William Kassouf never disappoints. The controversial poker player took part in a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) to answer random questions from poker fans.
Kassouf went from an unknown in the poker world to a “love him or hate him” player during ESPN’s recent World Series of Poker (WSOP) coverage due to his “speech play.” The Brit had one of the most memorable bust out hands in Series history.
With just 18 players remaining in the Main Event, Kassouf picked up pocket kings against Griffin Benger’s pocket aces. The two got into a heated exchange before Kassouf went all-in pre-flop. Benger made the quick call and slammed his cards on the table. Kassouf went out in 17th place.
Since then, Mr. Speech Play has sparked some debate around the poker world about table trash talking. But most don’t truly know much about him. You will after reading his Reddit AMA session.
What is Speech Play?
User ‘SnozBerry55’ asked the first question, and it had to do with the topic most poker players want Kassouf to answer: what is he looking for when talking to his opponents during a hand?
“The whole purpose of speech play is trying to get information from your opponents…I think what better way to actually get information than to . . . converse with the person across the table…having them interact with you and . . . give you a response is one thing, and even if they don’t you can tell from their body language, the way they react, their demeanor as to whether they are weak/strong, if they want/don’t want a call, just getting information basically from your opponent whether it’s words from their mouth or their physical appearance/body language,” Kassouf answered, in possibly the longest single sentence ever spoken.
Although he busted out on Day Seven of the Main Event, he believes he got under his opponent’s skin enough that day to benefit from his speech play.
The next question, from user ‘mulimulix,’ addressed another issue related to his speech play: tanking. Kassouf spent more time to act than other players at the table. Some of his opponents, including Benger and Cliff Josephy, were visibly annoyed by his speech play and tanking. If everyone in a tournament played the way he does, would it ruin the game?
“Well it’s not for everyone, I think everyone should have their own style and way of playing if they are comfortable with it and opening up and potentially giving away tells and possibly giving away the strength of their hand in order to get information from their opponents as to the strength of their holding, then so be it,” he answered, and then conceded players shouldn’t do it just to showboat for television.
Strange Questions and Answers
Unless you’re new to the internet, you probably know an online Q & A can’t possibly happen without a few ridiculous questions. During a televised hand, Kassouf randomly asked his opponents how far it is from the Rio in Las Vegas to Hollywood. No one gave him a definitive answer, so user ‘Rynaldo900’ wanted to know if he ever found out.
“I don’t know the exact mileage, I think I was just speaking for the banter at the time, I wasn’t really bothered with how many exact miles it was from the Rio to Hollywood, it was just a line that I came up with when my opponent was deep in thought and thinking how much to four bet and I thought I’d break the ice, crack a joke really as to how long he was taking, as if he was hollywooding, as if he was never going to four bet even though I knew it was coming,” he said, leaving readers wondering if he still doesn’t know the distance, and also if he breathes during these 100-word sentences.
‘Omaha_Poker’ wanted to know if Kassouf tanks for five minutes before answering each AMA question. And ‘dondolol’ had arguably the most important question.
“What’s a bigger conspiracy? Tournament officials setting up AA vs KK or the fact that hot dog buns sell in packages of 6 and hotdogs in packages of 8?”
Unfortunately for those of us who ponder these great and universal questions, Kassouf didn’t answer either mystery.