Poker wins can be classed by the most total victories, and of course the most total money. For the professionals, it’s the latter they crave. Over the past 12 months live poker has seen gigantic pots taken by everyone from household names to near-Moneymaker ranks.
No limit hold’em has truly lived up to its name over the years, and 2014 saw the antes break through yet another ceiling.
For the first time in history, poker had not one, but two first-place prizes over $10 million! While the payouts were massive for these players, their bills come tax season will also be astronomic.
Here are the five biggest live poker wins from the past 365 days:
#5. Dan Smith – $2,044,766
June 27 – The Bellagio decided to up its monthly $25k buy-in tournament to $100,000 due to many of the game’s top bigwigs being in town.
The No Limit Hold’em Super High Roller event attracted 66 players, with 21 re-entering for a total pool of $8.6 million. Beginning Friday afternoon, the event didn’t conclude until 6:40 a.m. Saturday, when Dan Smith eliminated Doug Polk on a pair of queens over ace-four clubs.
With just four left, the players agreed on a deal to ensure a seven-figure payout for all. That gave Smith a $2.044 million prize, which of course will be taxed in the U.S. at a maximum rate (federal + state + local) of 55.9 percent… leaving him with just a measly $900k.
#4. Daniel Colman – $2,127,398
April 24 – His first of two entries on the list, Colman’s win at the EPT Grand Final Super High Roller in Monaco pocketed the year’s top performer with his second largest win in 2014. The €100k ($138,360) NLHE re-entry brought in a total prize pool of €6,015,240 ($8,322,686).
Colman re-entered twice during the three-day tournament, and it paid off in the end when his all-in call with K-6 to Dan Cates’ Q-T won following a 3-9-6-3-A board. Colman, another American resident, will also likely pay the 55.9 percent tax, and also an additional five percent to Monaco. Final winnings: $891,274.
#3. Phil Ivey – $3,582,753
February 9 – The 2014 Aussie Millions $250,000 AUD ($225,998) saw a record 46 entries and record prize pool of $11.7 million AUD. As heads-up play began against Isaac Haxton, Ivey had less than 20 big-blinds left.
However, he mounted an incredible comeback and won on a pair of aces. The enormous payday of $3,582,753 took Ivey’s career earnings over the $20 million mark. But of course, after U.S. taxes that payday will “only” be about $1,579,995.
#2. Martin Jacobson – $10,000,000
November 11 – Jacobson’s improbable ascent from starting in 8th at the November Nine to winning the World Series of Poker Main Event made the Swede an international star.
The $10 million payout was also more than two-thirds of his total live career earnings. After eliminating first-day leader Jorryt van Hoof, the tournament ended on the 328th hand when Jacobson’s pocket tens turned into three of a kind on the flop to oust Felix Stephensen.
Jacobson’s $10 mill will turn into $4,300,000 after Sweden’s 57 percent maximum tax rate is levied. Poor guy.
#1. Daniel Colman – $15,036,668
July 1 – 42 players put up $1 million to enter the Big One for One Drop WSOP event for a prize pool of $37.33 million. The star-studded field was narrowed down to just two, both Daniels, Colman vs. Negreanu.
As they began heads-up play, Colman had the chips lead, and after battling back and forth for 46 hands, he took the title with an ace-high straight to Negreanu’s ace-pair.
That $15,036,668 will be shredded to $6,631,171 after taxes, bringing Colman’s U.S. tax liabilities from just these two wins to roughly $9.5 million. You’re welcome, IRS.