It’s been over 3 months since William Kassouf annoyed players in the 2016 WSOP Main Event with his “speech play.” But the controversy has been given new life thanks to ESPN’s recent broadcast of the Main Event.
This prompted high stakes pro Doug Polk to do a video segment on the issue. Polk opened the video by saying that players should be allowed to talk during hands because poker is a social game.
“You can’t just say ‘oh you can’t talk because you’re annoying or we don’t like what you’re saying or you’re talking too much,'” said Polk.
The WSOP champion believes that there needs to be a clear line for what is and isn’t allowed on the poker table.
“I think the line is when you’re insulting people or being abusive to people, I think that you’re stepping over the line and now you’re being intrusive to other people,” Polk explained.
He points out how WSOP rules state that you can’t talk to opponents in an effort to manipulate their decisions.
“I think that if we look at Kassouf’s decisions, I think that the ones where his opponent’s all-in, he’s trying to talk to them or trying to talk about the hand, I think that’s completely okay.”
Polk adds, “However, decisions where his opponent is all-in and he’s trying to get them to make a certain decision…whether that’s okay in poker, that can to either way. When you do have rules in place that specifically outline in these scenarios, as a tournament, you have to follow that direction or why have the rules to begin with.”
Polk goes into detail with the WSOP rules, discussing things like the Jamie Gold rule (no talking about your hand) and Hevad Khan rule (no excessive celebrations), pointing out that they make clear distinctions about what’s not allowed.
He also shows a video where Kassouf clearly breaks the rules (6:45) by trying to influence a hand and disrespecting a player.
See what else Polk has to say about the matter below, and you can also watch Kassouf’s famous hand with Griffin Benger in the other video.