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Daily 3-Bet: Bax to the Future, Silence of Kassouf, The Long Goodbye
The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a sad face at a window, a half-hearted wave and a tear down the cheek as the afternoon poker news train pulls out of the station.
Got a tip for a future 3-Bet? Drop us a note about it in the comments.
Today in the 3-Bet we pay tribute to an influential figure in the progression of poker, hear the sound of poker silence and say goodbye to the WSOP for another year.
1) JohnnyBax: Poker Forefather
There's a decidedly old school online poker vibe to the 2016 November Nine this year with quite a few players who made their poker bones in the early days of the online revolution.
Gordon Vayo was a hero before he was even of age playing on PokerStars as holla@yoboy. Jerry Wong, Vojtech Ruzicka ... both guys who made their reps battling in the biggest events online over the years.
Griffin Benger was the #1 ranked player online for a time and, given his Counter Strike background, certainly reflects a different type of poker backstory than the old school poker heroes of yesteryear.
It's fitting, then, that one of the true online poker forefathers is leading them all.
As we mentioned in his Nov. 9 bio, Cliff "JohnnyBax" Josephy was one of the first true online poker superstars and held the #1 ranking on PocketFives for most of 2005/2006.
Beyond his own success he, along with Eric "Sheets" Haber, was instrumental in backing a whole new generation of online stars who came of age over the past decade and made their marks in poker.
Winner of the 2009 WSOP Main Event Joe Cada is just one example but there are dozens more. And all are pulling for Josephy to pull off the ultimate run in poker's signature event.
With 74,500,000 in chips, the odds are certainly in his favor, too. If he wins the $8 million, we might just see the birth of a whole new generation of players Josephy can afford to put in the game.
2) Anatomy of a Chatterbox
The may not have been a more polarizing character in this year's Main Event than Uk solicitor and "speech play" aficionado William Kassouf.
He's been on poker's radar a few times before after a couple of notable turns on the EPT live stream, but when ESPN begins airing this year's ME coverage on Sept. 11 we expect we'll see it reach a whole new level of notoriety.
His one-round penalty for taunting Stacey Matuson is already a much-discussed moment but his signature hand will likely be the massive KK vs AA cooler that resulted in his demise in 17th.
Based on all of the tableside reports the banter between Kassouf and Griffin Benger was spectacular and we expect the inside look via the ESPN cameras will make it one talked about for years.
At least one prominent poker media member thinks so, anyway:
The Griffin Benger v William Kassouf hand will be the hand of the tournament.— Kevin Mathers (@Kevmath) July 19, 2016
Given it's timing deep in the tournament it won't air until well into October but if you'd like a sneak preview of how it went down there's a good one here in the PokerStars blog.
3) Gone 'Til November October
With the setting of the 2016 November Nine we've now, of course, entered the annual cooldown period for most things poker.
After a long seven-week grind it's a time for much needed mental and physical repose and most players will take full advantage.
There was expected to be a WSOP Asia-Pacific this year but, according to the WSOP, that's not going to happen so there will be a 3.5-month void until the WSOP brand will be back on center stage.
EPT Barcelona, of course, returns in August so there's not too much downtime but every year when the poker carnival is packed up and put away for another year it's a good time to reflect on just how far poker has come and how to continue building it in the years ahead.
Many thanks to everyone at the WSOP for their efforts in putting on another great show and to all the players who lived out their poker dreams and made some more fantastic memories for us to share. We hope the wait until next year isn't too painful.