Thoughts on William Kassouf - New Poker Monk Blog

thepokermonkthepokermonk Red Chipper Posts: 320 ✭✭✭
Come see why I think William Kassouf is bad for poker.
thepokermonk.com/?p=852
«1

Comments

  • NealNeal Red Chipper Posts: 13 ✭✭
    as one who plays a number of tournaments, although small ones, I frankly wouldn't mind a William Kassouf at my table. I think for TV it's entertaining, but if someone tilts and I can benefit from it in a later hand....awesome! The other Brit at the table with him took it in stride and wasn't affected by it, it is a matter of putting on the the big boy/big girl panties and dealing with it.
  • Christian SotoChristian Soto RCP Coach Posts: 2,195 ✭✭✭✭
    I mean... I get your points. He can be annoying.

    At the same time, Phil Hellmuth can be annoying and he's great for TV.

    At this point, anyone or anything with personality is good for poker. The Final Table this year is Vanilla and will be torture to watch for a casual viewer IMO.

    The two characters featured thus far in the coverage, William & Alex Keating, are definitely not ideal choices to carry the throne like Daniel N., but villains are OK too in a story line.

    IDK I see your points. Just think something is better than the nothing we have had for long time.
  • tfaziotfazio Red Chipper Posts: 819 ✭✭✭
    I recently heard his appearance on Thinking poker podcast. It was mentioned by the host that the British casinos he regularly plays traditionally frowned upon this kind
    table talk now has become the norm. I think we haven't heard the last of him. One obvious point is that its great for television. I over heard someone say at a table the other day "Nine high Like a boss". LOL
  • persuadeopersuadeo Red Chipper, Table Captain Posts: 4,008 ✭✭✭✭✭
    toughen up ninnies. I have a piece praising him out soon.
  • tfaziotfazio Red Chipper Posts: 819 ✭✭✭
    As this kind of play becomes more prevalent, its not a bad idea to check out your local card room's position on talk during a hand in cash games and tournaments. I have found that it can vary from one location to another. Other angles include showing cards ect.
  • NealNeal Red Chipper Posts: 13 ✭✭
    persuadeo wrote: »
    toughen up ninnies. I have a piece praising him out soon.
    Can't wait!
  • ChibberChibber Red Chipper Posts: 373 ✭✭✭
    So I generally find WSOP coverage to be pretty boring. Primarily because seemingly every decision is a life or death scenario, and Norman Chad's quips can't carry the broadcast. Sunglasses, Scarfs, Hoodies, Staring like a statue on every street on every hand, 3 minutes to make a pre flop decision to fold. But after watching the clip the OP posted, it looks like this dude is a little refreshing. Read entertaining.

    We have all played with people who are annoying beyond belief, but if you flip that around, you can make some inroads into your own mental game by how you choose to handle a guy like this. They only get under your skin if you allow them to.

    Poker needs a lot more characters in the game - whether they are good guys or villains. Sammy Farha essentially does / did the same thing as I am sure guys like Puggy Pierson (sp), Johnny Moss, Amarillo Slim, Sailor Roberts etc. etc. Characters build interest. Impersonal trash talk is a good thing.

    On another note, that clip had a ton of gems as it relates to live tells. Lots of stuff to learn in that video...
  • Renato_LRenato_L Red Chipper Posts: 190
    "like a boss" is very tilting.
  • bensnyderbensnyder Red Chipper Posts: 23 ✭✭
    edited October 2016
    I think it's funny people are so spun up on Kassouf's talking and not Keating's. Of the two, my wife and I both found Keating's behavior the type we'd rather avoid at a table. I don't know why, though, we just found Keating to be more annoying.
  • kageykagey Red Chipper, KINGOFTAGS Posts: 2,241 ✭✭✭✭✭
    watched ESPN's main event coverage last night to see what the noise was about.
    Kassouf is annoying... mostly cuz he's on winner's tilt.
    He won't last.

    I switched channels after he won with 72...
    I don't see how he's good or bad for poker.
    Most rec players probably won't watch.
    Most pros probably won't watch.
    So who's he influencing?

    Unless more players try to emulate him - he will have very little impact on the game.

