Poker table banter and cross talk: Viable strategy, or unacceptable behavior?

Tammy

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William Kassouf rose to notoriety during the 2016 wsop Main Event for his use of verbal tactics to throw his opponents off balance and constant pushing of rules and boundaries. What is your opinion - is this type of play a valid strategy in live poker, or was Kassouf's behavior just way out of line and bordering on cheating?

 
millya5

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I don't consider this a scam....

Tony G also loves to talk to Phil Hellmuth... and Phil often loses his temper...Of course you need to observe etiquette
 
najisami

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Verbal tactics are and will always be a valid strategy at a live poker table. The best example I can think of is Daniel Negreanu's style, especially a few years back. That said, if we compare Kassouf's behavior to Negreanu's, the least we can clearly and easily notice is that one is pleasant and the other honestly annoying, hence the staff involvement.

I'm not sure if I can qualify Kassouf's acts as cheating, but he was definitely out of line, repeating the same "childish" rubbish over and over, not even funny, nor smart, just purposely depriving the lady of her focus. A harsher penalty would've been more adequate in my opinion.

I don't want to take too much of any reader's time, so I'll just leave you with this illustration of what I consider legit, funny, smart and acceptable verbal tactics.
What do you think of the last one (#1) ?

 
Ogma

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I'm not one to judge on the morals of it but it sure can be entertaining. Kassouf and Kabrhel can be particularly so but nightmares to play against that kind of distraction. I'd need headphones and some loud music to over-ride it.

Negreanu can be just as annoying as Kassouf.
 
millya5

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Verbal tactics are and will always be a valid strategy at a live poker table. The best example I can think of is Daniel Negreanu's style, especially a few years back. That said, if we compare Kassouf's behavior to Negreanu's, the least we can clearly and easily notice is that one is pleasant and the other honestly annoying, hence the staff involvement.

I'm not sure if I can qualify Kassouf's acts as cheating, but he was definitely out of line, repeating the same "childish" rubbish over and over, not even funny, nor smart, just purposely depriving the lady of her focus. A harsher penalty would've been more adequate in my opinion.

I don't want to take too much of any reader's time, so I'll just leave you with this illustration of what I consider legit, funny, smart and acceptable verbal tactics.
What do you think of the last one (#1) ?

Oh, you are right. Daniel Negreanu has his own style, subtle... but in no case is it offensive...
 
najisami

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I'd need headphones and some loud music to over-ride it.
Which means that their behavior gets to you and to other players, therefore against etiquette.
I n your 2nd post, you said that Daniel could be just as annoying as Kassouf. I might agree that he could be an annoyance, but only to the player who's in the pot with him, and not always or necessarily. At least he makes everyone laugh (Including his opponent) and creates a great ambiance at the table. I don't think you could put him in the same basket with Kassouf at all.
 
Ogma

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Like I said, Kassouf and Kabrhel can be very entertaining with their table ploys. Although it does get tiresome.

Negreanu, as friendly and lovable as he can be, can be equally as annoying with his incessant 'banter'.

Negreanu I don't find funny though but Kassouf and Kabrhel can be genuinely funny. What someone finds funny is completely subjective and down to the individual's taste. I like humour that's dark and close to the bone. Banter humour is boring.
 
najisami

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Oh, you are right. Daniel Negreanu has his own style, subtle... but in no case is it offensive...
"OFFENSIVE", thank you. A very important word I did not think of when writing my post.
Negreanu would ask you what you have, tell you what you have, ask you how much you want to bet etc. .. But always friendly and with a smile, thus keeping the environment within respectful limits. I never seen any of his opponents getting "offended", in fact They have a good laugh and move on. Even the guy with the kings, not offended at all, he didn't know if he was outplayed or not, just poker. And I'm sure he'd laugh about it later on in front of a TV 😂🤣😂.
 
