When friendly banter turns to trash talk, then berating players and then, ultimately, it becomes personal attacks which resemble harassment and bullying – you have a problem and should leave the game. Poker, regardless what you think, is a gentlemen’s game and just because we tell a story in the way we play a hand to manipulate the outcome in our favour does not give anyone the right to transition that into aggression, bullying, or any type of standover tactics for that matter.

Social media has been blowing up with details of the latest “champion” from the Aussie Millions main event. His achievement has been completely (and rightly so) overshadowed by his on-camera disrespect and bullying antics toward the chip leader when play was down to three handed.

If you have been under a rock, here is a brief overview for you:

  • upon the elimination of Ullman in fourth place, Wan and Pepper were keen to talk about a “deal” for the 3.6m total prizepool that was remaining
  • Tai Hoang (from Vietnam) was chip leader on 10.5m, Pepper (NZ) was short stack with 4.2m and Wan (Aussie) held 9.8m
  • The three of them stood away from the table to discuss a deal with Wan the self-elected spokesperson

It is at this point that things went downhill when Wan (known as Wonky) made it very clear to Hoang that he won’t be getting an ICM chop for the biggest share because “you’re the worst player here” and that he (Wan) has been a “professional poker player for 20 years” and Pepper has been a professional “for ten years” and, well, “I’m better than you”.

In the end, Pepper would take $1m (+27k on ICM calculation), both Wan and Hoang would take 1.318m each … Wan +4k on ICM and Hoang -27k on ICM) … Pepper faired the best, followed by Wan and Hoang, as the worst player, got the worst deal. Naturally …

They were then just playing for the bracelet and trophy.

His antics, in this writer’s view (as well as a lot of the poker community that aren’t good friends with the newly crowned millionaire) are that he was an absolute first rate #%¥£ head … (insert your own expletive here)

If you are the best player left, and the short stack is the second best, then why are you even trying to deal?

I get it’s a five day event, and you just had a day off before the final table, and at this point you were 12 hours in – but IF you are the best … THEN you are the best, amiright?

Let’s fast forward a little to Pepper being eliminated, this was the first opportunity for Wan to redeem himself, congratulate Hoang, make peace – but no, nothing. So we are heads up and Hoang completely outplayed Wan … Wan was Hoang’s puppet for the next four hours … that was until Wan found that if he can’t outplay post flop then he will get it all in pre, no more thought required.

While the photo on the wall will never record it – that’s how it would be won – Wan All-In, massively behind both times where he was approximately a 3:1 underdog and would get there (win the hands) to claim the trophy and bracelet. It definitely didn’t resemble the self praise handed out whilst disrespecting Hoang at the deal discussions. I don’t mean to sound rude, but that was the worst I’ve ever seen someone play heads up directly after they told their opponent how good they were. 

Tai Hoang handled himself like an absolute gentleman. Much better than I am sure many of us would have handled the same interaction. If Hoang said no to the deal and “let’s play it out” then he wins that tournament. End of story. And then I get to use Wan’s self proclaimed champion status as a throw away one liner … alas, that is not to be.

Wan disrespected the game, the Aussie Millions championship and, worst of all, Australia that night. 

Every player at that final table overcame odds that the other 813 players who entered could not – they made the final table of the main event and were presented with the chance to play off for 1.85m first prize. That alone warrants a level of mutual respect, and that is what was lacking, any form of good sportsmanship and respect.

Prior to this post I have seen Wan explain himself “once and once only” effectively defending what he said with a very poor attempt at explaining his ‘why’ … he also decided to add that people are only talking negatively about it because he has beaten them on the tables, or they are dealers/supervisors that don’t like him. For the record, I have never played against the “champ” so there are no sour grapes here – I simply care about the integrity of the game and reminding people that being a good human is still something we should be looking to do in this world. 

There is a school of thought that we, as viewers, shouldn’t have seen the “deal making”, that still doesn’t make it right. 

In closing, I hope Wan has learnt a valuable lesson, and I hope Hoang doesn’t hold this against ever coming here again. To all the Wan … ker supporters out there, stop enabling him – you are no better if you don’t tell him it’s not ok.

Rule number one – don’t be a dickhead.

Let’s see how this unfolds, because, at the moment, he is the most uncelebrated champion to date. 

But don’t take my word for it, see the clip below and make your own mind up.

The Prince 

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