The resurrected iNinja Poker Tour seems to have run into some problems with Allen Kessler, the notorious tournament min-casher unhappy about the rake being charged…
Congratulations to the @iNinjaPoker tour.
After a few years inactive, they returned, and managed to successfully charge the highest rake in history!
$161.50+58.50 on their event yesterday in Reno.
$170+30+20 and 5% deducted for staff.
(Photos courtesy of @HoldemMedia_Dan) pic.twitter.com/X0cH8P9sAw
— Allen Kessler (@AllenKessler) August 24, 2022
The iNinja Poker Tour, which was the subject of huge controversy back in 2017 when its founder Isaac “RunGood” Tucker was accused of using company funds as his “own personal piggy bank”, was bought over and rebranded.
However, Kessler’s tweet kicked off a Twitter spat that has been running for five days straight, with no sign of let up. The iNinja bosses weren’t too impressed with Kessler’s initial tweet, replying:
“There was clearly a problem here and we’re looking into it. Given the aggressive way you announced it, we won’t thank you for pointing it out, but we’re glad we know now and can fix it.”
Kessler, nicknamed Chainsaw and known for his nitty approach to poker and desire to get every detail right in tournament structures, was unhappy about the unique $20 resurrection chip used by iNinja.
Claiming it was basically “glorified rake” the row led to further exchanges…
The non-stop back and forth seemed to be getting nowhere, with Kessler insistent that the format was exploitable and Chris “Fox” Wallace, a WSOP bracelet winner and one of the main men behind the new version of iNinjaPoker, claimed Kessler was “just attacking my business with bullshit”.
If he criticizes tours, they eventually offer him comps and other bonuses to show up at their events and then he stops. It’s a clever game, we just don’t play it. Run Good had a best stack forward event at the same time we did and he didn’t say a word…
— iNinja Poker (@iNinjaPoker) August 28, 2022
That, however, was a tweet too far for Kessler and many others.
Kessler responded: “Wtf you think tours are so afraid of me that they are offering me bribes to stop criticism and attend their events? This is obviously completely false and I am due an apology from your company and whoever is running your Twitter.”
Fellow pro Garrett Beckmann was of the same opinion: “You should hire someone to run your Twitter account. Whoever has control is conceited, abrasive and not equipped for this responsibility.”
Ryan “Potential” Laplante also waded in on the argument, unhappy about the Wallace/iNinja response.
This is a bullshit thing to say here.
He’s correctly pointing out that your rake is high and that the best stack forward/double bag bonuses allow collusion.
Either stand by the policies, or discuss them. Saying this type of thing just looks scummy AF.
— Ryan Laplante🏳️🌈 (@Protentialmn) August 28, 2022
Wallace wasn’t backing down, though, adding that whether Kessler claimed “the resurrection format was ripe for collusion” or simply exploitable with a chip-dump wasn’t the point.
Wallace stated: “Either way you are dead wrong and attacked the event and then refused to back off even though I’m sure the math nerds you talked to told you that you were wrong. Because the point was to attack us, not to deal with a bad format.”
Whether “all publicity is good publicity” is true or not, it might not be the best tack for a poker tour to take when on the comeback trail from what was described as a “Ponzi-scheme scandal” in late 2016.
That saw a joint statement from three iNinja Team pros – Aaron Johnson, Kou Vang and Vlad Revniaga – accusing Isaac “RunGood” Tucker of “treating iNinja/company funds like his own piggy bank” and “repeated egregious breaches of contracts/agreements” among other problems.
With claims that many loans and debts were outstanding, Tucker had to publicly apologize for his mismanagement of the company, but the tour still went belly-up shortly afterwards, with Wallace one of the first to offer commiserations.
You created something amazing in a very short time. Sorry to hear that it’s over. Best of luck in the test of your endeavors.
— Chris Wallace (@foxpokerfox) July 26, 2017
Now the company is solely controlled by Next Level Poker, owned by Chris Wallace, Brian Soja, and Jordan Handrich, with the website stating, “We are grateful for the contributions Isaac Tucker made in creating the tour and his ongoing helpful advice on putting events together, but he no longer has any controlling interest in the company and this will not change.”
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