    On a side note - just saw that Cliff Josephy made the final table!
    How cool is that!
    I used to subscribe to Sheets & Bax's website - Poker X Factor!
    Congrats to Bax!
  • LukaLuka Red Chipper Posts: 216 ✭✭✭
    I agree with @Jules, pretty shitty mob mentality by the table.
  • Renato_LRenato_L Red Chipper Posts: 190
    that's what he wanted... now can deal with it.
  • bensnyderbensnyder Red Chipper Posts: 23 ✭✭
    If you hear "like a boss" anywhere, please don't credit Kassouf. He did not coin that phrase. My 13yr old step son says those three words about 27 times per day and he has no clue who Will Kassouf is. Granted, if you hear "nine high, like a boss," well ok give about half credit, I guess.

    It's REALLY difficult to tell what actually happened in a show that's so heavily edited like the WSOP. Please keep that in mind while reading the rest...

    I think it's only kinda what he wanted. He wanted to tilt the other players. I don't think he expected them to band together like they did.

    When Kassouf made is 'debut' I didn't agree that he was so horrible of a person, but did kinda see where people were coming from. At least, I could see why people would be annoyed by him. I seriously wonder why people aren't talking about Keating as much (other than he didn't last as long), I found his chatter much more annoying. Maybe it was more rude, even if he tried to play it as a joke. "Hi, welcome to our table. What's your name? Oh wait...I don't care."

    The latest episode, though, the rest of the table looked like children and not grown adults. Calling a clock so quickly, then talking over each other to the floor like good little tattle tales on the playground running to teacher (while the floor man had been there all along) was pretty lame.

    Then they said he didn't have a decision to make? How is that true? Action was checked to him, he had a decision to check or bet (or fold, technically), then a bet size to (potentially) get some value. Yeah, he probably knew what he was going to do, but one of the others at the table even said they expected the other player to check raise, admitting there was action to be considered. If they thought it, why couldn't Kassouf be considering it?

    I do think it's funny, though, that it's the haters who keep talking about him, which really only accomplishes getting him more attention.
  • kageykagey Red Chipper, KINGOFTAGS Posts: 2,241 ✭✭✭✭✭
    bensnyder wrote: »
    The latest episode, though, the rest of the table looked like children and not grown adults. Calling a clock so quickly, then talking over each other to the floor like good little tattle tales on the playground running to teacher (while the floor man had been there all along) was pretty lame.
    what you don't know is what was editted - the numerous times he stalls before he even looks at his hand, and then begins to banter before he acts on his hand:
    when players call the floor - then we can assume WK was annoying
    when players called the floor supervisor - then it's obvious that WK was more than annoying - but distracting
    when players called the TOURNAMENT DIRECTOR - it's not like elementary school and tattle taling... it's one single player who affecting the whole table in a way that's detrimental to their poker success (fewer hands vs other two tables), which can and will affect your future in this $10K tournament. It's a legal strategy (so far) - but one that can cause the shorter stacks to chip up and have a chance to make the final table with a decent stack.... we're not talking about about 1st place being 50K... it's for $8 million.

    Besides, the dude is caught on camera bragging about how he's doing it on purpose and how his plan to tilt the table is working. Then, later - when he's got a decision to call an All In, he spends more time arguing with the Tournament Director then actually making a decision - and he's pretending like he doesn't understand why the table is upset at him.

    You're watching an editted 30 minutes of part of Day 7 - the rest of the guys are spending 12 hours+ with this guy.
  • NinjahNinjah Red Chipper Posts: 1,126 ✭✭✭✭
    This rarely happens but I agree with Kagey. This guy is going out of his way to affect the tournament outside of his normal play. I have absolutely no problem with him twisting the screws during a hand but stalling and being an outright douche isn't good for the game. Personally I'd probably call clock every single time it was his turn to act.
  • WhichWhich Red Chipper Posts: 114 ✭✭
    edited October 2016
    typical "logic fail" of small stakes players...

    They listen to Kassouf all over the internet bragging about his plan on tilting the table, then somehow leap to the conclusion that its "good for poker" ....

    HUH?

