It is often said in the world of poker that you only have your “good name” to serve as your calling card. Your “good name” can serve to aid you in getting into a game, being vouched for by other poker players and gamblers and, in essence, to get you deeper into the world of poker. For poker professionals William Kassouf and Cate Hall, that good will from the poker community may have been diminished or even exterminated for their recent actions.
Kassouf Apologizes for Actions, Still Loses Sponsor
Last week, it was learned that Kassouf, who made his name as an enfant terrible during the 2016 World Series of Poker, had been partying with some friends at the Grosvenor United Kingdom Poker Tour (GUKPT) stop in Leeds, England. Apparently, the group got into some high stakes roulette play and, following a big win of £2800 (according to a friend who was a part of the group, Michael O’Mahoney), Kassouf allegedly “palmed” some £100 chips (picked up chips in the palm of his hand in an attempt to pilfer them) off the winning stack. Although the group settled the matter amongst themselves according to O’Mahoney, that wasn’t good enough for Kassouf’s sponsor, Grosvenor Poker. Upon learning of his actions, Kassouf was summarily banned from all Grosvenor properties in the country. In addition, Grosvenor stripped him of his poker sponsorship.
While the poker world debated the actions of Kassouf, the man himself opened up and admitted that he had done wrong. Blaming his actions on a “drunken night,” Kassouf stated that he made an “error in judgment” but that he took full responsibility for his actions (without expressly stating what he did). He also was conciliatory to Grosvenor Poker, thanking them for their partnership, and apologized to his “family, friends, fans and followers” for his behavior.
Hall, Backer Bicker over Makeup
While Kassouf was having his issues in the U. K., Hall was having her own problems in the States of America. Ever since her breakout year in 2016 – when Hall won over $410,000 and made the final table at a World Poker Tour event – Hall has been a focal point in the poker community. Over the past two years, however, Hall has come to dislike the attention, even grousing on occasion about quitting the game of poker. This is what is the basis of her current alleged situation.
In a voluminous Twitter rampage, Hall spelled out the issues that she is having with her previous backer, a fellow player named Chad Power (Power himself final tabled a WSOP event this summer). In that Tweetstorm, Hall accused Power of “extortion” for demanding that she make up the $60,000 she is allegedly in arrears. Hall, stating that she doesn’t want to quit the game of poker but just end the deal with Power, believes that she doesn’t owe any makeup if the agreement were to terminate. The disagreement between Hall and Power has degenerated to accusations of drug abuse, “strong arm” tactics of keeping a player “in the stable” and (in Power’s view) “warnings” for future people who might want to stake Hall.
“There’s Always Someone Watching…”
As Julia Roberts noted in Ocean’s 11 to Andy Garcia, “there’s always someone watching” in the case of Kassouf. Even if you are with friends, it isn’t probably a good idea to try to abscond with some of the winnings from the group. Drunk or not, it was a move that Kassouf now regrets, not only for the loss of the trusts of friendships but also for the financial loss that he has incurred with the ending of his sponsorship.
The Hall case is a bit more perplexing. Hall could have kept it quiet by not saying anything on Twitter about it – unless Power was threatening to go live with his version of the story first. In either case, it is yet another example of why major financial moves in the world of poker – whether it is a staking deal or some prize money “swap” – should have some sort of official documentation rather than just a handshake to seal the deal.
While Kassouf’s outcome has already been determined (yet it remains to be seen if he can regain the trust of those in the poker world), Hall’s situation is still up in the air. Further information will probably not be aired publicly, however.