Americans don’t seem to like William Kassouf.
He’s loud, obnoxious, and boorish. He’s everything bad that people in the rest of the world have been saying about American tourists for decades and now’s their chance to pin it on someone else.
But it’s about a lot more than that.
Many ESPN-watching Americans may have found his vaunted speech play somewhat entertaining and certainly interesting during the broadcast of the 2016 World Series of Poker Main Event. However, they caught only snippets of it. The highlight reel. Anyone playing with him in the tournament, or for that matter, anyone at the Rio Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada throughout the event, was witness to the whole grindingly slow, mind-numbingly repetitive, and insanely annoying Kassouf show.
‘Nobody likes you, everybody hates you’
As many viewers might remember, things got so bad that the normally very composed and always cool poker legend Cliff Josephy sank as low as singing his own version of the nobody likes you-everybody hates you song. It very nearly bordered on collusion. Everybody at the table backed Johnny Bax in his effort to get Kassouf to shut up and go home. Or at the very least, play at a reasonable pace.
American poker players hate few things more than a player who takes too long to make what should be easy decisions. If there is one thing more loathed, it’s a player who continually wastes time with the same one-liners he’s be trying to lay on them for days. A stodgy sounding British accent doesn’t help either.
One might think the Americans that played with him were satisfied when Griffin Benger picked up aces against his kings, told him to check his privilege and finally sent him packing. However, I suspect many were dissatisfied with the fact it took a Canadian to finally shut Kassouf down. Americans have always preferred to fight their own battles.
Kassouf haters rejoice
Regardless, more than a few Kassouf-hating US poker players rejoiced over what appeared to be his downfall this week. The events that unfolded include Kassouf getting drunk on the Leeds leg of his sponsor’s Grosvenor UK Poker Tour. Then the casino caught him palming $100 chips at the roulette table. The fallout appears to be Kassouf receiving a ban from all Grosvenor properties and losing his Grosvenor sponsorship.
American Shaun Deeb broke the news on Twitter with what had to be a huge smile on his face. He’s got all kinds of reasons to hate Kassouf.
Outside of buying a PokerStars High Roller trophy over in Europe, Kassouf hasn’t done much on the felt since 2016. However, with his grip on poker fame loosening fast, Kassouf made a Phil Hellmuth-like appearance on the rail of the 2018 WSOP Main Event final table this summer. It was there that he apparently tried to chat up Deeb’s wife.
In the aftermath, Kassouf took to Twitter claiming he’d only been asking if she was Deeb’s sister. That’s an insult in almost all 50 states.
Kassouf fans attacked Deeb for spreading the rumors until Kassouf finally owned up to what happened:
It is with great sadness that I write the following statement but I feel it necessary to clarify the situation now that I’m at liberty to do so. pic.twitter.com/x7vvhTMMUE
— William Kassouf (@WilliamKassouf) September 18, 2018
Make poker fun again
Kassouf’s plan to “bring the fun and entertainment factor back to poker,” means poker hasn’t seen the last of him.
However, solid, flag-waving, apple-pie eating, red-blooded Americans like Deeb, Josephy, and anyone else who saw Kassouf’s 2016 WSOP Main Event run as anything but fun and entertaining can take solace in the fact his 15 minutes of poker fame are just about up.
Guys who palm chips at the roulette table are a lot like those who beg for buy-ins in the bathroom. They never last.