Not too many players talk about it, but there is a business side of poker. The poker world is not just about calculating odds, bluffing, and reading your opponents. If you are going to be serious about poker, even as a recreational player, you’ll eventually need to address the personal economics of the game. Whether you are a home game player, a poker enthusiast, or a pro, poker is all about money. And where there’s money, there’s a business side.
The Business Side of Poker: Tracking and Bookkeeping
The most important thing that poker players need to do is track their poker bankroll. Whether you use an app such as Poker Income Tracker, create a spreadsheet, or write down wins and losses in a notebook, you will want to track the money that flows out of your bank account and into your poker game.
We have an Excel spreadsheet which tracks not only our buy-ins and wins, but also the date, location, and day of the week of our poker sessions. We find it helpful not only come tax time but also when analyzing our results at certain rooms or on different days of the week.
Of course, competitive folks that we are, we track our results separately so we always know which one of us is “winning” for the year. For the record, we have alternated years for the win for five years now. We are currently in negotiations over whether this year should count. I mean, poker has been shut down for us since February! (And one of us might be better at Pokerstars online “Home Games”).
Did you know that there are accountants who specialize in helping poker players? We were lucky enough a couple of years ago to come across this excellent article on Cardplayer Lifestyle about Kondler and Associates, a group of CPAs out of Las Vegas who specialize in helping poker players do their taxes.
When we reached out to Kondler and Associates to consult about our tax situation, they matched us up with an excellent accountant who now handles our business taxes. They advise us about which expenses are deductible and fill out our end of year business tax filings. They also help us out with basic bookkeeping questions and with figuring out what paycheck deductions we need to take.
We currently file taxes as amateur poker players, but Kondler and Associates can help us if we ever decide to “go pro”. They have over 10 years of specialization with poker players, and even host a booth each year at the World Series of Poker (WSOP) for those who might win big and not know what to do with their W-2G! They also offer a number of services specifically designed to help those with poker-related accounting issues, including:
- Tax Return Preparation
- Professional vs. Amateur Classification
- Foreign Bank Account Reporting (FBARs)
- U.S. Taxation of Non-U.S. Citizens
- Professional Poker Deductions
- Cryptocurrency Transactions
- Chop Consulting
- Buying/Selling Action
- 1099 Preparation
- Wealth Consulting
So if you play poker and need to address the business side of your game, you might want to reach out to Kondler & Associates, or similar poker accounting experts, for a consultation.
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There are also lawyers who maintain a specialty in poker law. We were recently introduced to Daniel Bottari, a lawyer who maintains a practice in Florida and specializes in (among other things) poker debt collection. If you find yourself with unpaid loans to another poker player, or a staking arrangement gone bad, Daniel Bottari can help you make it right.
Mr. Bottari recently wrote an excellent article about reclaiming poker debt, in which he walks readers through the process step by step. From the initial creation of a demand letter, through the process of filing a lawsuit, this article covers a wide range of potential ways to reclaim your money.
Maurice “Mac” VerStandig is another prominent lawyer who runs a poker-focused practice. The VerStandig Law Firm is based in Maryland and according to their website counsels poker players in connection with “legal matters involving their play, casino disputes, and general business affairs”. A casual browser of the website will note that famed poker player Kelly Minkin is a partner in the firm.If you are going to be serious about poker, even as a recreational player, you will eventually need to address the business side of the game.Click To Tweet
Summary of the Business Side of Poker
Just know that if you need some help with the business side of poker, the resources are there. Whether you’re looking for a good bankroll management app, need a poker accountant, or a good lawyer, assistance is available.
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