"Narcissistic." "Obnoxious." "Sociopath."
Those are just a few of the still-printable names people have called Will Kassouf in forums and on social media.
Talk about 'getting out of line,' as people so liberally accused Kassouf of doing last summer when he became one of the breakout stars of the 2016 World Series of Poker.
But hating anonymously on people in the spotlight has become uncannily common and, sadly, there are plenty of people who have been permanently damaged from it.
Will Kassouf isn’t one of them.
Here at the 888Live festival in Rozvadov, where he lost his heads-up grudge match against Stacy Matuson but put on a (comparatively quiet) show on the Main Event live stream today, PokerListings caught up with him to see just how he deals with the onslaught.
He's got an EPT title; you don't. (Photo: Tomas Stacha)
"Haters Gonna Hate"
“It is what it is” he says. “Haters gonna hate. A lot of people are recognizing that I was treated unfairly at the WSOP and that they made rules up just for me.”
“When it comes to the internet the comments don’t really bother me that much. I don’t get involved because there’s no point arguing with these people.”
“They know they have nothing to show for themselves and that they have no results to back it up. So, I let my results do the talking. They speak for themselves and that’s it.”
"Money is Just Money"
Many players who’ve made a deep run in the WSOP main event have to defend themselves for 'being lucky' -- as if anyone had ever won a big event without luck.
Chris Moneymaker needed years until he was finally accepted by the poker community and he’s probably the best-known poker player in the world.
Kassouf needed just five months to back up his summer success, though. He won the last European Poker Tour title ever, and it was a high roller title at that.
You won't believe what they say on here.
The fact that he negotiated a deal to win the title for less money is secondary; it was a perfectly legitimate heads-up deal.
“Money is just money. To have the last-ever EPT title is massive," he says. "I think it was definitely worth it and it was a good deal on both sides.”
Turns out he's right. He came to the 888Live Rozvadov Festival on their personal invite, he got the spotlight again for his “grudge match” and he’s pretty much become a brand of his own. Not that he holds grudges, anyway.
“I hold no grudge for anybody and also not for Stacy." Kassouf says. "Things like that, I take with a pinch of salt. But no matter what happens I won’t make it easy for anybody to get my chips.”