In a new series of articles on Poker Central, we take a look at one hand of every year of the World Series of Poker Main Event from 2016-2011 in line with the release of these episodes on PokerGO. This week we look at the year 2016, where Qui Nguyen surprised a string of experienced pros, JohnnyBax added to his legacy, but it was a boisterous Brit who left arguably the biggest mark on that year’s broadcast.
The hand we’re looking at is one hand that changed it all for William Kassouf. Surely, his kings vs aces of Griffin Benger will be replayed more often because of the gravity of the moment, the money at stake and the monumental outburst from the Toronto native, but none of that would’ve happened if it weren’t for “nine-high, like a boss!”
The 2016 WSOP Main Event is now available in full on PokerGO, and if you don’t want the results spoiled, please click this link right now and start your binge watch.
Before coining the line that would become a staple in home games, printed on t-shirts, and the recurring annoyance associated with the most hated man – by his opponents – in the 2016 Main Event, William Kassouf was just another player in a sea of hopefuls.
As a former lawyer, Kassouf enjoyed some success in smaller buy-in tournaments in the UK, most notably a final table in the 2009 Irish Open, where he finished sixth for €100,800. Aside from that results, his name and persona weren’t well known. However, once the cameras noticed him, and he noticed the cameras, that all changed in 2016.
The hand shown in this article, set in motion a series of hands and moments in that year’s Main Event turning Kassouf into one of the biggest names in poker. The three main characters in this story, Kassouf, his opponent Stacy Matuson and head tournament director Jack Effel, all played different roles in what became a moment to remember.
The news of Kassouf’s antics spread like wildfire, and in the following days of the tournament, his reputation among opponents dwindled. Kassouf gets accused of being “a broken record” and “you’re just a bully” by various players at his table, but in hindsight, those claims seem to be more focused on his excessive tanking over his “speech play.”
The bluff in this video succeeding for Kassouf, arguably, gave him the confidence and chips needed to continue his antics into a run that put him among the contenders on Day 7, while the hand leads to the elimination of Matuson later that day. Effel remained part of the Kassouf storyline, carrying his experiences from this moment into many that followed on later days of the event.
On a podcast earlier this week on Poker Central, sixth-place finisher in that year’s Main Event, Kenny Hallaert said, “Kassouf wasn’t annoying because of what he said, it was because he acted so slow.”
Whether it was his slow pace of play or his repetitive lines that drove his opponents mad, it goes without saying that Kassouf gave color to the 2016 WSOP Main Event, whether you enjoyed it or not. “Nine-high, like a boss” will live in on in poker lure, and it remains to be seen whether Kassouf can be the boss of another big event in future years. One thing is for sure though when he does, he’ll have plenty of fans and haters to make for a divided crowd.