Tekintamgac Creates Controversy At WPT Championship

Day 3 of the World Poker Tour Championship kicks off this afternoon, but in Las Vegas and all over the Internet many poker fans are still talking about one of yesterday’s most controversial entries. While everyone in the industry was excited to note that the 2011 WPT Championship collected a total of 220 entries at the end of registration on Sunday – an increase of 25 players over last year’s field – one of those entries was not feeling particularly welcome.

Ali Tekintamgac is already a WPT Champion, having won the WPT Spanish Championship last year. In just one year of live tournament play, Tekintamgac has cashed four times in EPT, WPT and PPT events including one win and one final table. It’s a record that should earn the fledgling pro a little respect from fans and fellow players alike, and yet Tekintamgac is currently one of the least liked players in poker.

In fact, reigning PPT Champion Vanessa Selbst directly confronted WPT Tournament Director Matt Savage on Twitter, demanding to know why Tekintamgac’s entry had been accepted. Thus far her outraged inquiry has gone unanswered. Selbst isn’t the only pro pitching a fit, either. Daniel Negreanu confronted Tekintamgac across the table at the start of Championship action. He was warned by floor security, but that didn’t stop him from also taking to Twitter to voice his outrage.

Why is everybody hating on Tekintamgac? It’s not because they are worried he is going to steal their chips. It’s because they are worried he is going to cheat. When Tekintamgac made it to the final table of the PPT Main Event last year but failed to take his seat when the final day of action started, the rumors were flying. Though tournament organizers admitted that Tekintamgac had been disqualified because of cheating allegations, he still received the 9th place payout.

The Partouche Poker Tour Main Event wasn’t the first time the pro was accused of cheating, either. His previous WPT Spanish Championship has been questioned, leaving many to wonder why the WPT is giving him a second chance. If Negreanu’s Twitter is to be believed, Tekintamgac also has a bit of a temper and has been fighting fire with fire when it comes to trash talk at this year’s WPT Championship.

Some more popular players that have already hit the rail at this year’s WPT Poker Championship include: Justin Bonomo, Kathy Liebert, Mike Matusow, Scotty Nguyen, Vivek Rajkumar and Vanessa Rousso. Though Tekintamgac was still in the running as of the writing of this article, it’s safe to say he’s playing with a target on his back, and thus far he’s hardly been a player worth watching anyway. The big guns at the end of Day 2 were Abe Mosseri and Alan Sternberg, both of whom were able to surpass the 600,000 chip mark. Close behind with over half a million chips were Steven Kelly and Roger Teska. Barry Greenstein, Phil Galfond, Bertrand Grospellier and Daniel Negreanu were also faring well going into Day 3.

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