Will Kassouf has lost his Grosvenor Poker sponsorship after allegedly stealing £100 roulette chips from a friend during a stop on the Grosvenor UK Poker Tour.
Kassouf and friends were drinking and playing roulette at the Grosvenor Leeds Watergate Casino when the incident took place, with Kassouf apparently palming and pocketing the chips after a friend’s £2800 win. An argument amongst the group ensued, catching the attention of Grosvenor management.
Since rising to fame at the 2016 World Series of Poker, Kassouf has established a reputation as one of the most polarizing figures in the game. Shaun Deeb broke the news on Twitter Sept. 15 about a possible chip-stealing incident involving Kassouf, and news of the event has since gone viral in the poker community.
Who is Will Kassouf?
Television coverage of the 2016 WSOP Main Event featured a heavy dose of Kassouf’s “speech-play” antics, as the British pro infuriated fellow players with excessive chatter, taunting and tanking en route to a 17th place finish.
The phrase “9-high like a boss” entered the poker lexicon that summer, with Kassouf coining the phrase after a successful bluff against Stacy Matuson with 9♥ 6♣ on day 5 of the tournament.
Kassouf put Matuson all in on the river and fired away at his opponent with one of his signature verbal barrages, daring her to call and eventually getting a clearly flustered Matuson to fold pocket queens. This hand caused quite a commotion on the floor, with Kassouf being warned by the dealer and WSOP officials multiple times to stop talking.
Tournament Director Jack Effel gave Kassouf a one-round penalty after the hand, but that didn’t stop Kassouf from continuing his attempts to infuriate and tilt his opponents throughout the tournament.
His Main Event run ended in spectacular fashion, with Griffin Benger calling out Kassouf for his continued “verbal abuse” and sending “The King of Speech Play” to the rail with AA against Kassouf’s KK.
Since the 2016 WSOP, Kassouf has appeared in numerous televised events, always bringing his tilt-inducing arsenal of tanking, slowrolling and trash talking to the table.
Will Kassouf steals £100 chips from a friend
The poker community got word of the roulette chip-stealing incident after Shaun Deeb sent this tweet on Sept. 15:
Just got a very interesting message about @WilliamKassouf getting caught palming 100$ chips at roulette table and getting banned from all properties and dropped by his sponsorship shocked to hear it but now we know where his buyins were coming from #goodriddence
— wcoop wafflecrusher (@shaundeeb) September 16, 2018
Deeb’s tweet drew mixed reactions, with some warning Deeb against posting such an account without legitimate evidence to back up the story. A thread on Two Plus Two popped up about the tweet with similar mixed sentiments about Deeb, Kassouf and the tweet itself.
A Sept. 17 post in the thread gave the first indication that the chip-stealing incident was real. A screenshot of a Facebook post by British player Michael J. O’Mahoney showed up in the thread, originally posted in a closed UK Poker Facebook group.
This post laid out the details of what went down at the roulette table:
Hours later, another post in the thread, appearing to be from O’Mahoney himself, clarified the incident further:
Before these two posts appeared, it was unclear if Deeb’s tweet alluded to Kassouf palming chips off the table and stealing from the casino, or something else. These accounts from O’Mahoney provide details of Kassouf apparently stealing chips from someone among his own group of friends.
Kassouf himself remained silent on the matter for three days, as rumors of him being dropped by Grosvenor Poker swirled on social media and Two Plus Two.
On Sept, 18, we finally heard from Kassouf, who apologized on Twitter and confirmed that he and Grosvenor Poker had “mutually agreed to part ways.” Using a subdued tone, Kassouf doesn’t actually admit to stealing chips, but expresses remorse for the “embarrassing incident.”
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
“Last weekend, during the course of a drunken night playing roulette with friends, I made an error of judgment which I greatly regret; something I accept full responsibility for,” writes Kassouf in the apology. “I have apologised and will apologise again to all my friends who were with me that night for my foolish behavior.”
“As a result of this embarrassing incident, my sponsor Grosvenor Poker and I have mutually agreed to part ways. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone I have worked with at Grosvenor Poker for all they have done for me and I’m proud to have been part of Team Grosvenor.”
The loss of the sponsorship from Grosvenor, the UK’s largest casino operator, is a big blow for Kassouf, and poker fans are left to wonder if this is the last we’ll see of “The King of Speech Play”. Kassouf finished his Twitter apology stating he’s not going anywhere.
“I will continue to do what I do best by bringing the fun and entertainment factor back to poker as that’s what’s most important to me in my poker career,” Kassouf said. “I wish you all the best of luck and look forward to seeing you at the tables.”
What do you think of Will Kassouf’s actions?
Let us know in the comments below.
The Twitter apology isn’t going over well so far, with many responses on Twitter criticizing Kassouf for not clarifying the events of that night. It remains to be seen if Kassouf gives us more detail from his side of the incident. But it’s a good bet that we’ll hear from the fast-talking British pro again.
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