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Professional Poker Players May Qualify For Unemployment During COVID-19 Pandemic

CARES Act Extended Benefits To Independent Contractors And Self-Employed

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One downside of becoming a professional poker player was that as a self-employed person, you lack the ability for federal assistance programs. After all, the self-employed never had a salary, to begin with.

In the wake of the coronavirus-induced casino shutdown, those rules are changing and professional gamblers have the ability to file for unemployment benefits, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Rosa Mendez, a spokeswoman for the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation told the LVRJ that professional gamblers might qualify for assistance because of the CARES Act and must file as self-employed or as an independent contractor.

The CARES Act was signed by President Trump March 27 and extended unemployment benefits to both self-employed individuals and independent contractors.

Professional poker player Chris Konvalinka told the newspaper that he would be applying for assistance and that “It seems like a freeroll to me.”

“Worst case, they say no,” added Konvalinka.

Professional gamblers filing for assistance in Nevada may have to wait quite a while before receiving any cash. In 2019, there were a total of 119,232 unemployment claims. In the last three weeks, there were 170,596 claims, which has caused severe delays in payments being made.

 
 
 
 

Comments

nickelchip
11 months ago

Is Chris Konvalinka even old enough to play in a casino? He's using that term 'professional' very loosely. More like a professional loser.

 
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nickelchip
11 months ago

Seriously Chris,"It's a freeroll" that's the best answer you can give? Do you pay federal taxes? I assume, Yes. Do you need assistance? I assume, Yes. Then you are entitled to unemployment. Poker players are part of the economy, we help provide entertainment to others and also through our play support casino jobs. When you say "It's a freeroll" sounds as if you don't need the assistance and you degrade a poker players profession as one that shouldn't be taken seriously.
When you talk on your podcast/youtube channel and answer question for print media, you are representing poker. You have to be more well spoken than "It's a freeroll". Sound like you have some sense next time, I have to assume your parents raised you better than that.

 
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Saladin01
11 months ago

If you are filing as a pro poker player. You should have a better life than Majority of the people out there.....Gov should save those $ for others who needs help......

 
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nickelchip
11 months ago

I understand your point about saving the resources for those who need it. I would like to point out that not all poker "pros" live this "Hollywood" lifestyle. There are a fair amount of grinders who make $1000 to $1500 week. That may seem like a lot depending on where you live but keep in mind that's gross not net. Out of that $1500/wk you still have to pay taxes, health insurance, social security, etc...If your making $100k+/yr from poker you have no business filing for unemployment.

Also if you live in Nevada, Delaware or New Jersey, I don't believe you can file for unemployment assistance as a poker professional. The reason being is that in those states online poker is still available to play legally, even though the brick & mortar casinos were closed. So you really have no reason on why you couldn't play.

 
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