On Tuesday’s Doug Polk Podcast, Will Kassouf denied allegations that he pocketed the chips he lost in an all-in pot during a low-stakes pot-limit Omaha cash game at the 2023 Irish Open.
Earlier this month, Leo Worthington-Leese posted a video on social media sharing a second-hand story about Kasssouf he was told by a friend in the aforementioned cash game.
In that story, which made its way around poker Twitter, Worthington-Leese, who competed in the Irish Open, claimed he was told that Kassouf lost his entire stack in a three-way pot — about 300 euros — and then proceeded to take his chips with him out of the card room instead of paying off the bet.
Kassouf Tells a Different Story to Polk
Kassouf, known for his “speech play” which helped him finish 17th in the 2016 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event, appeared on Doug Polk’s podcast to set the record straight on what went down during the Irish Open. Or, at least, give his side of a he-said-she-said story, and it was quite different from the one Worthington-Leese told.
As the poker player explained in the hour-long conversation with Polk, there were no cameras in the cash game area, so there is no video to prove the allegations against him.
According to Kassouf, he didn’t take off with the money he lost and suggested that the dealer may have miscounted the pot instead.
“I was sitting right next to the dealer, my chips were in the pot,” Kassouf claimed. “There was no issue at the time.”
Kassouf then continued to claim “they knew I didn’t run out of the poker room,” referring to those who made the accusations. He said he remained in the area for a few minutes chatting it up with friends at other tables after the hand he lost.
Check out Kassouf’s Player Profile on PokerNews here
His account of the incident then shifted to Keith Littlewood, who won part of the pot. Littlewood wrote on Twitter following Worthington-Leese’s accusations confirming he was shorted in the pot. But he also said that “no one saw him take the chips but when the dealer came to pull in the chips his stack was gone.”
According to Kassouf, his chips were already in the pot and he claims it was likely the dealer simply miscounted the size of the pot. Littleton’s statement to PokerNews contradicts much of Kassouf’s interview with Polk.
“The dealer then counted seat 4’s stack and gave him the €725 from mine (a quarter of the pot),” Littleton said. “Then [the dealer] went to do the main pot, and just the blinds and antes were there. Kassouf’s stack had disappeared, and so had Kassouf. Everyone was asking where Will’s stack was. The dealer called the floor, who then got the security guards to go and find him. He had disappeared without a trace.”
“Rumors and speculation with no evidence or proof whatsoever.”
Kassouf said he exited the room like any normal day a poker player busts from a cash game. Per his comments on Polk’s podcast, he engaged in some banter with friends and then left, and it wasn’t until the next morning before he’d discovered there was a controversy brewing.
“My chips were in the middle on the turn. My chips were in the middle by the dealer. I was sitting in Seat 1. Seat 2 re-potted it, Seat 4 went all in, and we all agreed to run it twice. My chips were in the middle. I had no more chips in front of me or behind. Nobody saw me take chips off the table because I didn’t take chips off the table,” Kassouf stated.
Later on in the interview, Kassouf referred to the allegations against him as “rumors and speculation with no evidence or proof whatsoever.” He then reiterated that he didn’t bolt out of the card room with chips.
“I would never do anything to jeopardize my poker career, or try to take chips from the table, be it a cash game or a tournament,” Kassouf told Polk. “I’ll never cheat in a game I love so much. So these are false allegations that are completely made up based on rumor and hearsay.”
This wasn’t the first time Kassouf found himself in the middle of a controversy. During the 2016 WSOP Main Event, captured on ESPN’s broadcast, the British poker pro received a one-round penalty for repeatedly talking about the contents of his hand in a pot against Stacy Matuson.
As the final table approached, he memorably busted with pocket kings against the pocket aces of Griffin Benger, who was fed up with Kassouf’s speech play and constant tanking.
“Check your privilege,” an irritated Benger told Kassouf during the hand in question.
Kassouf told Polk the incident was blown out of proportion and that his reasoning for tanking before moving all in with pocket kings was because he was genuinely concerned he was up against aces.
But there was another alleged scandal involving Kassouf that he had to address on Polk’s podcast. In 2018, he lost his Grosvenor sponsorship after allegations were made that he palmed a $100 casino chip from a roulette table and was banned from the property.
His explanation for what went down was that there was a $100 chip in front of him following a spin at the roulette table, which he assumed was his.
“No one said anything to me at the time,” he claims. “We carried on playing, we carried on betting on other numbers.”
Kassouf then said he was drunk having a good time with friends, and then later at the bar, his friend approached him and informed him the chip in question was actually his. According to Kassouf, he agreed with his friend and paid him back, and that was that.
One thing is certain, and that is controversy seems to find Will Kassouf every few years.