Mikael Thuritz has traveled the world to play some of the biggest poker games around but would like to see more favorable tax laws for poker players in his home country of Sweden.
"Poker players who reside in Sweden have a tough time,” said Thuritz while on break from the 2013 WSOP.
“They can’t really come out here and play comfortably.”
A notable high-stakes player, Thuritz took part in both the $111k One Drop event and the $50,000 Players Championship at the 2013 WSOP.
Sweden’s tax laws were recently changed so that players actually pay taxes on their net earnings each year for both cash games and tournaments.
It's more complicated online because each operator is treated individually so you could potentially win on one site, lose that money on another site, and you still have to pay taxes on the money you won.
Viktor Blom Loses Apartment to Swedish Tax Collectors
Arguably the best Swedish poker player - Viktor Blom
Sweden used to have some of the most extreme tax laws in the world regarding cash games because you couldn't write off losses at all.
That means that theoretically you could win $1 million, lose it, and you would still owe taxes on the $1 million.
“I know that Viktor Blom got really messed up,” said Thuritz.
“The Swedish government took his apartment because he couldn’t write off any pots on Full Tilt Poker. He owed millions after awhile. He had to give up his apartment, which was worth like $1.5 million I think.”
There are some exceptions now for EU-based sites but many Swedish high-stakes cash-game players relocate to get around the issue. Blom reportedly moved to London for that reason, although apparently it was a bit too late.
Thuritz has lived in the USA, England and now Macau in part because of better laws for poker players. He says that he would move back to Sweden if they improved the tax laws.
Swedish players also have it tough at the WSOP, where around 30% of tournament winnings are withheld, according to Thuritz.
It’s part of the reason that very few Swedes venture across the Atlantic to take part in the biggest poker series in the world.
Thuritz and Erik Sagström are a couple of the Swedish players who decided to take a shot at this year’s WSOP, however. You can follow them in the $50,000 Poker Players Championship on PokerListings.
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