Ali Eslami, a poker professional who recently participated in the Legends of Poker hosted by the World Poker Tour, was recently the subject of a controversy.
The player had apparently arranged the blind raises and this affected play at the table. Allen Kessler, another poker professional at the table felt that this behavior was not in keeping with what was considered acceptable.
According to a report from Allen Kessler by way of his Facebook page comments,
The WPT Main Event at the Bike (condoned) Ali Eslami, Ray Henson and others at one table, who had agreed to blind raise UTG (under the gun, or first after the big blind) and UTG plus one in early levels. This creates huge stacks at one table and those players…thrive from this (to go deep in the tournament). It’s easy to see how condoning this sort of agreement can dramatically affect the outcome of a WPT Main Event.
However, as expected a strong stance as such voiced by Allen Kessler drew out equally and if perhaps more strongly worded comments from other poker players who had participated in the event. Ray Henson put in his two cents when he said, “Kessler’s story is way off, here’s what actually happened.”
He then proceeded to explain what had occurred, “Ali got moved to my table and, on his first hand, he was UTG. As Ali always does, he wanted to make his presence felt so he “blind raised” to 300 (blinds were 150/300 with a 25 ante.) The table was very tough for this event, had like six pros and three amateurs. Next orbit, Ali is UTG and decides he will “blind raise” again. This goes on for a few orbits until another player decided he would do it, then another did and another…pretty soon, the entire table was doing it almost every time.” Henson made it a point of argument to clarify that there was no ‘agreement’.
It would have been an incomplete argument until Ali Eslami stated,
When I first got broken to the table I was in the UTG position, so I immediately threw out a blind raise before I even sat down. I was just1 doing it to amuse myself…I just PLAY with the game, because ultimately it IS a game.
Although Kessler may be described as a stickler for the rules, Eslami’s attitude regarding poker as “just a game” could be construed as an indication that he does not take it seriously enough.