    I mean, raise your hand if you would go to the Main Event knowing that at every single table there was some jerk whose sole intent was to make every single player at the table miserable enough to punt off their stack.

    Do any of you SSNL players want to pony up $10K for that "bucket" ?

    and it's not just poker.

    Imagine a charter fishing group where you go out and some random stranger makes it a miserable experience for everyone. Talks the entire time, in a loud and distracting voice, and probably costs you chances at catching fish.

    Or a golf threesome where the starter puts Kassouf with you, and his sole purpose is to tilt you so hard, no one will ever play with him again. Forcing the starter to allow him to play by himself.

    I got an idea.... "Christian Soto announces group poker coaching opportunity at Borgata during the meet-up." Will be two days of poker seminar, limited to first 20 folks. Priced reasonably for all to attend.

    Kassouf shows up the first day, stalls forever while asking questions, never shuts up, makes fun of everyone, even when they are talking, even when Soto is talking. I mean there is "no rule against that" right? Soto did not expect the douchebag to show up, right? But Kassouf did. And he is so effective at annoying everyone, no one shows up the next day, even though they paid. Now Kassouf on day two has a private 4 hour session with Soto.

    Its all about EV and only about EV.... Kassouf's.

    Sadly, we learn from GTO that in multiway pots a minus EV play can push value to another player and there is nothing you can do about it.

    If you think the average person is now wanting to go to the Main Event, hence good for poker? hmmm

    which
  • WhichWhich Red Chipper Posts: 114 ✭✭
    maybe there should be a distinction made between being "good for poker" and being "good for watching televised poker" ?

    which
  • bensnyderbensnyder Red Chipper Posts: 23 ✭✭
    edited October 2016
    I feel I was somewhat quoted out of context. I stated that I knew the broadcast was heavily edited and I was commenting on what was shown, the way it was shown. I wasn't there, most people talking about it (whether this forum, some other forum, on podcasts, and elsewhere) were not there. We have what we have (the ESPN broadcast) to base observations on.

    Yeah, he admitted he was trying to tilt other players. He's never hidden that. I never heard him brag about violating any rules. He's a lawyer. He's not stupid. He's trained to push the rules to the limits to gain an advantage.
    Ninjah wrote: »
    Personally I'd probably call clock every single time it was his turn to act.

    That's probably what I would do. My comments above about the other players' behavior was meant to highlight that Kassouf had accomplished his mission. The arguing was counterproductive to their goals of speeding up play. It came off on TV that they called the teacher over rather than turning his game against him and calling a clock after the 2min as cited by the floor.

    Would I be able to do that if I were at the table? I don't know. I have my doubts. I'm just commenting on how it appeared on TV.
  • ImperatorImperator Red Chipper Posts: 898 ✭✭✭
    I know Kassouf would put me on tilt. And for that reason I found it educational to watch him. But I also know that if somebody like Kassouf put the whole table on tilt there should be opportunities for the players who maintain their cool.
  • WhichWhich Red Chipper Posts: 114 ✭✭
    Chris,

    agree completely that 'handling' the issues is a skill, and a needed one. In life and in poker.

    but when you come across an opponent who you have no control over.... You cannot threaten them, you cannot force them to play faster.... You can 'show them' it is bad EV by also slowplaying, but they will probably win that "I can be the biggest tanker at the table" battle.

    Now up the stakes, you are at the final three tables, and you know, YOU KNOW , you will only have one chance at this opportunity. The other two tables are cycling through hands. You are getting less than 50% of their hands seen.

    You are short stacked....

    And your reaction is ?

    You really think Kassouf (or next years troll ) will matter?

    So, how do you turn this into a positive? There have been a few comments mentioning that they will "turn this around, and take advantage of the situation"....

    I would be really interested in how during the 10 hands per down, you will take advantage?

    which

    PS and not picking on you Chris, just wondering how do you take this and make a clearly -EV situation into a +EV DURING the event?
  • persuadeopersuadeo Red Chipper, Table Captain Posts: 4,008 ✭✭✭✭✭
    that is easily answered:

    1) they didn't have to wait all day to figure out they should be calling clock the second the action is on him, nor did they start to find the right pressure point until they were already beyond exasperation. Poker has a long history of players solving their own problems. No one is immune from the right social pressure, but only occasionally did they try to find the right pressure point. Kassouf was embarrassed by Vayo, and that is a hint. Sullenness, on the other hand, never solved a single situation in the history of the world.

