The 47th annual World Series of Poker (WSOP) started on Tuesday, May 31 at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino. The tournament features poker players from all over the world. Those visiting the U.S. to participate in the World Series of Poker need to understand that their WSOP winnings are taxable by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and subject to a 30% withholding tax.
The 2016 WSOP kicked off with the first of 69 events: the Casino Employees No-Limit Hold’em, a two-day event with a $545 buy-in.1
The tournament runs through July 18 with a final table of no-limit Texas hold’em with a $10,000 buy-in. The final nine competitors (the November Nine) will return to play the Main Event championship from October 30 to November 1. In 2015, Joe McKeehan from Pennsylvania emerged as the Main Event champion with the gold bracelet and a $7.68-million prize.
In 2015, the WSOP was the biggest series of all time with a record-setting 103,512 entries from 111 different countries. Overall, 11,638 players received at least one payout from an overall prize pool of more than $210 million. Organizers expect the 2016 WSOP tournament to be even bigger.
2016 WSOP Begins
The first open event of the 2016 WSOP schedule features the return of the world’s largest live poker event, Colossus. Colossus debuted last year and attracted 22,374 players with a prize pool of $11.18 million. Colossus II features six starting flights over three days and is expected to surpass last year’s record attendance. American Lance Garcia won the inaugural event, taking home a $638,880 grand prize.2 Richard Robertson from Belleville, Ontario was the biggest Canadian winner, finishing 25th and winning $32,349.3
Colossus II, which started on Thursday, June 2, has been revamped to make it even more eventful. The $565 no-limit hold’em tournament now includes re-entry, allowing players to re-enter if they fail to initially move on. Colossus II also features an additional $2-million prize pool—upping the guaranteed pool to $7 million from $5 million. In 2016, the first-place prize is a guaranteed $1 million.4
This year’s WSOP schedule also features eight new events. The highlight is Event #61, the $1,000 buy-in, tag-team, no-limit hold’em tournament that starts July 6.5 Teams consist of two to four players that can tag a teammate at any time once everyone has played at least one round of blinds. Why is this event so highly anticipated? It’s the potential partnerships. Will Canadian Daniel Negreanu play, and if so, with whom?
Canadians at WSOP
Canada has a long history of performing well at the WSOP. Negreanu has six WSOP bracelets; Boucherville, Quebec native Jonathan Duhamel has won three WSOP bracelets; Canadian hockey pro turned poker pro Daniel Idema has booked three WSOP bracelets; Greg Mueller has won two WSOP bracelets; and Andrew Boyer has scooped up two WSOP bracelets.6
In 2013, Canada won 10 bracelets, more than any other country aside from the U.S. 2014 was not a good year for Canadian poker players with not a single win. In 2015, though, Canada rebounded, booking four bracelets.7
This year, all eyes will be on Canadian poker pro Evan Jarvis as he attempts to tie a Main Event record. Last year, he finished 807th with $15,000—his fourth consecutive WSOP Main Event cash. The current record stands at five. Only six players in the history of WSOP have made it to four.
Over the last 47 years, Canada has won the second most bracelets, capturing 49. The U.S. has won the most at 879. The U.K. is third with 34.
WSOP Winners Turn to RMS
Poker players from all over the world convene in Las Vegas to take their turn on the felt. But not everyone wins. And even then, depending on where you live, winners are treated differently.
Many foreign poker players are not aware that in the U.S., gaming winnings over $1,200 are considered income by the IRS and therefore subject to a 30% withholding tax.
When it comes to getting a portion or all of their WSOP withholding tax back, non-U.S. winners turn to RMS. Founded by a Chartered Accountant in 1998, RMS is the most trusted poker tax recovery source, having successfully completed the most U.S. gaming tax refunds. Over that time, we’ve never been refused an eligible refund.
If you are a non-U.S. resident and win $2,000 playing poker (or on the slots, pari-mutuel wagering, keno, or the lottery), the casino will only pay you $1,400. But if you live in a country like Canada, which has signed a U.S. tax treaty, you may be eligible for a refund.
There are a number of countries that currently do not have a U.S. tax treaty. However, if you reside in any of the following countries, you could still be eligible for a refund: 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.
To see if you meet the criteria and are eligible to get some or all of your withholding tax back, contact RMS.
RMS: The Easiest Way to Get Your 30% Withholding Tax Back!
Whether you’re a novice or professional poker player, if you’ve been to Las Vegas and cashed in at the WSOP, or spent some time in the U.S. and had 30% of your poker winnings withheld, RMS can help you recoup a portion or all of your taxable winnings.
Founded by a Canadian Chartered Accountant, 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.
1. “2016 World Series of Poker Event #1,” wsop.com, last accessed June 2, 2016; http://www.wsop.com/pdfs/structuresheets/structure_1232_14901.pdf.
2. “Garcia Wins Largest Poker Tournament in History at WSOP,” espn.com, last accessed June 2, 2016; http://espn.go.com/blog/poker/post/_/id/2209/garcia-wins-largest-live-poker-tournament-in-history-at-wsop.
3. “2015 WSOP Day 7: Tuan Le Goes Back to Back in $10K Lowball Championship,” ca.pokernews.com, last accessed June 2, 2016; http://ca.pokernews.com/news/2015/06/2015-wsop-day-7-tuan-le-goes-back-to-back-lowball-champion-7682.htm.
4. “2016 World Series of Poker Event #2,” wsop.com, last accessed June 2, 2016; http://www.wsop.com/pdfs/structuresheets/structure_1232_14901.pdf.
5. “2016 World Series of Poker Event #61,” wsop.com, last accessed June 2, 2016; http://www.wsop.com/pdfs/structuresheets/structure_1232_14961.pdf.
6. “World Series of Poker Players,” wsop.com, last accessed June 2, 2016; http://www.wsop.com/players/index.asp?pagenum=1.
7. “Canada at the 2015 WSOP: 4 Bracelets Despite Fewer Canadian Entries,” ca.pokernews.com, last accessed June 2, 2016; http://ca.pokernews.com/news/2015/07/canada-2015-wsop-4-bracelets-despite-fewer-canadian-entries-8328.htm.