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Theo Jørgensen: "If I Won $5m at the WSOP I’d Be Taxed about 65%"
If you've followed poker pretty closely over the last decade you're likely pretty familiar with Danish PokerStars pro Theo Jørgensen.
Not necessarily for his poker playing, though.
Although his results have always been great - he's a WSOPE bracelet winner, WPT champ and has several notable deep scores on the EPT - Jørgensen might be most known for two extraordinary off-felt events.
In 2012 he was shot three times in a terrifying home invasion and robbery at his home in Denmark. Thankfully, he's made a full recovery and his family wasn't hurt.
On a lighter note, you might also remember him from 2009 when he stepped into the ring for a boxing match with Gus Hansen.
Two days after the "Fight of the Century“ between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao last month PokerListings caught up with with Jørgensen in a café in the Monaco Bay Resort during the EPT Grand Final.
PokerListings: You tweeted "I can’t wait" for the boxing match a few days ago.
Theo Jørgensen: Yes, I’ve become a big boxing fan after my fight with Gus when I saw and realized how incredibly tough the sport is.
Through that fight I also met a couple of people involved in boxing and I’ve gotten really involved in boxing since then.
So, I said ‘I wouldn’t miss it [Mayweather vs. Pacquiao] for the world.' And then I fell asleep and missed it anyway.
PL: What? Didn’t you set the alarm?
TJ: I was completely dead and I did not have the willpower to stay up. I was a spineless git.
PL: Never mind, most people say it wasn’t very exciting.
TJ: (shakes his head) It doesn’t matter, I should have seen it.
PL: Wasn’t boxing more interesting when the US still had heavyweight fighters? It’s all Klitschko now.
TJ: Well, I don’t expect we’ll ever see a Muhammad Ali again but another Mike Tyson would sure do. Someone will show up eventually.
Also, Mayweather might not be the most empathetic guy in the world but I love this open arrogance.
He’s taking arrogance with money to the extreme. It’s like he wants the world to hate him. He’s good at that.
PL: Switching topics, would you want to be part of Team Denmark in the next Global Poker Masters?
TJ: I can’t see why not. Yes, I would go.
PL: Maybe because it would take several days off your EPT tournaments.
TJ: Yes, but it would be a team effort. I’d be there mostly with very good friends and we’d support the whole poker environment.
So, I would still go even though it would keep me from a lot of hours where I could play cash games.
PL: Does poker even have a chance as a team event?
TJ: I don’t know. I think it has potential but it’ll be tough. It’s really out of my league to say for sure.
PL: What’s your league then in live poker cash games?
TJ: I usually play €50/€100 and €100/€200. We spiced it up at one time and played €200/€400, but I wouldn’t play much higher than that.
€400/€800 would get me out of my comfort zone. It would be slightly higher than what I consider responsible.
I have played €400/€800 and that’s a game where I just couldn’t come up with another buy-in and another buy-in if things go bad. So that’s where my limit is.
PL: Next season, the EPT is coming to Dublin and one of the following: Vienna, Berlin, Amsterdam.
TJ: All of these would suit me fine. I like all three of them. There are other spots where I wouldn’t want to go.
PL: Like what?
TJ: Like Dortmund.
PL: A former EPT stop in Germany that didn’t find many friends. By the way Copenhagen was cut out of the EPT schedule, too.
TJ: For years and years there’s been basically no cash-game action in Copenhagen at all. It’s strange, because as long as you’re inside a casino poker is legal in Denmark.
The biggest issue is that we don’t have enough people who want to play higher than €5/€10.
PL: That sounds odd as Denmark is rather wealthy. Your Norwegian neighbors get denied almost everything in poker but they have loads of players.
TJ: Unfortunately I have to agree with you. It’s kind of annoying.
PL: PokerStars has changed its Team Pro system a lot. Do you think you’ll still be on the team after the summer?
TJ: I know for sure that I’ll still be there in the fall as my contract doesn’t run out before January.
PL: In any case the team pro concept has changed from former WSOP champions to celebrities. Someone like Greg Raymer was let go, and instead you now have Rafael Nadal, who’s not on the team because he’s such a great poker player.
TJ: That’s true, I agree. But if you look at it from the outside it’s a very smart way to go by PokerStars.
The reason is that everybody who knows Greg Raymer already has a PokerStars account, but most of the people who know Rafael Nadal don’t.
PL: I want to be a bit politically incorrect now. At EPT Deauville a man won the Ladies Event. I’m not asking if they should be allowed to play there, I’m asking why in a field with 75% women a man still wins.
TJ: I think it has a lot to do with confidence. Men are generally pretty good at convincing themselves they are the best in the world.
Women are more realistic. Also, I think they are less comfortable with bluffing - meaning lying.
PL: Felix Stephensen, runner-up in the WSOP main event last year, is having trouble with the tax authorities in Norway. What would happen if you won that kind of money?
TJ: As long as it would be inside the EU there wouldn’t be taxes as gambling winnings are not taxable. As poker is considered gambling it doesn’t matter if you win playing slots or playing poker.
But if I won $5m at the WSOP I’d be taxed about 65% by the Danish authorities. That’s why I don’t play much at the WSOP except the Main Event, and I shouldn’t even play that one.
But the thing is, it might be stupid financially but it would be so great to have 60 friends sitting on the rail and celebrating while I play the final table.
That would be worth it.