Hit and Run: William Kassouf Penalty Provides Debate Fodder, Canada Sports-Betting Bill Fails, More Twitter Drama

Alex Weldon : September 23rd, 2016


A penalty received by William Kassouf during the WSOP Main Event is this week’s most-discussed story. No legal single-game sports betting for Canada. Doyle Brunson and Vanessa Selbst exchange words on Twitter. And more.

When does table talk warrant a penalty?

The WSOP Main Event is currently being televised on ESPN in fourteen episodes (running back-to-back over seven weeks) in preparation for the November Nine. As is usually the case, those editing the footage have elected to highlight some of the more controversial players and moments, as well as the popular ones. We in the media love this kind of thing, of course, because it provides plenty of fodder for think pieces. The story that has received the most attention in this regard so far is that of British player William Kassouf, and the penalty he incurred in a hand against Stacy Matuson.

Kassouf is a big, big talker. Sometimes he’s funny, sometimes obnoxious, and sometimes he arguably crosses the line into harassment and abuse. In the hand in question, he’d put Matuson on a decision for her tournament life, and began talking in an effort to (it turns out) get her to fold. Matuson, who like many people was already irritated at Kassouf, repeatedly demanded that he shut up, and when he refused, got the dealer, floor staff and ultimately tournament director Jack Effel involved. Although some of Kassouf’s talk was technically against the rules as he was alluding to the strength of his hand, and telling Matuson what he wanted her to do, it was the distress it was causing her that the tournament officials concentrated on. Ultimately, Effel told Kassouf he’d receive a penalty if he kept talking. Kassouf was quiet until after Matuson folded, whereupon he triumphantly showed his bluff and began gloating about it. That was enough for Effel, who handed out a one-round penalty.

The story is controversial for a few reasons: obviously, players engage in all sorts of table talk all the time, much of which is technically against the rules but is given a pass. Where is the line drawn? Well, wherever the tournament staff decide to draw it, of course, but that arbitrariness naturally worries many people. Here, though, it’s particularly worrisome in that Effel and Matuson know each other personally. There’s a valid argument to be made that Effel might not have come down as hard against Kassouf had he not had any relationship to the player complaining about him.

The latest opinion piece about the penalty is a debate-style column at PokerNews, with Frank Op de Woerd taking Kassouf’s side, and Marty Derbyshire taking Effel’s.

A little earlier in the week, Erik Fast at Card Player also took a look at the story, but covered both sides of the matter without reaching a firm conclusion of his own.

First on the story (as far as televised coverage of the hand goes) was James Guill at PokerUpdate, who came down in favour of the penalty first thing on Monday after the episode aired.

Quick Hitters

- Lee Davy at CalvinAyre is definitely a big out-of-the-box thinker, and a big fan of the Global Poker League. As the league struggles to keep the audience’s interest in its second half, Davy’s feeling is that it was a mistake to let managers draft themselves as players. His proposed solution: don’t have a manager at all, but rather let the fans themselves manage the teams via a democratic process.

- The Canadian House of Commons voted this week on a bill that would have opened the door for legal, regulated single-game sports wagering. Currently, some provincial lotteries offer parlay-betting, but as in the United States, betting on individual events is prohibited at the federal level. The bill failed, despite having once been supported by the now-majority governing Liberal party, and despite some Liberal MPs crossing the aisle to vote for it.

- A little bit of Twitter drama broke out between Vanessa Selbst, who is passionately anti-Donald Trump, and Doyle Brunson, who is equally passionately anti-Hillary Clinton. Selbst accused Brunson of being politically ignorant, and the latter inexplicably responded by bringing up her prop bet with Jason Mercier over the summer, stating inaccurately that she’d failed to make good on it (whereas what actually happened is that she hedged by betting against herself with others when Mercier would not let her buy out with him directly).

- Also on Twitter, Sorel Mizzi posted a photo of himself playing Pokémon Go while driving. I consider that a big no-no, and put him on blast for it.

Get your daily dose of poker news with the PTP Hit and Run.

Props Get Paid up to 102%+ Rakeback. Click for Offers >>>
comments powered by Disqus
WSOP Win A Vegas VIP Weekend


Don't want to deposit? Try free bankrolls.
Room Bankroll
Sign up at Titan Poker Titan Poker
Major room, easy qualify
Sign up at Sky Poker Sky Poker
Good for MTT / SNGs Only

Follow PartTimePoker ®

RSS Feed
Donate Bitcoins


About Part Time Poker ®

Online since 2004, PartTimePoker.com brings together a unique combination of top-paying poker rakeback and prop offers and a variety of poker-related content including poker news, strategy articles, free poker training reviews and the latest Poker News and Gossip. PartTimePoker.com - your best source for online poker.

Inside PTP

Rakeback and Free Bankrolls

PTP offers several rakeback and free bankroll offers for our viewers. If you're not familiar with rakeback, read our guide to online poker rakeback. To learn how much you could be earning with rakeback, check out our rakeback calculator.

Free and no deposit bankrolls (also called free poker money) are essentially promotional deals we've arranged with rooms where they give you a small amount of money (usually $10-$150) started.