For those of you who engage in the business of gambling and have taxable winnings, a recent decision by the United States Tax Court should get your attention and that of your tax advisor.
There had been some confusion in the law concerning how and to what extent gambling expenses other than actual losses could be deducted from a gambler’s winnings. On July 25, 2011, in the case Mayo v. Commissioner, the court sought to clarify which expenses are deductible for those engaged in the business of gambling, and how those deductions may be made.
In the second part of our year-end wrap up, we look at the list of those people and events that were good for poker in 2010. Here is the nice list.
Michael Mizrachi. Mizrachi almost accomplished the impossible, but even falling tantalizingly short, he had a memorable year. He won the first event of this year’s WSOP, the prestigious $50,000 players’ championship, and then went on to make the final table of the main event. Had he won that event he would have been the first player to complete the poker hat trick. Even with his pocket threes blow-up that led to a disappointing fifth place finish, Mizrachi had a tremendous WSOP. And with his three brothers all cashing at the main event, a first for one family, 2001 could easily be called the year of the Mizrachis.
As we close the book on 2010, it is time to look back at poker’s highs and lows for the past twelve months. Yes, it is the annual naughty or nice list—poker edition. First up, the list of people and events that did nothing to further the cause of poker or actively harmed it.
Predicting the winner of the World Series of Poker Main Event is just as successfully accomplished by throwing darts at a list of names as by analyzing chip stacks, table position, and skill level. Or at least that’s what Jerry Yang proved back in 2005. It is a foolhardy exercise…and one which is impossible to avoid every year.
This year’s World Series of Poker broadcast on ESPN started strong, with ratings for the $50,000 Player’s Championship up 16% over last year’s numbers. Changes were made to the TV coverage of the WSOP Main Event with the airing of additional broadcasts and the inclusion of some graphics and poker terminology for the more knowledgeable fan (notating who was UTG, for example). Like the last two years, the final table was delayed for almost four months so that viewers could follow the Main Event and become invested in the outcome.
Saguhyon “Joseph” Cheong, 24, was born in Seoul, South Korea, but now makes La Mirada, California his home. He graduated with a psychology degree and a combined economics-math degree from UC San Diego, which was quite a feat considering he started playing poker back in 2007, while still in college. Cheong plays online under the name “subiime” and won a mini FTOPS last year earning $55,000. He has a solid reputation as an online player and has amassed impressive stats in online tournaments.
John Dolan, one of three Floridians in the November Nine, is sitting on the second biggest chip stack going into the final table, 46,250,000. The 24-year-old dropped out of Florida State University where he was studying business to play poker fulltime. His previous biggest cash was $94,500 in an online tournament and he had two cashes during this year’s WSOP for just over $100,000 including a final table in the $1,000 NLHE event won by previous November Nine member, Scott Montgomery.
When the November Nine gather at the Rio, they will be starting with blinds of 250,000/500,000 and a 50,000 ante. The average chip stack is just over 24 million. So it is fair to say that Jason Senti, ninth in chips going into the final table with just 7,625,000, is facing a daunting task. But, he can look to 2007 winner Jerry Yang, who went from eighth to first, for inspiration.
Taking the role previously played by Darvin Moon, Dennis Phillips, and Steve Dannenman, Cuong "Soi" Nguyen is this year's resident everyman. He made it to the biggest stage in poker after playing just three prior live poker tournaments at the Commerce Club and Bicycle Club in the Los Angeles area. But if Nguyen hopes to go as far as -- or ever farther than -- these Regular Joes, he has some work to do.
Matthew Jarvis, sitting in fifth place going into the final table of the 2010 World Series of Poker, is already guaranteed his largest tournament payout by far. Prior to the WSOP, Jarvis’ biggest cash had been a little more than just $20,000, at the British Columbia Poker Championship. But on the heels of his stunning WSOP showing, Jarvis took down the $5,000 Canadian Poker Championships Heads-Up tournament, in August, for $100,000. He hopes to vault over the rest of the field to become the first Canadian winner of the WSOP Main Event.