Stacy Matuson Crushes William Kassouf in “The Grudge Match”

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In a specially staged event by 888Poker during their 888Live Poker Festival schedule at King’s Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic, 2016 World Series of Poker combatants Stacy Matuson and William Kassouf came together to continue their battle. In “The Grudge Match” broadcast over 888Poker’s Twitch stream, Matuson rather handily defeated Kassouf in the best-of-three match by the score of 2-0.

Matuson, who admitted to Poker News Daily that there was no animosity between her and Kassouf in scheduling this heads-up battle but rather just a good-natured competition, seemed to have the best of everything throughout the quick match. The cards came her way, the flops worked to her advantage and she was able to keep Kassouf off-balance for the entirety of the match with an aggression that wasn’t something she displayed last summer. But it was the changes in Kassouf that might have caught the viewers by surprise.

While he wore an LED visor that constantly scrolled “COCONUTS” (one of the catchphrases he used during the WSOP) across the lenses, that was pretty much the only thing that would lead people to believe it was the same Kassouf from last summer’s WSOP Championship Event. In the heads-up battle, Kassouf was silent for stretches of the competition and, when he did go into his “speech play,” the announcers were quick to notice the fact that – at least for this competition – he was usually folding the hand. That didn’t stop Matuson from jokingly donning a prop pair of oversized headphones during the match.

As far as the competition, there wasn’t much between the twosome. Starting off with 10,000 chips and 12-minute levels, Matuson and Kassouf would make the first game of the match a drawn out affair. Matuson was finally able to whittle Kassouf’s stack down to only three big blinds and, when he moved in with a K-2, she had every reason to call with her J-8. While the flop was fortuitous for Kassouf in keeping him in the lead, Matuson would hit runner-runner Jacks for trips to take Game 1.

Game 2 was much quicker than their first round. With pal Michael Mizrachi (her partner in a dealer’s school in Hollywood, FL) on the 888Poker broadcast, Matuson played power poker against Kassouf, who seemed to be unprepared for her aggression. After about 30 minutes, Kassouf raised with an A-7 and, after a three-bet from Matuson, thought he’d found his spot to attack. Kassouf moved all in and Matuson snapped him off, turning up pocket Jacks for the battle. Once the board ran out six-high, Matuson snatched the victory in a rather easy fashion.

After Matuson picked up $1000 and a trophy for the victory in “The Grudge Match,” both sides were gracious. Matuson stated over Facebook to her fans, “Thank you for all of you that supported me and showed so much love! Grateful!! Did it for all of you!” Kassouf admitted that heads-up wasn’t necessarily his forte and that Matuson “seemed to have gotten some coaching” since their clash back at the WSOP.

Of course, the reason for “The Grudge Match” was the tete a tete between the two during the 2016 WSOP Championship Event. Deep into the tournament – and on a ten-high board that appeared completely innocent – Kassouf and Matuson knotted up in a hand. Matuson, holding pocket Queens, was debating a big bet from Kassouf, who was engaging his “speech play” that many felt stepped over the boundaries of simple table talk. Matuson folded that hand and Kassouf showed his nine-high bluff (the birth of the “nine high like a boss” line that has become overplayed) to Matuson’s chagrin. Soon afterwards, Matuson was eliminated from the tournament when her pocket Aces were cracked, leaving her to wonder what might have been should she have called Kassouf on the hand.

For the broadcast of “The Grudge Match,” viewership on the 888Poker Twitch stream vacillated between 600 and 1000 viewers at any one moment. Whether that translates as a success or not is something that is difficult to quantify (it was morning in the States of America and the comments from the viewers in the Twitch chat room weren’t exactly printable in some cases, but they were constant and engaged) but the poker world did stop to watch. Whether anyone outside of the poker world did is debatable point.

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