The wagers of sin


What do Ben Affleck and Jennifer Tilly have in common?  If you said that they were once in a relationship, that’s the wrong Jennifer – Ben was married to Jennifer Garner and engaged to Jennifer Lopez (creating the social media monster known as “Bennifer”).  No, what they have in common is that they are both actors and professional poker players – and given the need for that famous poker face, perhaps acting is good prep for life as a professional gambler.  I mention all this partly to make sure you’re up to date with Tinseltown tittle-tattle [hot news: Ben and Jen Lopez are dating again – it’s Bennifer 2.0] but mainly as an excuse to talk about source of funds and source of wealth.

One of the most common answers to the question “where is your money from?”  (which, however you dress it up, is the essence of all source of funds and source of wealth enquiries) is: it’s from my job.  I earned it, I saved it and now I’m bringing it to you.  If your client has an ordinary sort of job, that’s easy: you ask for a recent payslip or two, and – if you’re unsure of the ball-park – do a job search in the same sector to make sure that the salary they claim is credible.  But what if they have a more unusual job?  (I was recently refused a bank account on the basis that my job – anti-money laundering consultant – sounded dodgy.  So I was turned down by the very thing I live to promote.  Oh the irony.)  And one of the more unusual jobs that is growing in popularity is that of professional gambler.

I don’t mean someone who is addicted to gambling and spends every waking minute and every last penny on it, in an uncontrolled manner.  I’m talking about people who do it as a serious job – and with the explosion in online gambling, their numbers are growing.  Thankfully, with professionalisation has come record-keeping – music to the ears of anyone engaged in CDD checks.  A quick perusal of the website, for instance, reveals a comprehensive listing of all major poker tournaments.  Once the tournament has finished, you can click through to see the results – the names of the winners, and the amount they won.  If the tournament has yet to happen, the details for each competition within the tournament include the buy-in – the dues each player pays to take part, which are then put into a prize pool to pay the tournament winners.  In short, you can find out how much it costs to enter, and who won how much at the end of it all.  And *rabbit-hole alert* you can then go to the Global Poker Index to find out about individual players: each profile shows nationality, residence, recent winnings and professional career total winnings, plus a photo.  In case you’re wondering, Ben Affleck has won a career total of US$360,400, which should just about pay for a new handbag for La Lopez.