    2) There are things you can say to turn around any situation. Kassouf in a deeper way is no taking advantage of the rules of poker, but of his table mates inability to rise to the occasion, which is a slightly different matter. So even if you change the rules, the lesson here is that there is always a way for David to slay Goliath.

    4) All his talk and tanking gave away huge amounts of information. Skilled players will lose hands per hour but gain chips per hand when matched against him. I would want him at my table for this alone.

    5) Lastly, it doesn't matter as much as you think if he takes time. This is not a slam dunk argument against him or any tankers. That's built into the game structure. The expectation that you will always have things just as you need them to be is a fundamental misunderstanding. If you showed up with 10bbs and the clock passing is a game changer, maybe you should have reconsidered the nature of your endeavor or your strategy.
  • Adam WheelerAdam Wheeler Red Chipper Posts: 2,647 ✭✭✭✭
    edited October 2016
    @persuadeo

    That is gold :

    "If you think that a publicly available poker table is somehow a safe space from the human project, you are living a delusion that speaks to your own misunderstanding of the basic facts of life".

    You should ship me a photo of you i could do an art work, kind of desktop photo wall ;)
  • WhichWhich Red Chipper Posts: 114 ✭✭
    edited October 2016
    persuadeo wrote: »
    that is easily answered:

    1) only occasionally did they try to find the right pressure point.

    Well, when you incite a whole table at once, there are repurcussions. and William felt them. He had Matuson implore the TD to kill his hand (angle or not, a perfectly fine request, it's up to the TD to deny or approve). He also had a group attack that took advantage of a TD's willingness to listen and a seeming dislike for Mr. K.

    You poke the bear, you deal with the bear. Good or bad, right?
    persuadeo wrote: »
    2) There are things you can say to turn around any situation. Kassouf in a deeper way is no taking advantage of the rules of poker, but of his table mates inability to rise to the occasion, which is a slightly different matter. So even if you change the rules, the lesson here is that there is always a way for David to slay Goliath..

    agree somewhat with this, but excessive tanking is not something you, on your own, can solve. There is no way for you to recapture EV lost through fewer hands per hour versus other tables. There is NOT always a way for David (good guys) to win. Sorry, but am willing to listen you prove this to us (vis a vis tanking specifically)
    persuadeo wrote: »
    4) All his talk and tanking gave away huge amounts of information. Skilled players will lose hands per hour but gain chips per hand when matched against him. I would want him at my table for this alone. .

    So, if one is good, then two is better? I mean if he is plus EV at your table? You would again have to prove to me that in the 50% fewer hands per hour that you are getting at his table, you will extract 100% extra winrate from the table. I am sure with the proper "Tell deciphering" and taking advantage of all the tilters that a skilled player MAY make up some, but there is no guarantee. And your lost EV IS lost!

    Josephy is far more skilled at poker and MTTs than I am, and it seemed that even HE did not think Mr. K was good for the table. And Cliff did not seem tilted when he calls Mr. K a 'clown' he just seemed tired of the act.
    persuadeo wrote: »
    5) Lastly, it doesn't matter as much as you think if he takes time. .

    want to discuss this further? might be cool for all of us.
    persuadeo wrote: »
    This is not a slam dunk argument against him or any tankers. That's built into the game structure. .

    tanking is built in with the bubble factors, but fail to see how it is built in in other stages enough to be considered a "game structure" item.
    persuadeo wrote: »
    The expectation that you will always have things just as you need them to be is a fundamental misunderstanding. If you showed up with 10bbs and the clock passing is a game changer, maybe you should have reconsidered the nature of your endeavor or your strategy.

    I do not claim that things should be 'as needed', but if you are short stacked it does not follow that you had an incorrect strategy. It is a symptom, and of what remains to be seen. I am sure Tony Gregg plays MTTs better than I do, yet his short stak was impacted by the excessive delays. I guess he should rethink his strategy for next year?

    which
  • persuadeopersuadeo Red Chipper, Table Captain Posts: 4,008 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I have to go play but I'll start in reverse order with one item, and get to others later.

