The first hand of poker may have been dealt in New Orleans back in 1829, but it can no longer be considered an American game. While many of the early top players were American, today, poker is played all over the world. And many of the top poker players come from outside the U.S.
Case in point: two Canadians are among the top 10 Live Poker Winners, and poker’s most popular star is also Canadian. Daniel Negreanu, who hails from Toronto, is a six-time World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet winner and two-time World Poker Tournament (WPT) champion1. He’s also the leading earnings winner with more than $30.68 million and counting.2
Unfortunately, what you win isn’t what you necessarily take home. Certain, non-U.S. residents who play in the WSOP are subject to a 30% poker tax by the IRS.
Joe Mckeehan Wins 2015 WSOP Main Event
The World Series of Poker is the most prestigious poker tournament in the world. The 2015 WSOP tournament kicked off on May 27 with the first of 68 individual tournaments.
Open to gamblers 21 years of age and up from around the world, the 2015 WSOP was made up of 68 events, all offering a chance at a golden bracelet prize (poker’s version of a Super Bowl ring).
The 2015 WSOP culminated with the No-Limit Hold’em Championship (aka The Main Event) on Sunday, July 5 and the final table on Tuesday, July 14. At that point, play was halted until the final nine contestants—the November Nine—reconvened in November where the final was played over three days.
The first day saw three contestants eliminated and the second day played down to three players. The 2015 WSOP Main Event was played out on November 10 with 24-year-old Joe Mckeehan, from North Wales, Pennsylvania, besting a field of 6,420 entrants and taking home his first career bracelet and a first-place prize of $7,683,346.3
Mckeehan has now won nearly $11 million playing poker, an impressive feat for someone so young.
Of the November Nine finalists, six hailed from the United States. Three were from outside the United States, including Ofer Zvi Stern of Israel, who placed fourth and won $1.9 million; Pierre Neuville of Belgium, who came in seventh place with an earning of $1.2 million; and Frederico Butteroni of Italy, who placed eighth and won $1.09 million.
Overall, Canadians and other non-U.S. players did well at the 2015 WSOP Main Event in which 55 Canadians placed in the top 1,000. Daniel Negreanu was the top winning Canadian finishing 11th and earning $526,778.4 All told, 305 non-U.S. residents placed in the top 1,000 at the 2015 WSOP Main Event.
There’s More to the WSOP than the Main Event
In addition to the Main Event held in November, 67 other events were held during the 2015 WSOP tournament in July.
Sam Greenwood, of Toronto, earned his first WSOP bracelet when he won Event #22, the $1,000 No-Limit Hold’em, for $318,977. To win the title, Greenwood had to best a pool of 1,915 entrants. Jay Dragland, of Calgary, won $23,387 for this 9th place finish. In all, 22 Canadians won money in Event #22 alone.4
Keep in mind that was just for Event #22. Canadians and other non-U.S. residents competed and won in every single other tournament played at the 2015 WSOP as well.
WSOP Winners Reach Out to RMS!
Whether you’re a professional poker player or an avid novice, if you’re a non-U.S. resident and win a significant amount of money gambling, your winnings could be subject to a 30% poker tax. But, if you live in a country like Canada that has signed a U.S. tax treaty, you may be eligible for a refund.
Some of the countries that do not have a U.S. tax treaty but may still be eligible for a refund include: Australia, Bahrain, Barbados, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Israel, Kuwait, Mexico, Malaysia, Monaco, New Zealand, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, and the U.A.E. However, based on a recent court case, winners from these countries may qualify for a refund if they meet certain criteria.
So where did some of the non-U.S. winners from the 2015 WSOP Tournament turn when it came to helping them get their poker tax back? The answer is Refund Management Services (RMS).
RMS is the Easiest, Fastest Way to Get Your Money Back
If you’ve been to the U.S. and have had 30% of your winnings held back by the IRS, Refund Management Services (RMS) can help you reclaim a portion or all of your taxable winnings.
Founded by a Canadian Chartered Accountant in 1998, RMS is the most reliable and experienced gaming and casino tax refund provider for non-U.S. residents. Only RMS has the One Simple StepTM process. Our customer service agents take care of the rest.
Once you provide us with complete documentation, your claim will be processed and we will submit it to the IRS. We’ve never been refused for an eligible refund. Contact us today by calling our toll-free number at 1-888-272-5559 or by emailing us at [email protected]!
1.“Biography,” Daniel Negreanu Official Website, last accessed December 8, 2015; http://danielnegreanu.com/biography/
2.“10 Biggest All Time Live Poker and Online Poker Winners,” Poker Update, last accessed December 7, 2015, http://www.pokerupdate.com/news/entertainment/top-10-biggest-all-time-live-poker-and-online-poker-winners-the-ultimate-list/.
3.“Joe McKeehan Wins 2015 Main Event,” World Series of Poker, last accessed December 7, 2015, http://www.wsop.com/tournaments/update/153T/joe-mckeehen-wins-2015-main-event/.
4.“Event #22 – $1,000 No-Limit Hold’em,” World Series of Poker, last accessed December 7, 2015, http://www.wsop.com/tournaments/results.asp?rr=5&grid=1136&tid=14222&dayof=.