With every World Series of Poker, and the WSOP Main Event, in particular, there comes controversy. Of course, this year the big to do was about COVID-19 safety requirements. Last year, controversy surrounded the surprise online/live hybrid Main Event after there had already been what people thought was a Main Event on GGPoker. But those are effectively “non-poker” controversies that have to do with the tournament’s organization, not what happens on the table. Other than Phil Hellmuth’s annual crying session, we had largely avoided significant poker debates. And while this isn’t “significant,” we did finally get a minor controversy during the Main Event over the weekend when Chance Kornuth made a chip move that many think was a shady “angle shoot.”

We are embedding the video, but here’s the quick rundown in case you can’t view it. Kornuth had pocket Jacks on a rainbow 6-7-2-7 board, deciding what to do about a 710,000 chip bet from Kyle Arora. There was 1.915 million in the pot and Arora only had 735,000 left after his bet. Kornuth knew that there was a high probability that Arora was committed at that point, but naturally, he wanted to think about his move.

He tanked for about half a minute before grabbing a couple stacks of chips with both hands and sliding them…to the right. He then stopped, took his hands of the chips, and thought a while longer.

To those watching casually, it may have been something they didn’t even notice. But many poker players – like Chris Brewer above – had a problem with what Kornuth did. The motion Kornuth made, that is, double-fisting stacks of chips and sliding them away from his main stack, is something that people almost always reserve for when they are actually betting. What Brewer and other argue is that Kornuth deliberately did this to try to get a reaction from his opponent, to see if Arora would flinch in any way, thinking Kornuth was putting those chips into the pot.

It wasn’t against the rules. Kornuth did not announce a bet, nor did he move the chips forward. He can play with his chips all he wants. But many saw it as a form of angle shooting, doing something that is allowable, but against the spirit of the game, or even unethical.

Plenty of others have no problem with what he did. Again, it is not against the rules at all. So as long as it is fair play, then it is, well, fair play. Some not only have no problem with the action, but applaud Kornuth for it, as they do think it was intentional, but at the same time entertaining. For this group, things like that make live poker more interesting and more fun that online poker.

What say you? Was Kornuth angling there? Was he not? Either way, is it cool? Or are in the camp of “who cares, he moved his chips an inch to right, let’s focus on ending world hunger, thanks?”

Image credit: PokerGO.com

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