    There is no "shot clock" as of yet. Therefore it is implied that players will take as much time as needed. There is a culture of fairly quick decisions, thankfully, but no structure actually for speedy decisions, except for a few things: calling time, the tradition of players managing the game, and the discretion of the TD.

    Tony Gregg benefited significantly from kassouff, being able to win a critical pot by deducing a spot that was clearly influenced by Kassouf's talk and play style, so I don't think that is the best counter argument. Not was he as petulant about it as Josephy, which has significance.

    Further, everyone's imaginary, theoretical tournament ev is different. If someone has laddered because of a tanker, and their lower ev has been protected by the game circumstances, what is their position?

    As for strategy, if you end up short and game conditions turn out against a defensive strategy and not a chip accumulation approach, because there is no shot clock, your strategy has not ended up as the best one for all factors, even one as ridiculous and unforeseeable as Kassouf.

    What I am arguing in essence is that outlier situations exist and that we as poker players do not necessarily have a structural protection from them unless we agree in advance. So dealing with them becomes a part of how we are measured.
  • WhichWhich Red Chipper Posts: 114 ✭✭
    persuadeo wrote: »
    I have to go play but I'll start in reverse order with one item, and get to others later.

    There is no "shot clock" as of yet. Therefore it is implied that players will take as much time as needed. There is a culture of fairly quick decisions, thankfully, but no structure actually for speedy decisions, except for a few things: calling time, the tradition of players managing the game, and the discretion of the TD..

    yeah, and the epidemic of it is why various tournaments are instituting the clocks more and more often. With reasonable effect, so far, it seems.
    persuadeo wrote: »
    Tony Gregg benefited significantly from kassouff, being able to win a critical pot by deducing a spot that was clearly influenced by Kassouf's talk and play style, so I don't think that is the best counter argument. Not was he as petulant about it as Josephy, which has significance..

    Josephy correctly pointed out to the TD that as Cliff and the TD were discussing, Mr. K took big chips and exchanged them with small denominations , apparently just to make it harder/longer for the dealer to process the transaction(s). Petulance is subjective, but if you saw it okay, but in my opinion, "so what?"

    As for Tony, we see 1 pot, and Tony won. There is no evidence that without tanking Tony would not also have won that same pot. There is also no footage showing all the hands Tony missed seeing to due the slower nature of his table, vis a vis the others. (and actually it is possible (but unlikely) that this was the fastest table. We just don't know.
    persuadeo wrote: »
    Further, everyone's imaginary, theoretical tournament ev is different. If someone has laddered because of a tanker, and their lower ev has been protected by the game circumstances, what is their position?.

    when you force "laddering via stalling" onto me, you have changed the integrity of the tournament. For everyone. You can correctly point out that it is hard to tell, but that does not make it a "right" for Mr. K to take 20 minutes prior to looking at his cards. If he can take 15 seconds, he can take 150. But if he can only take a 'reasonable amount' of time per the TD's discretion, then it is a moving target. Abuse it and lose it!
    persuadeo wrote: »
    As for strategy, if you end up short and game conditions turn out against a defensive strategy and not a chip accumulation approach, because there is no shot clock, your strategy has not ended up as the best one for all factors, even one as ridiculous and unforeseeable as Kassouf..

    Results oriented thinking. And needing to employ two wholely separate strategies cannot happen simultaneously. So you cannot plan for two widely varying events. You can only pick the best one on average for you.
    persuadeo wrote: »
    What I am arguing in essence is that outlier situations exist and that we as poker players do not necessarily have a structural protection from them unless we agree in advance. So dealing with them becomes a part of how we are measured.

    I do not think Mr. K is at fault, except for being willing to be a jerk.

    A good TD with experience should be able to handle all things coming his way. But experience means seeing things more than once. And good means making the proper adjustments. ...neither is a given.

    but the original argument "is Mr. K good for poker?"

    hmmm

    which

  • WhichWhich Red Chipper Posts: 114 ✭✭
    will let Persuadeo have the last word, but will leave this discussion with one last thought...