Gavincwb

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You cannot be disrespectful of etiquette or harm your opponent. The rest can do everything when playing the hand.
 
najisami

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Negreanu I don't find funny though but Kassouf and Kabrhel can be genuinely funny. What someone finds funny is completely subjective and down to the individual's taste. I like humour that's dark and close to the bone. Banter humour is boring.

"There's always another way to look at thinks." Ogma.

Imagine if we all thought the same way! I think we'd be so useless to each other ☹️🙃🤣🤣🤣.

I really like "Dark humor that's close to the bone", I mean the expression, you know ...

Back to our topic, if we forget about Kassouf and Negreanu altogether, and only look at the other players instead, we'll definitely be looking at one enjoyable table and at a miserable one. Still, freedom is great when coupled with respect for others. Your choice, your opinion ☮️❤️.
 
Edu1

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unacceptable behavior, his behavior with the casino employers is uncommon in live poker
 
MK_

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I think table talk is something of an art form and he's very, very good at it ....
That fact that he was able to get under their skin so easily tells me they are some pretty soft players used to having their hands held. As long as players aren't discussing current action or cards during the play which is against the rules of the game it's fair game to chat to gauge a reaction, totally fair game to use the art of table talk in your live game. 👍
 
Debi

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I don't mind table banter - that is friendly behavior and common. It makes the game more enjoyable.

What he is doing is purposely trying to annoy her and put her off her game. That is very poor sportsmanship and he was told multiple times by the manager to stop talking - which means they felt he was over the line.
 
Gh0stL

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Being respectful and if the players doesn’t cross this boundaries, I think is right, I think that’s make poker interest because the players need self control to play well.
 
pentazepam

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It certainly isn't cheating. But it's borderline harassing and super obnoxious. He seemed to get a penalty for taunting (don't know if that rule is new in WSOP) as he certainly meant to disturb her thinking process. But it seems like an arbitrary rule that is hard to define and implement.

Just like some tournaments have time bank cards maybe every player could get some "shut the fuxk up"-cards they can use on a player they want to silence while thinking. Like three cards to stop the talking that you can use on three different people/moments during a tournament.

Maybe he has Jamie Gold as an idol but just tries to take it one step further:


It obviously works for some people because they seem to lose concentration when the blabbermouths are doing their thing.
 
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Chica_bonita

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Wow🙈😱
After watching this video, I found some similarities with the Czech poker player Martin Karbhel.

As far as I know, he is very disliked in the poker community. The fact is that he is extremely unpleasant during the game: constant conversations about everything, non-standard behavior, strange manipulations with chips and cards. And, in fact, I do see some tactics in this.

It seems to me that most of these poker players are simply engaged in psychological abuse, taking other players out of their comfort zone.
People get angry, get upset, lose concentration and simply start making mistakes.

Of course, it's easier to think that these are just such poker players themselves such unpleasant personalities,🤷‍♀️ 💩but it really looks more like a cleverly thought-out strategy.

Putting people into a state of tilt, exerting psychological pressure on them through the available tools looks as crazy😱 as it is brilliant.😈 Agree that it is necessary to have a sharp mind to drive people out of themselves without going beyond what is allowed by the rules of the tournament. It seems that they know perfectly well that they will not face serious consequences for their antics.

Although, I'm sure that people who behave this way and as individuals are not very.

For me, this behavior is unacceptable. This is also not uncommon in online poker. I am very glad that there is no chat in the poker room where I play.
 
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YLAN

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i dislike Kassouf. He's particularly unfriendly, irritating, & disrespectful in this video & specially to a woman. He's way out of line.

It could be a culture thing but in my part of the world where most players play in poker rooms for a living, respect among players is paramount. We take the game seriously & too much talk or banter at the tables would be taken as arrogance & offensive. No one usually complains & dealers don't usually warn players but be wary that someone could just walk up to you & smack you on the face announcing "mayabang(!)" meaning arrogant to prompt the people around to just leave you lying on the floor. Conversely in casinos where most play for recreation & foreigners usually play, it may be more tolerated but its suggested to respect my country folks. That's how it is several decades ago when I use to play a lot of live poker. Now, I have not yet played live due to many poker rooms have closed & only a handful still plays poker.

