2019 WSOP Main Event: Man Reveals the Nuts, Gets Disqualified
The poker world gets excited about the World Series of Poker Main Event because of the prestige of winning (or even making the final table) and the gobs of money involved. This much is obvious. But part of the excitement, even for seasoned pros, is the pure spectacle of the thing. On Day 1C, in particular, the Rio is packed with thousands of poker players* of widely varying skill levels, all hoping that the poker gods will be smiling upon them. And every year, there are characters who show up wearing costumes or acting a bit… ”loudly” in order to garner attention. This sort of thing happened more at the peak of the poker boom when some players thought they could become celebrities by attracting the ESPN cameras, but it still happens today. It is unusual, though, that we see someone act as crudely as did one Ken Strauss on Friday during Day 1C.
Some People Cope with Stress Differently
The incident occurred during the very first level of play, within the first two hours of the cards being in the air. At Table 317 in the Yellow section of the Pavilion room, Strauss, what one would call a Pittsburgh sports “super fan” (his Twitter feed is almost exclusively filled with pictures of him at sporting events or sports-related activities, almost always dressed in some sort of Pittsburgh gear) decided it would be entertaining to go all-in blind. That is, to shove without even looking at his hole cards.
Now, people do occasionally do this, but it is almost always when they are so low on chips that everybody at the table knows that they have to move all in. So might as well do it blind, right?
But Strauss, while not sitting on a large stack, had plenty of chips with which to work, especially considering how small the blinds were at that point. Thus, there was no need for him to go all in blind.
But put all of his chips into the pot he did and on top of that, he turned over his cards – revealing Q-3 – while other players were still waiting to act. This is a big no-no and would normally incur a penalty, but there was no need for that in this case.
After turning over his cards, Strauss stepped away from the table, waited a few seconds, and then announced, “I’m all in blind! Look, I’m blind, everybody!”
And with that, Strauss shielded his eyes, turned his back to the table, and pulled down his shorts, exposing his ass – literally and figuratively – to his opponents. As a bonus, the table next to his had the treat of seeing his twig and berries. With his pants down, his Josh Bell Pittsburgh Pirates shirsey was just long enough so as not to give everyone a 100 percent view of his nether region, but what people saw was quite enough.
Strauss once again tried to get the surrounding tables’ attention by saying he was all in blind and then pulled up his shorts, giving a meek, chuckling apology as he did so. Nobody seemed amused.
But Strauss wasn’t done there. After pausing a moment to seemingly assure someone standing next to him that he was okay, he removed his left shoe and sock and then took off his right shoe and lobbed it onto the poker table. The shoe hit the chip tray, bounced over the dealer’s left arm, and lightly glanced off of the player in Seat 1, who was trying to make a decision on whether or not to call with two black fives.
That player did end up calling, knowing he had the better of Q-3, but got unlucky and lost the hand.
For his antics, Strauss was thankfully disqualified from the WSOP Main Event and reportedly splashed his chips all over the table on his way out.
It is unclear why the man acted the way he did. In one of the videos posted on Twitter, it sounds like he mutters “I’m drunk” at one point, but it is unclear. Plus, even if he did say that, he could have just been making it up as an excuse. It is entirely possible that he was just trying to get attention, that he thought he could get his 15 minutes and maybe some sort of odd fan following by being an asshole. I can’t say I would ever want to throw away $10,000 by getting myself disqualified from the Main Event, but I’m also not a shithead.
Fortunately, it is the year 2019 and people have smartphones, and therefore recording devices, available at all times. Here is one angle of the incident, post-flashing, posted by Ian Chan on Twitter:
Just happened at the WSOP Main Event. (Drunk?) dude all in blind preflop (full stack) level one. Tables his hand early. Takes shoe off and throws it at a dealer / player in the tank.
Who throws a shoe?
(Hilarious, but not great for the game…)
— Ian Chan (@chanian) July 5, 2019
If you have numb eyes and an iron stomach, here is a NSFW video of the entire episode, complete with nudity. I’ve warned you. This one posted by Scott Davies, video taken by Dean Blatt.
— Scott Davies (@sdaviespoker) July 5, 2019
But Wait, There’s More!
There’s a postscript to this story, too. After being ejected from the Main Event, Strauss headed down the Strip to the Luxor, where he created another scene. There, he jumped onto a craps table – it looked unoccupied, based on the video – and proceeded to stomp around and attempt to lead the surrounding gamblers in chants of “Yes!” and “No!”
As one might expect, given his antics at the Main Event, he once again dropped trou, this time keeping his shirt rolled up to his chest so as to allow onlookers to get an even better look at his second face and baby gherkin. After a short time, security and police came over, dragged him off the table, and placed him under arrest.
And yes, there is video of this, too. Again, NSFW. Thanks to Jeremy Brown for scarring us for life.
— Jeremy Brown (@JGBrown22) July 6, 2019
Poker is fun, isn’t it?
*Day 1C set a record for the largest starting flight in Main Event history with 4,879 entries.