Posts Tagged ‘William Kassouf WSOP’

Is Poker Missing Heroes and Villains?

Sunday, November 13th, 2016

poker-heroes-villainsGiven that online poker traffic has slowed in recent years, there have been many talks about what poker needs to do to reach a boom period again.

Of course, there’ll never be a boom again like the one that lasted throughout the mid-2000s. But poker could stand to have another injection of popularity, and ESPN writer Arash Markazi thinks that this could come from having more heroes and villains.

This may seem like another half-baked way to artificially create more excitement in poker. But according to Markazi, the real problem lies with how little emotion occurs during poker’s biggest events. Here’s one excerpt where he writes about what it was like during the Main Event final table:

“Michael Ruane, 28, had the most boisterous section, with many of his friends dressed as pro wrestlers from the 1990s. Las Vegas resident Qui Nguyen, 39, had a ton of local support as they chanted, “Who win? Qui Nguyen!” each time he collected chips. And those cheering for Kenny Hallaert, 34, mixed in some European soccer chants. But people watching a crowd filled with friends and family is only interesting to a certain point.

“I knew I wouldn’t have any real connection to the “November Nine” coming into the final table, but the truth is I had no real connection to them after watching them play for a dozen hours either. It’s inherently hard to connect to people that don’t say anything, or show any emotion.”

To be fair, Markazi also points out how the players were largely silent because of the amount of money on the line. Even still, he has a point in that the Main Event could use more personality.

Some would say that we had more than enough personality from William Kassouf, who was a poker villain in the biggest way. The only problem is that Kassouf busted out in 17th place, eight spots before the final table was formed.

jamie-gold-wsopIt’s been a long time since we’ve had somebody as loathed by the poker world as Jamie Gold make it onto the WSOP’s main stage.

“You need to have players talking to have heroes and villains,” Gold told ESPN. “Once you take away the character side of it, you’re killing the entertainment value and the reason why advertisers, sponsors and viewers would want to watch. I wasn’t that special, but I had an opportunity to create a character by speaking.”

As Markazi points out, the one saving grace about a monotonous WSOP final table is that TV viewers get to hear Lon McEachern and Norman Chad’s banter. But when you’re watching the event live, it’s just not very entertaining.

There’s no quick fix for this problem because you can’t force players to be more sociable at the table — especially when they’re battling for so much money. But it would certainly been nice from a viewing perspective to see somebody like Kassouf go a little further.

Doug Polk Breaks Down William Kassouf WSOP Controversy

Tuesday, November 8th, 2016

william-kassouf-pokerIt’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.