If your character is like Kassouf, better to stay away from Asia.
 
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nba2009

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I don't think it's a scam...

A player must be mentally strong and easily coexist with these types of strategies in poker, but I also think that there should be deep rules on these issues. It can be very annoying and can cause serious problems with people with little patience.
 
G0930

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William Kassouf rose to notoriety during the 2016 WSOP Main Event for his use of verbal tactics to throw his opponents off balance and constant pushing of rules and boundaries. What is your opinion - is this type of play a valid strategy in live poker, or was Kassouf's behavior just way out of line and bordering on cheating?

Wouldn't call it cheating but Kassouf is one of the most hated pokerplayers for a reason.
Hes abnoxious, will never ever shut up which of course influences the opponent's play.
Which is valid of course but Kassouf just takes trashtalk to another level.
It's more his big mouth to thank for his succesess rather than his skills. He simply talks and talks making people crazy which results in mistakes by them from which Kassouf benefits greatly
 
RhinoRyan89

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I don't mind friendly banter but there is a line for everyone to be honest.

The line is the variable from player to player.

I would say Kassouf has the same line as Martin Kabrhel in regards to what's acceptable.
 
ADRI7HO

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Getting information verbally about the strength of the other player's hand, perhaps by getting him out of his "poker face" state, is fine, but if it turns into verbal abuse it is no longer acceptable.
If someone is good at balancing verbal tactics, knowing when to back off, that's perfectly fine, because that's part of live poker, that's how information is gathered.
 
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Kassouf was already known as being a deliberately irritating guy on the UK and EPT circuits before he showed up at the WSOP. Somewhere there is a clip of him badgering Vanessa Selbst early days when he was perfecting his routine.

As the Kassouf matter has been raised before I’ll just remind folks in real time at the WSOP most of the commentators and many notables in the poker community were initially waxing lyrical about his table talk as it (supposedly) reminded them of some rough and tumble time of poker yesteryear. There were huge debates back and forth and on You Tube as these were the glory days when the WSOP was live streamed to You Tube in its entirety. Look at the comments, people were lionizing him.

However, by this point most had realized he was little more than relentlessly provocative. He was not particularly clever, he just repeated the same crap over and over. Further to that, he wasted time in every hand he played, even when folding trash hands etc. So the fools that had praised him at first amended their views. Of course by the time that he played the infamous Kings vs Aces hand against Griffin Benger, most had had their fill of him.

Additionally if we are talking unacceptable behavior, folks should be aware Kassouf was later caught pocketing chips of a ‘friend’ of his. Additionally, at the Irish Poker Open this or last year (I honestly can’t be bothered to look it up) Kassouf was involved in an odd hand, I recall it was during a losing session, when he is alleged to have simply walked away from the table mid hand with all his chips (including some which were alleged to have been bet already) to avoid losing even more money. He denied it but others insisted it had happened.

Here's his demise from that WSOP.

 
Emily Trott

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Kassouf was already known as being a deliberately irritating guy on the UK and EPT circuits before he showed up at the WSOP. Somewhere there is a clip of him badgering Vanessa Selbst early days when he was perfecting his routine.

Does Mr. Kassouf only pick on women?
 
YLAN

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That Benger v Kassouf (AA v KK) hand got me pumped up! I would love to play with Kassouf now. But what's the penalty for punching a player? Get's you thrown out & banned? Well, I'll just bring some of my friends to the game. They can do the job. bwahaha :ROFLMAO:
 
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Gallarado777

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I love talking, even discussing the game's hands with other players, making fun of the game is also cool so that the game isn't boring and it's always cool to chat with people at the poker table, but if the boundaries you shouldn't cross and hurt other people it's stupid to offend or try to offend another poker player, it's better to remain a decent player and respect in sports is the most important thing you win or lose you must respect your opponents that's the most important thing and makes you by a human
 
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