Jonathan Duhamel has seen his share of controversy.

In December 2011, his own girlfriend set him up for a brutal home invasion robbery, where his WSOP Main Event bracelet and cash were stolen, and he was beaten up.

In 2015, Justin Bonomo posted a blog about accused sexual harassers and rapists in poker, but didn't name names. In May 2020, two women came forward on Twitter claiming that Duhamel was one of the men Bonomo was talking about. Duhamel's ex-girlfriend (the one convicted of setting him up) also came forward with her own allegations.

But that's not what we're talking about here.

Instead, it's taxes.

The US treats gambling winnings as income. You have to pay taxes the same way you would regular income, except you get to deduct losses that same year from winnings (though this can vary, depending upon how you file and other matters).

In Canada, the law is more subjective. If you win money as a recreational gambler, there are no taxes to be paid. If you're a professional player, you owe taxes. However, what qualifies as a "professional"? Obviously one can game that system and claim not to be a "professional", in order to dodge taxes there. From what I hear, many Canadians do just that.

According to Pokernews, Duhamel is currently in a battle with his home country of Canada over that matter:

Duhamel denies being a professional. The Canadian tax authorities say he is.

On the surface, it would appear Canada has a pretty strong case. Duhamel has no other stream of income unrelated to poker, spends most of his time playing, has sold pieces of himself in events (including the big one he won in 2010), and was called a "pro" during his time with Pokerstars.

Duhamel counters that he's not a professional because he never received any formal training in poker. Furthermore, he claims Pokerstars' "pro" designation was for marketing purposes only, and was never intended to accurately describe his life. The issue comes from 2.4 milion Canadian dollars of back taxes that the federal and provincial governments want from him, for his winnings from 2010-2012.

Obviously we all know Duhamel is a poker pro, but can he worm out of being designated one by tax authorities? We will have to see.

This, of course, will have major implications for other Canadian poker pros, many of whom have designated themselves "gamblers" and not poker professionals.

The case brought out two interesting facts about Duhamel:

1) He sold or traded off close to half of his action for the 2011 Main Event, meaning he had to pay out $4.1 million of his $8.9 million win. Ouch! (This is why I never trade or sell my Main Event, and I've felt great about that decision during my two deep runs!)

2) His compensation from Pokerstars in 2011 (after winning the main in 2010) was $1 million to be a sponsored pro. $480,000 was in cash, and $520,000 was in tournament buyins. This part is not a surprise to me. When down to the final 120 in that same event in 2010, I signed a contract with Pokerstars offering me a number of payouts, including $1 million for winning the event. (I went out 88th, getting $7500 from Pokerstars, but I had a better deal than most.)

Duhamel was abruptly released by Pokerstars in April 2015, possibly due to the accusations against him by the women.