Sweden is famous for its smoking hot blonde chicks, but the guys aren’t bad either. Earlier in the series I interviewed Martin Jacobson, just prior to his sixth place finish in the One Drop High Roller where he took down an $807,427 score, and today I am watching another Swedish heart throb in Anton Wigg.
Wigg is playing in the Pavilion and it looks like he has a decent table, which means I don’t recognize a single soul. His hair is looks trendy as always. The type of guy who just rolls out of bed, brushes his teeth and just heads into work with the coolest messiest hair in the world. I try for hours to look like that and always end up looking like a prat.
He has a thin black jumper on, brown shorts and white converse trainers. He is surrounded by free bags of potato chips, but just one look at his frame and you know not one single chip is passing his mouth. He does have a penchant for chips of a ceramic kind though. By the look of his stack he is somewhere in the 100k region, which is plenty of chips for a man of Wigg’s ability. He looks well rested and ready to rock and roll, but there is a reason for that.
“In previous years I have come into town for around a month; but never really played many events because of tax reasons. This year I flew in for Day 1A. I have just been at home in Sweden taking it easy and then went to Toronto to relax.”
In my opinion, poker players should contribute to the government’s tax system. If you play poker professionally then that’s your primary source of income and you should be taxed on it. But having to pay 32% in tax for winning pots, irrespective of how many pots they lose, is not the right way for the government to go about their business. It will drive poker out of Sweden.
“The tax system for poker used to operate under the lottery law, which states that every lottery ticket you buy within the European Union (EU) is tax free and every lottery ticket outside of the EU is 30% tax, and you cannot deduct previous tickets or the tickets that you won on. It’s not applicable for tournament poker, but that’s the way they taxed it. But now its 30% per provider. So if I travel to the WSOP and play here then I have to pay 30% tax on my winning here, then I go and play at the Venetian it’s treated as a different thing. I feel a bit screwed and I know a lot of other people do.”
This means that Wigg could make a net profit of $10,000 in a Venetian Deepstack tournament and owe $3,000 in taxes and then come over to the WSOP and spend $100k in buy-ins, not make a single cash and yet still have to pay the $3,000 in taxes from his win at the Venetian. The online system is the same, with the exception that playing on .eu sites, or the state-run Svenska Spel, means winnings are not subject to tax payments. So why aren’t more Swedish players migrating to other countries that have a more relaxed attitude towards taxation on poker winnings?
“I have thought about it several times, but at the same time I have my family and friends here. It’s just sad that they can’t change it to something that works. I guess they want to drive poker out of the country. They make it difficult for us, when it just needs a commons sense approach.”
Wigg is sat opposite an Asian woman who is wearing a surgeon style face mask. Wigg is deeply involved in a pot that has merged into the break. A player from mid-position opens to 1,1k, Wigg three-bets to 2,7k, in the hijack, and his opponent calls. The flop is [Qh] [5s] [5d] and the player in mid-position check-calls a 2,300 Wigg bet. The [Qd] is checked through before the pair see the [5c] on the river. The player in midfield checks and Wigg puts out a 11,800 bet. It’s tank time for the player.
We are three minutes into the break when Wigg calls the clock. The Asian women is the only person, except me, who is watching the hand. She gets to her feet and I noticed she is wearing high heels covered in metals studs. I wouldn’t want a kick in the balls from those. I look at her and she looks at me. I think she wants to kick me in the balls. She looks like a member of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad. I’m pretty sure she’s killed several people in her life.
The player in mid-position folds his hand. Wigg didn’t have it. I’m sure he didn’t have it?
“I didn’t have it this time, but I managed to cage him in a spot where I don’t have a capped range, and he has to call with almost half of his chips. So I’m happy with the way the hand played out…happy with the run down as well.”
The member of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad is happy too. She winks at Wigg and I leave, fearing for the young man’s safety.