    Can any of you on this forum imagine owning a business, where a single person's sole intent is to cost YOUR CUSTOMERS, their hard earned money? And ruin those same customers' "experience" at the same time?

    Now as the owner of that same business, would you really be working so hard to protect the rights of the Jerk? or of the rest of your loyal patrons?

    The WSOP has a brand to protect. And sometimes that brand closely lines up with "for the good of poker" , and other times, not so much.

    Bottom line? I find a way to encourage Mr. Kassouf to leave, because my customers don't like him. And my loyal customers pay the bills.

    which



  • ImperatorImperator Red Chipper Posts: 898 ✭✭✭
    I knew a chess and backgammon hustler who would pretend that he was high on coke or drunk on wine or both. He would talk through the whole game and play crazy openings in chess and double the bets in backgammon. He would talk and talk and talk and talk. Unschooled players got annoyed and believed that they could beat him. Sometimes in the middle of a game he would mutter to himself "kill, crush, destroy." And when his opponents made mistakes the mistakes would cascade.

    He won a lot of money in his time, esp. at backgammon. I would watch how he would send his opponents on tilt.

    It is simply part of the game. The coolest players can take advantage of such workings.

    My friend was always fun to watch. But what was fun to watch were not how he played blitz or backgammon but how he played his opponents.

    The best talkers, such as Negreanu play their opponents in a very subtle way and while he is doing it you end up liking him. Kassouf is not one of the best talkers but he certainly plays his opponents. Unless you make this kind of talking illegal what his opponents should do is take advantage of how he talks.

    Over the last year I have watched as many poker tables I can find, some from many years back. So I want to remind people that Negreanu, who is nice and funny and appealing, often annoys his opponents and takes time with his hands. He has been warned about his table talk by tournament directors.

    It is just part of the game. Deal with it or change the rules.
  • kageykagey Red Chipper, KINGOFTAGS Posts: 2,241 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited October 2016
    What's at stake here - is not whether or not WK was following the letter of the law, but whether or not he was following the spirit of the game.

    Because this is a "thinking game" - there is no shot clock.
    After the Chris Fergusons and Doc Sands came on the scene and tried to time every move identically.... the game changed a little bit - but the tanking wasn't spiteful.

    Now when you look at WK - who willfully stalls BEFORE even looking at his cards, willfully stalls AFTER looking at his cards - and then purposefully exchanges large denom chips for smaller ones (to force dealer to do extra work) - he's not using the "unlimited time" aspect of the game the way it was intended.

    This is not to say we're being "pussy cats" for bringing this up... Puggy, Doyle, Bobby and others will tell you that WK's antics are BS. (And in their day - there would be at least one person waiting for the boorish player outside to meet the player and explain the rules away from the cameras!)

    Grandmaster chess prodigy Josh - talks about opponents in chess who would kick him under the table, talk to their coach (in Russian), tap the table with their fingers when it was his turn to concentrate/act... and sometimes tank excessively (already knowing their move)- but only act when Josh gets up to take a bathroom break (his tourneys had time clocks). This is dirty chess. It's a strategy... but it's not following the spirit of the game.

    In cash games - you'll sometimes run into these types of players - and I don't mind... I let the chips do the talking. But I've got as much time on my hands as I need to sit, wait and eventually stack the bad player. In a tourney - the levels come with a clock. And when ONE PLAYER chews up more of the clock than the remaining 29... it's going to hurt the players who have been forced to seat with this guy.

    It not only hurts the short stacks - but it also hurts the big stacks.
    More hands played per level typically means the best players have the best chance to win. If we play more of a "zoom" style where all players are reseated following every level - then, okay... deal with it. But when 9 players are put at a disadvantage with $8 million on the line... this is not a "tattle tale to the teacher" scenario... this is life-changing bad behavior.

    And if you can't see this for what it is... you've never spent substancial money on a tourney entry.

Leave a Comment

BoldItalicStrikethroughOrdered listUnordered list
Emoji
Image
Align leftAlign centerAlign rightToggle HTML viewToggle full pageToggle lights
Drop image/file