Daily 3-Bet: Merson Grace, Hellmuth Class, US Tax Grab

The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is the last man standing when the lights are switched off and the blood cleaned up after the afternoon poker news title bout.

Any suggestions for a future 3-Bet, feel free to drop a note in the comments.

Today in the 3-Bet we find Greg Merson already proving he’s a worthy WSOP Main Event title winner, Phil Hellmuth showing class in defeat and the US government putting a serious dent in the final nine’s WSOP payouts.

1) Merson Wins POY in 7 Events; Heads for Huge Cash Games

Greg Merson
Grace under fire.

Who else could be number one in our Daily 3-Bet today but newly crowned World Series of Poker Main Event champion Greg Merson?

Completing an epic 2012 WSOP run that included a bracelet and $1.1 million in the $10k Six-Max event, the $8.5 million Main Event crown and the Player of the Year title, Merson is the rightful king of poker.

Even more mind-blowing? Merson, more of a cash-game pro than a tourney player, ONLY PLAYED SEVEN TOURNAMENTS the entire WSOP. Seven. Deal with that, Tom Dwan.

So if anyone has a right to be a bit cocky today, it’s Greg Merson. Especially as he says he plans to step into some of the highest cash-games in the world to fulfill his lifelong dream.

Not gonna happen though.

Despite being a certified beast at the tables, a hero to poker pros young and old and just 11 months sober from a drug relapse, Merson handled the final-table pressure and media spotlight with class from beginning to end.

A note to young players and everyone to follow: If you ever find yourself winning the Main Event, here’s how to handle it:

2) Hellmuth Second Again; So Far Stays Classy

Phil Hellmuth
Second ME title still not enough for POY.

We’re pretty quick to give Phil Hellmuth flak for his egomania when he deserves it but we have to give him credit today.

Coming into the final table with Merson the only player capable of edging him for 2012 WSOP Player of the Year – and needing to win to do it – the POY title was in Phil’s grasp.

Merson’s win this morning snatched it away from him, though.

So in a year in which Hellmuth won his 12th and 13th bracelets AND became the first player ever to win the WSOP and WSOPE main events, Phil finds himself second in the POY race for the second year in a row.

Despite what must be a crushing disappointment, Hellmuth took the high road and gave credit where credit was due today:

Congratulations to @gregy20723, the newly minted World Champion of Poker and 2012 Player of the Year!Greg, you played great poker.— phil_hellmuth (@phil_hellmuth) October 31, 2012

So, credit to Phil as well. We’ll see if his next tweets hold true, but for now at least he's kept it classy.

On a separate POY note… how good do you need to be to win Player of the Year these days?

Phil Ivey made FIVE final tables this year and still only finished FIFTH overall. Antonio Esfandiari won the richest poker tournament in the history of the world and was a distant third.

3) Tax Man Siphons Off Massive Chunk of Main Event Winnings

Andras Koroknai
Good to go Hungary sometimes.

Anyone familiar with the poker circuit knows that what you "win" – i.e. the number on the payout sheet – in a poker tournament is a far cry from your actual take-home pay.

Factor in backers, expenses, tips, previous makeup, coaches etc and that huge win on paper can get whittled down to a much-less impressive number fairly quickly.

Oh, and there’s one more piper to pay if you’re an American – government.

So while Merson’s $8.5 million payday – and Sylvia’s $5.3 million runner-up prize for that matter - look amazing on paper, Vegas tax consultant Russ Fox says it’s far from the number they’ll get to keep.

In a blog post outlining everybody’s expected tax hit, Fox says Merson alone will pay a staggering $3,693,526 in taxes.

That includes self-employment tax ($247,424), state income tax to Maryland ($469,252) and federal income tax ($2,976,850).

His net take-home before any of those other expenses above are paid? $4,838,327. Runner-up Sylvia will lose about $2 million in taxes.

The two true winners from the October nine, Fox says?

Hungarian Andras Koroknai, who gets to keep all of his $1.6 million payday, and the tax man, who’ll see almost $10 million in payouts from the final nine.

Brad Booth
2012-10-31 16:57:39

hey Greg can you spot me $20k? Ask around, I’m good for it.

2012-10-31 16:38:31

Give him 24 hours and he’ll say something obnoxious about his tragic Player of the Year robbery.

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