When I'm looking for WSOP 2012 results payout structure, why some players paid taxes and some of them doesn't? Is their goverment getting this money from them? Is it about being illegal in their country?

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    Poor merson, 3.7M tax. Commented Dec 18, 2012 at 22:16

2 Answers 2


These are due to IRS regulations, and it isn't taxes paid, just withheld. The players must declare this money as income, less any deductions, to the IRS and then they can have the difference returned to them. For professional players, if they had losses and expenses to offset some of these winnings, they might get quite a lot of it back - even all of it. That's between them and their accountant and the IRS, the casino is just required to withhold that money.

Some countries have tax treaties with the United States and there is no withholding. That is why some players show no tax - but they still have to declare these winnings in their home country and pay taxes there, the casino just isn't required to withhold anything.

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    In a number of countries, as long as playing poker isn't your profession, you don't have to pay taxes on it. The US is not one of these, obviously.
    – Jacob G
    Commented Dec 19, 2012 at 1:20
  • @jacob - right, and if you are from one of those countries you can get this withholding returned to you as well, you just need documentation from your country etc.
    – wilfra
    Commented Dec 19, 2012 at 6:10
  • @wilfra Are you absolutely sure that there are witholdings for non-Americans? I would guess that no part of the prize are withheld from non-Americans, tax treaty or no tax treaty: the countries those players come from have no legal standing and no legal power over US casinos.
    – greg
    Commented Apr 17, 2014 at 12:54
  • @mobiusdumpling i'm absolutely sure as of a few years ago, but I haven't played the WSOP recently so it's possible things have changed.
    – wilfra
    Commented Apr 18, 2014 at 3:03
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    @wilfra Thanks! I guess it's the long arm of the law of world governments. Seems insane to me. It also means that the EV of playing the WSOP main event is negative even for top-level players, unless they live in a country that taxes gambling winnings very lightly: seeing as most of your EV in big-field tournaments comes from the times you win top prizes, I'd guess that the fact that these prizes are taxed totally kills everyone's EV.
    – greg
    Commented Apr 18, 2014 at 7:03

many western and western friendly countries have a tax treaty with The USA for gambling winnings,if you are from a country with this treaty, you do not have to pay the taxes to uncle Sam, but you may have a tax liability in your own country. But I do not know if these wins are reported to your country of origin. it may be the case the are, if you receive, a WG form. It should be noted that his applies to any gambling wins rather it be poker or a slot payout.at the wsop one year I was sweating s friend of mine in the 1500 hold-em event, she placed high enough to win 800, tasking a loss, the TD, wanted to issue a WG and withhold. I helped her out by telling the TD, that her country, had a tax treaty and they could not withhold, he went in the office then paid her the full amount she had coming. with Americans, if you win at a casino above certain threshold, you most produce a SS# are they are required to withhold or if you are protected by a tax trreaty you must produce a passport . but in US and other countries, you can be found guilty of tax evasion, I have heard at least one WSOP event winner has met such a fate. If you win pay your taxes, even if you are a cash game grinder, it will at least increase your social security benefit. remember the WSOP is a worldwide televised event, so there is a high likelihood, the tax man in your country would discover if you won big and likely look to see that you paid taxes. if you have tax issues, look up R&B tax services. they are an accountant firm that specialize in gaming taxes. just to note if you win in a country with the treaty, you pay taxes in your home country. I tseems tempting to just ignore the tax liability, but dont, it could mean nothing but trouble for you.

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