Runner-Runner: William Kassouf Accused of Intentionally Shorting Pots at the Irish Open

  • Players allege that William Kassouf tried to get credit for a bet without putting money in the pot
  • He also allegedly bolted from a cash game with his chips after losing an all-in
  • Kassouf has a history of scandal and infuriating table talk
  • David Lappin witnessed Kassouf “go south” twice at the 2022 Irish Open
William Kassouf
Poker player William Kassouf (pictured) has once again been accused of unethical angle shooting, this time at the Irish Open. [Image:]


This week, on the final day of the Paddy Power Poker and PokerStars-sponsored Irish Poker Open in Dublin’s RDS, a player sat down at a Pot-Limit Omaha cash game without chips. He announced that he was playing a stack of €300 ($328) and he proceeded to call a bet and then a raise of €30 ($33). The flop was dealt and then the player placed three €100 ($109) chips onto the table. 

it was a performance worthy of a Razzy 

The player then called a flop bet, but didn’t throw in the promised pre-flop bet of €30 along with it. This was pointed out to him on the turn and he exclaimed: “Oh, how much do I owe?” It was a performance worthy of a Razzy and it earned a chorus of groans and head shakes from the other players. He wasn’t fooling any of his tablemates. They had seen his carry-on all too many times before. 

That wouldn’t be the player’s only angle of the night. Several hours later, poker professional Leo Worthington Leese took to Instagram to tell a far worse story about far worse behavior. 


Last year, I wrote an article titled “The Problem with Poker’s William Kassouf.” In it, I expressed my opinion that, given his history of dishonesty and theft, poker operators ought to take steps to ban him from their poker rooms. Players should feel safe when they play and a person with a history of larceny shouldn’t be welcome.  

Well at this year’s Irish Open, Kassouf was allegedly up to his old tricks again. According to Leese’s now viral Instagram video, he was short-stacking a PLO game, lost a pot, reloaded and then lost another. Leese said that while the amount owed was being calculated, Kassouf picked up his chips and sprinted away from the table:

This account was corroborated by Keith Littlewood, who said he was one of the players shorted in the pot: 

Gone without a trace 

VegasSlotsOnline News reached out to Littlewood, who explained how the hand went down in detail: 

“None of the stacks were counted or brought in the middle. Kassouf asked the dealer to just leave it and sort it after the river. He had top set AA with no re-draws versus my straight with heart flush re-draw. Seat 4 had straight with diamond flush re-draw.”

At this point, Kassouf pleaded to both players to run it twice, but neither player agreed. Then he asked if two rivers could be dealt and both players begrudgingly acquiesced. The first river card was a diamond and the second river was a brick. 

He had disappeared without trace.”

Littlewood described the following action which ensued: 

“The dealer counted seat 4’s stack and gave him the €725 from mine (a quarter of the pot). Then the dealer went to calculate the main pot as just the pre-flop chips were in the middle… Kassouf’s stack had disappeared and so had Kassouf.  Everyone was saying ‘where is Will’s stack?’… The dealer called the floor who then got the security guards to go and find him. He had disappeared without a trace.”

Littlewood added the following caveat:

“I did not see Kassouf pick up the chips and leave nor did anyone else – they both just vanished. I am not saying he picked them up and left, the only facts are that his stack disappeared and so did he!”


Kassouf has been embroiled in scandal throughout his poker career. His antics and “speech-play” at the table are generally unpopular, but only occasionally meet the definition of angle-shooting. 

Kassouf ultimately got his comeuppance on the big stage of the WSOP Main Event in 2016. After a deep run during which he was constantly entangled in debate and argument with floor staff over the permissible limits of his speech-play and tanking, he was told to “check his privilege” by Griffin Benger before a memorable Kings into Aces collision with 17 players left:

In September 2018, Kassouf made a public statement about the events surrounding his expulsion from the Grosvenor Casino in Leeds. He had stolen a £100 ($124) chip off the roulette stack of his friend Ryan Mandara using a sleight of hand maneuver known as “palming.” 

In the statement, Kassouf said that he was drunk and that he made an error of judgement which he greatly regretted and as a result, he and Grosvenor, his then sponsor, had mutually agreed to part ways. It was a pathetically inadequate statement which lacked remorse and offered no clarification or even a proper admission of what he had done. 

Going south

Suffice to say, many players have been watching Kassouf like a hawk but, short of catching somebody red-handed, it’s a very murky situation to accuse them of theft as to do so puts your own reputation on the line. 

Nonetheless, I am willing to go on record with the following story, from the 2022 Irish Open:

On two occasions during Day 1, I saw Kassouf “go south” with chips. It initially made no sense to me why someone would pocket their own tournament chips, but I later realized that he had bagged up a stack from a prior Day 1 flight. Seeing this in no small way contributed to my willingness to speak about my distrust of him in an interview with Laura Cornelius: 

For the record, I also brought my concerns to tournament staff, who pledged to watch him closely on Day 2. Whether they did or not I cannot say, but he did spin up the stack that I predicted to them he would during the first hour of play. 

Written all over his face

A few hours before Kassouf allegedly scurried from Dublin’s RDS on Monday night, poker legend Barny Boatman witnessed him attempt the angle I described at the outset:

VSO News reached out to Boatman who added more detail:

“He made a very unsubtle attempt to short the pot. I waited long enough to be certain he was never gonna put the money in, although it was written all over his face that he didn’t intend to. When I called it out, he did, as you might expect from him, a very bad acting job, pretending he had forgotten and didn’t know how much he owed.”

my very strong conviction that it was a deliberate stroke”

Boatman added: “Obviously I am not a mind reader. but I am telling you what I saw, and my very strong conviction that it was a deliberate stroke.”

This move by Kassouf has just enough plausible deniability baked into the cake that, on its own, like much of his behavior, it would be hard to call out. However, given what allegedly followed several hours later, it seems like fine context as it speaks to the potentially kleptomaniacal frame of mind of the man in question. 

Kleptomaniac or gambling addict? 

Kleptomania is a recurrent failure to resist the urge to steal, usually items of little to no value that are easily affordable. People with kleptomania feel a strong urge to steal, experiencing arousal leading up to the theft and then pleasure and relief during the act. Kassouf has won a lot of money from poker and brags about his lavish lifestyle, so it would certainly seem like both the money he has stolen in the past and the alleged money he has stolen this time would be of little value to him. However, another possibility for what would be downright bizarre behavior was offered by Max Silver:

VSO News reached out to Irish Open organizer JP McCann who said that his investigation had thus far led him to two players, one who was at the same table and one who was at an adjacent table. Poker player Nikolay Ponomarev told McCann that Kassouf came up to him after the hand to arrange the next day’s travel plans, while Alex Zeligman told him that Kassouf had spoken to him before he left the building. 

The accounts of Ponomarev and Zeligman would appear to contradict those of Leese and Littlewood, so hopefully there is camera footage which can clear things up. PokerStars has taken action against cheaters in the recent past, so one would assume they would not shirk away from issuing a ban should the allegations prove to be true. 

Kassouf was last seen in Dublin airport today, issuing a vehement denial of wrongdoing when probed about the scurrilous behavior. 

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