Who Was the Real Winner at 2015 WSOP Main Event Final Table?

2015-wsop-moneyA simple question to which most of us would answer “Joe McKeehen” who triumphed the main event for a sweet payday of $7,683,346. But, according to analysis of tax liabilities of the November Nine by Taxable Talk, the IRS collected the maximum money from the total prize of Top 9. Internal Revenue Service collected 34% of the total money ($24.8 million) awarded at the final table which summed up to $8.4 million. The tax collected by IRS exceeded the highest individual prize money earned by Joe McKeehen.

9 players returned to the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on 8th November to vie for the most prestigious accolades of the poker world. Each of them was entitled for the minimum prize money of $1,001,020 and 6 out of those 9 contenders were Americans. The tax authorities of USA were once again set to collect huge amount from the Final Table. For finishing first out of 6,420 entrants, [McKeehen] won $7,683,346. As a professional poker player, he’ll owe self-employment tax along with his federal income tax ($3,073,240), Pennsylvania state income tax ($235,879), and the local township (North Wales Boro) Earned Income Tax ($76,833), a total of $3,385,952 (44.07%). He’ll get to keep an estimated $4,297,394 of his winnings.

Similarly other American players were taxed on their winning amounts which collectively brought $8.4 million for the IRS. Ofer Zvi Stern of Israel and Federico Butteroni of Italy too had to pay IRS as well as the tax authorities of their country will levy tax on their earnings.

Pierre Neuville was the most fortunate at this front as the US-Belgium Tax Treaty exempts gambling winnings from US taxation, so he owes nothing to the IRS. Belgium doesn’t tax gambling winnings of amateur gamblers, so he owes nothing to Belgium.

In all, over 40% of the prize money distributed on the final table of 2015 WSOP Main Event went to tax authorities. Here is the break-down of tax collection from 2015 WSOP November Nine:

Amount won at Final Table $24,806,976
Tax to IRS $8,467,091
Tax to Agenzia delle Entrate (Italy) $525,490
Tax to New Jersey Division of Taxation $493,422
Tax to Franchise Tax Board (California) $425,550
Tax To Israel Tax Authority $326,679
Tax to Pennsylvania Department of Revenue $235,879
Tax to New York Dept of Taxation & Finance $102,605
Tax to North Wales Boro $76,833
Total Tax $10,080,122