William Kassouf Causes Drama At The WSOP


The World Series of Poker episodes have finally started airing on ESPN, and like most years before, they have brought us a host of colorful characters, fun poker hands, heartbreaking stories and exciting moments. While the big name pros may be the most fun to watch for the hardcore poker fans, for the majority of us watching, it was UK pro William Kassouf who made the biggest impression.

Kassouf’s Colorful Character

Similar to the likes of Jamie Gold or Hevad Khan who have entertained us during the previous WSOPs, William Kassouf is the kind of player who uses his tongue much more than your average person when playing poker. During one of the latest episodes of this year’s series, Kassouf ended up causing quite a stir among the players and tournament staff.

Several hands came up during day 5 of the tournament between Kassouf and Stacey Matuson, a co-owner of the WSOP dealers academy, who works side by side with the famous Mizrachi brothers on a daily basis that absolutely shook up the entire poker world.

Kassouf is certainly a player who likes to keep talking while he is in the hand, and on two different occasions he was seen absolutely torturing Matuson when she had a big decision to make. On the first occasion, Matuson folded her AQ on the Ad 7h 8h 5h board, when Kassouf was actually holding the 9h 6h for the absolute nuts.

The later hand however saw Kassouf bluff Matuson out when she was holding pocket queens on a fairly seamless board, using his “speech play” to greatly influence her action. Matuson was clearly annoyed with Kassouf at this point, as was most of the table, as the UK player kept going on and on, until the tournament officials intervened and Jack Effel himself came over to oversee the situation.

The Punishment and Aftermath

The rules of WSOP and poker in general can be somewhat obscure when it comes to punishing the players who abuse their ability to speak at the table. What exactly a player can or can’t say depends greatly on the particular tournament in question and the country the tournament is played in and UK is certainly one of those places where a lot more goes that in Las Vegas.

This is probably why the attorney thought he could get away with a lot, but neither Jack Effel nor the other players at the table were very impressed with his behavior. After Matuson folded her cards, Effel announced that Kassouf was being punished with one orbit away from the table which was met with objections from the player.

Daniel Negreanu Gets Involved

Things probably would not have gotten too heated up if poker legend and hall of famer Daniel Negreanu did not get involved, posting on his twitter that he was shocked and horrified with Effel’s decision. Kassouf subsequently also took part in one of Daniel’s Full Contact Poker Podcasts, where the pair spoke about the decision and tried to shed more light on what actually happened.

Negreanu is certainly one of the most vocal players both on and off the table, the big difference probably being in the fact that Daniel is always extremely respectful of his opponents, while Kassouf was out of line in most people’s opinion.

What do you think of Kassouf’s behavior and do you think the punishment he received was fair or that Jack Effel made an emotional and wrong decision on that one?

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