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4 things to consider after a big poker win

4 things to consider after a big poker win

Every poker player dreams of winning a big tournament for life-changing money.

But should the dream come true, what happens next?

Before you buy that car you’ve always wanted or start firing in every High Roller event under the sun, what things do you need to consider?

To find out, we spoke with Razvan “RazvyQQ” Belea, a longtime BBZ Poker student who recently learned what it’s like to manage a large windfall when he took down the EPT Paris Main Event for €1.17 million.

And as we found out, great scores often come with great responsibility.


Paying the taxman is possibly the least sexy thing you can think about having just won potentially life-changing money.

But as Belea explained to us, it’s crucial not only to your future but for your peace of mind.

“My priority was figuring out how much I had to pay in taxes,” says Belea, who lives in Bucharest, Romania.

Romania, however, is currently a grey area when it comes to taxing poker winnings.

“I’m in this situation where I don’t know how my taxes should look,” Belea tells us. “It’s somewhere between 0% and 40% that I should pay.”

Had Belea won the tournament on Romanian soil, it would be clear: he’d owe 40%. That’s the law.

But because he won outside of Romania, there are no clear guidelines. So Belea has done the smart thing and hired a lawyer who can handle the situation for him.

“I just want to pay my tax, but if the bill is huge, I’d be tempted to move,” Belea says. “I don’t want to. I just wanted enough money to buy a house for me, my wife, and my dog. But now I’m in this situation and I don’t know how much money is coming to me.

“This is something Romanian poker players need to know because nobody knows.”

So, first things first after a big score: find out what the tax situation is in your country.

If you live in a country where you don’t pay tax on gambling wins – such as the UK – then you have nothing to worry about. But otherwise, make sure you look into it.


This obviously only applies if you’ve sold action to the tournament you’ve won.

Belea won his way to EPT Paris through a satellite on PokerStars. But he was planning to go anyway and sold action before he won the package.

“With the satellite win I had a bigger percentage, but because I sold before, I didn’t want to change the percentage with my financiers,” he says.

So after considering his taxes, the next thing Belea will be doing is settling up with his backers.

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“A lot of people will think I’m now a millionaire,” says Belea. “But no. I’ll get around 25% after I pay taxes and my backers.”

Still, while Belea won’t bank the seven-figures he won on paper, the money he will get is still substantial – by far the largest score of his decade-long career.

So he now plans to seek financial advice from experts who can help him position his funds in places that work for him.

“Before, I was throwing my money away quite easily,” Belea says. “I didn’t have a financial education. So now I’m getting a good advisor to help me with this situation.”


“You might want to increase your stakes because you now have a bigger bankroll,” says Belea. “But your mindset should remain the same – as if you don’t have this money. Because money comes and goes so fast.”

This is something that all poker players learn sooner or later – and more often than not, not soon enough.

“I’ve learned not to focus too much on money,” says Belea. “I’ve worked on this a lot over the past three years. I prefer to focus on the work it takes to win this money.”

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