re: Poker & Thoughts on William Kassouf in Main Event
Originally Posted by teepack
Check out the blog post
I just wrote about him and other jerks from recent WSOP Main Events.
I read your blog, and you do bring up some interesting points, but where I do have some constructive criticism is that you are implicitly doing an apples to apples to apples comparison of William Kassouf, Justin Schwartz, and Curtis Rystadt.
Kassouf - From all appearances on TV, comes off as a friendly chap, one that while he talks a lot (maybe sometimes too much - after giving it some thought, I concede that maybe he does cross the line), he's not being malicious or mean to the players at the table.
Schwartz - He's the anti-Kassouf. He's a brooding, negative presence at the table that demonstrates a lack of social skills. Yes, his issues have been well documented and we all hope that he can stay clean, and be successful at the tables and in life, but he explicitly got involved with trying to influence action when he wasn't in a hand.
Rystadt - He's an interesting one. I think he's really just a hot air balloon that, when he got on TV, he played up to the cameras. Of course, I could be dead wrong, and people that have played with him in the Main Event, or other tournaments can tell me I'm full of crap. He strikes me as the kind of guy that wants to build himself up as some kind of underdog that when he sees somebody that he KNOWS is in his way, he'll go out of his way to try and knock that person down off his/her perch. Kyle Keranen was just simply playing his game and winning lots of pots, many uncontested. Rystadt was doing anything and everything to try and throw him off his game. He might have ultimately been successful, but when Keranen flopped the nuts on him, he let his single-minded focus of knocking off the bully affect his decision making and ultimately bust out of the tournament, though two pair is usually good in Hold'em.
To me, he comes off as friendly enough when you first encounter him. But he's the kind of guy that can go from friendly and affable to mean and agitating. It's like he's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
I suppose the commonality here is that they may come off as annoying, but not all "annoying" people are annoying to the same levels as each other.
I think what also hurts poker is the exact opposite - a bunch of players sitting at a table, headphones on, hoodies up, sunglasses on, looking "down" on the "fish" or the "recreational players" because they don't play a certain way. In a way, it's good to have a "dose" of Kassouf, Schwartz, and Rystadt at the table (not as much as they're willing to give perhaps).
Norman Chad's position is that people who talk are good "up to a point" and I agree. To suggest that they're 100% bad for the game is inaccurate. Here are things that are 100% bad for poker.
1. Excessive tanking (if it's an important spot where it's a big pot and may affect your tournament, that's one thing). I'm talking about taking 30 seconds for every single decision every single time.
2. People who "tap the glass". Shaun Deeb gave me that impression when the cameras were on him. He's a top flight professional, but throws in snide remarks every so often.
3. "Lack of talking" - Poker's a social game. Sure, maybe when you're playing for millions of dollars, you might want to avoid letting off tells, but people who seemingly cover themselves up don't help sell the game to new players.
Just some thoughts on your blog. It's well written, and for those who haven't read it yet, I suggest you do so.
FWIW - My impressions of Kassouf have varied as I've watched him play, and from reading what others have said. In the end, I'd rather have somebody like him at the table instead of somebody who only says things like "GTO, polarizing his range, 3 bet light" or looks down on others he/she perceives aren't as good as they are.