August 2007
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Day 16: Enjoy your tax

To the senseless fuckwit who busted me out on the bubble in tonight’s 11pm tournament at Caesars, I really hope you enjoy paying your tax.

It’s a $120 tournament now, but the fee is a whopping $30.  Honestly, wouldn’t you expect this to be a $100 + $20 tournament?  Obviously that’s what they’re hoping people will think, and in fact that’s actually how it’s listed on Las Vegas Advisor and All Vegas Poker.  Great work by the Harrah’s department of misinformation.

LVA calculates this as 83% of buyins being returned to players.  In fact the return is actually just 75% (or it’s a 33% entry fee, if you’re a glass-half-empty kinda dude).  Assuming the rest of their listings are up to date, the only other games in town that are such a rip off are a handful of sub-$40 daytime tournaments.

So here’s the thing.  27 x $90 made a prize pool of $2430, and 3 spots were paid.  The tournament director had already begun taking passports from anyone at the final table who was not American so he could begin preparing the horrible – and frankly unnecessary, if other casinos can manage to pay four- and five-figure prizes without any bureaucracy – paperwork in case any of those players finished in the money.

With five players remaining, I asked who would be interested in making a deal that meant nobody would be burdened with any paperwork.  An even five way split would be $486, and there’s some scope to adjust the prizes based on chip count and still leave everyone under the $600 threshold.

Waiting until just one more player gets busted means an equal chop is $607 each, and there’s no way of splitting it up without at least one player having to tell the government that they gamble and then having to give up 30% of their winnings.  Because the lucky British don’t pay tax on gambling profits, I’d gladly offer to take the excess money for a four-way deal, but I just can’t ever imagine that suggestion being a popular one, even if it does save everyone else money!

So here’s what happened.  By busting me out, when there were two American players with large stacks left and one German (who probably wouldn’t pay tax, but may have had 30% withheld to claim back later) almost certain to bust next, the payouts which should have been:

1st: $1215
2nd: $729
3rd: $486

In fact now look like this:

1st: $850
2nd: $510
3rd: $486
IRS: $583

The awesome decision to turn down the deal because you’re fairly likely to get at least 2nd place looks to make you a whopping $24 dollars more.  If you actually manage to outlast four other players, you’d win nearly – but not quite – double what the deal would have been.  And also the government makes more than the runner up.

A great job well done guys.  Have fun with your W2-G forms now.