The 2023 Irish Poker Open (for the record, we call it the “Irish Poker Open” to reduce confusion with the golf version of the Irish Open) has drawn eyeballs, but not always for reasons that show the tournament in a good light. While there was a monster field for the Main Event (2491 entries), the antics of noted poker ne’er do well William Kassouf marred the proceedings. That might have been the biggest issue until the unveiling of an alleged physical altercation – and the coverup by the floor staff – that came to the attention of the poker community.
Canadian Pro Alleges Physical Altercation That Draws No Punishment
Earlier this week, Canadian poker professional Louise Francoeur went to Facebook regarding a situation that arose during the Main Event. According to Francoeur, she was struck by a player after an altercation between the two, one in which she was also told “f**k you” (another violation of TDA Rules) following the dispute. At that time, the player was removed from the floor and ejected from the tournament for his actions, and it seemed that the situation was settled – at least until after a break in the tournament.
Francoeur writes that, after the tournament had taken a break, “angry guy was still in (and) at a table next to me…and NOBODY TOLD ME!” Francoeur continued (parenthesis added by author for clarity), ”I call female floor over (who allegedly witnessed the fracas), she is mad and says ‘the boys (presumably meaning the male members of the floor staff) had a meeting and JP (McCann, the tournament director for the Irish Poker Open) overruled the floor decision. I was not asked to participate in the meeting and am very upset about it.”
Naturally, Francoeur was incensed over this decision and McCann allegedly comes to Francoeur to try to smooth things over. Instead, he made them worse. According to Francoeur, “(McCann) justifies his decision…by saying the dealer shouldn’t have been talking in the first place and that (the dealer) made the initial mistake which caused a spiraling effect.” In McCann’s statement, Francoeur states, he felt the player was “just tilted like players do and that there was no reason to terminate him from the event.”
Perhaps most infuriating, at least to Francoeur, was that the player was allowed back into the tournament after having been ejected. “(McCann said) the player even acknowledged hitting me and behaving badly and apologized to (McCann),” Francoeur says, “so he was just given another warning and (re-sat in the tournament).”
“If the HEAD organizer (JP McCann) can’t do (the) right thing in this circumstance, it promotes that any kind of abuse only warrants infinite warnings,” Francoeur concluded. “There are plenty of other poker destinations out there…all of this was not OK on so many levels, including disregarding (a) woman floor who saw everything.”
Silence is Telling From Irish Poker Open and McCann
Eyewitness reports state that the ejected player was bullying Francoeur, with the two players sitting beside each other. “If (the floor supervisors) correct ruling to eject the “f**k you” misogynist and protect a female player can be overturned, how can anybody feel safe at the IPO next year?” a player asks. “Does the IPO have a toxic “boys will be boys” culture that should be avoided by female players? Will the Irish Poker Open management DO THE RIGHT THING…or do we all have to watch our back at any tournament he plays?”
There have been many requests from people in the poker community (players, media, and others) to both the Irish Poker Open and McCann, as the tournament director and promoter of the tournament. To date, all have been met with silence. There has also been no press release regarding the incident, as was indicated would be proffered. Poker News Daily attempted to contact McCann through his Twitter account, where he conducted business regarding the Irish Poker Open, and has been met with silence also.
UPDATE: The Irish Poker Open has issued a statement regarding this situation: