How Does the WSOP Payout Work?

When I first became familiar with WSOP, I couldn’t help but inquire more about the game’s design. It was fascinating how this championship managed to maintain its standard for decades. The WSOP payout method, however, turned out to be more technical than I expected.

The WSOP payout changes annually according to the number of people participating in the event. The prize pool, which consists of the entrance fee paid by each participant, is divided among a certain percentage of the field. The highest amount is delivered to the winner of the main event. 

In the remainder of this article, I will explore different scenarios relating to the WSOP payout structure, such as the efficiency of the payout system and the number of places the WSOP payout each year.

What Is the Structure of WSOP Payout?

To understand the structure of WSOP payout, you first need to understand the term payout. The WSOP organizes multiple tournaments throughout the year in which hundreds and thousands of people participate. 

In these games, only a set number of finishes are awarded the prize money, and the payout is the amount each player receives for their spot.

This means that only a handful of people, typically 10% to 33% of the field, take home a portion of the prize money. The payout structure largely varies with the number of participants.

For example, in 2021, 6,650 players competed for their spot at the final table, and first place received a staggering amount of $8 million. In 2022, the first prize payout was set at a total of $10 million, with 8,663 players competing to win.

Although the exact amount won by each player differs annually, the division of the prize pool remains more or less constant. The players making it to the final table divide 40 percent of the prize pool amongst themselves, and 60 percent of that amount is further divided among the top three finishers. The player who finishes first gets a sizable portion of the prize money.

The payout amount is typically withdrawn through any method preferred by the winner.

wsop winner payout in cash
Do not worry. After you win $10 million for winning the WSOP you won’t need to carry all the money out in suitcases. There are several withdrawal options available.

How Many Places Does the WSOP Payout?

As the tournament progresses, the number of players decreases until only one player with the highest amount of chips is left at the final table. 

The winner is titled the World Champion and receives a precious bracelet along with the massive prize money. Then come the runner-ups, who also receive a significant amount of life-changing money.

The WSOP pays some amount of prize money to approximately 15% of the field, which amounts to up to 800 people per 5000. This calculation changes depending on the type of event, but you will not leave empty-handed if you end up in the first 1000 places of the main event.

In 2022, 8663 players betted their luck in WSOP. The prize pool amounted to $80,772,475 and was divided among 1300 places. 

Those who finish in the first nine places rack up the highest amount as even the 9th place contender in this year’s main event was paid $850,675. 

You will be very fortunate to finish in the top 80—these get paid more than six figures. Then there come the ones who end up in the lower rankings and usually only get a little profit, or sometimes none, over their buy-in fee.

tournament payout structures example
Prizepool in WSOP is quite top-heavy. Only the top 8 will get seven figures payout

More info on typical poker tournament payout structures you can find here.

How Are the WSOP Winners Paid?

The WSOP features a series of events, including those conducted on the online platform. There doesn’t exist any particular payment method by which the winners receive the payout. In fact, the winner typically has full authority to decide how to receive the money.

When it comes to the WSOP main event, the prize money is substantially high for the first few hundred places. Millions and millions of dollars are rolled out to award the winning places, and the most common way to bring that money home is in the form of cash. 

However, players have all the options at their disposal and can also choose bank transfer, check, or wire. The chips used in the tournament possess no cash value but can be used to claim the prize.

Additionally, the winner can request for the total prize sum to be broken down into many fractions and then transferred to him through different means, such as half amount through cash and the other half through bank transfer.

As soon as the winner provides all the necessary documents, they can claim the prize without hassle.

Do WSOP Winners Pay Tax on Their Winnings?

Tax laws for gambling are different for each country and state. Some places offer considerable tax reliefs, while other places tax to an extraordinary extent, making your winnings meaningless. But one thing is sure, and it’s that there are no ways to escape tax laws.

The US subjects your gambling winnings to a flat 24% tax. If you happen to be a foreign resident, you might have to show your proof of residence. Countries that do not have a tax treaty with the US subject your winnings to a 30% deduction as withholding tax, while countries that share the treaty exempt withholding completely.

The 2022 runner-up Adrian Attenborough, who originally belongs to Australia, where gambling winnings are not taxed, moved to the US, where the tax rate is 24%. Out of the $ 6 million payout, he only received $3.6 million—the other $2.4 million was deducted as taxes.

Some of the winners’ money might go towards tips, but at least for the main event a small percentage gets deducted already from the total prize pool so the winner doesn’t need to worry about tipping. More about on how much WSOP winners tip you can find in this article.

Video: How Much Poker Tax Do WSOP Winners Pay | The Truth Behind WSOP Winnings


The WSOP main event’s prizes are top-heavy, which means it’s in favor of those who finish in the first few places.

The prize pool accumulates soon after the buy-in payments are made. That prize pool, along with the number of entrants, determines the payout and quantity of paid places.

These payouts can be withdrawn by the winners through any method that suits them the best. Moreover, gambling winnings are accounted for as a source of income in many places and therefore are subject to tax in accordance with the country’s law.