Playing in the World Series of Poker may be lucrative enough for some, but being sponsored at the event added a little cushion to Jason Strasser's bank account. Not that the senior needed it. Since 2004, when he began playing online in his Blackwell dorm room, he's earned enough money playing poker to put himself through college.
Strasser, 21, who made his first appearance at the WSOP this summer, lived in a beautiful rented house 15 minutes off the Las Vegas strip all summer-all for free, thanks to PokerStars.com. Sporting a polo shirt and a hockey jersey with PokerStars.com's logo at the Main Event in July and August, Strasser neared the chip lead toward the end of the second day of play but finished in 169th place, earning $47,006.
PokerStars.com also looked to fellow Blue Devil Doug Kim T'06, offering him about $100,000 to don their hat at the final table. Though Kim bowed out in seventh place, he took home a pot of $2,407,565. And that's not too shabby for a couple of Dukies.
Or for Uncle Sam. According to federal tax code, earnings from gambling, both virtual and real, must be reported to the IRS and are taxed accordingly. So Kim walked away from Vegas with about $1.4 million in his pocket-albeit, his very large pocket.
"The first time I cut a check to the IRS, it sucked," Strasser says. "But everybody pays taxes. Granted, it's a little different, because there are years you can lose money playing poker, and you don't get compensation. But honestly, I don't have any problem paying taxes, because I don't like losing sleep over stuff like that."
And sleep well, he does-though there's no word on if it's on a set of fine, Egyptian cotton, PokerStars.com sheets.