll lose about 44% of that ($322,879) to the to U.S. Government. For the American IRS, the WSOP final table was a huge win no matter who took home the gold bracelet. In total, the final table participants won $25,932,167. Of that huge sum, the IRS pocketed $8,626,311, with $9,642,011 (37%) going to the taxman in all of the players’ countries combined. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.

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