There was some unusual chatter on the rail as Scott Ball won a bracelet in event #25, the $5,000 buy-in 6max no-limit hold’em event that saw a tough field and an even tougher final table. Ball defeated Galen Hall, who previously won the Crazy Eights event for $888,888 in 2019 and has over five million dollars in lifetime tournament winnings.
Bracelet wins are usually a cause for celebration, and there was certainly some of that when Ball won, with a dozen or so supporters cheering and hugging the newly crowned champ. But not everyone was cheering.
A bit of history on Scott Ball
Scott Ball was the creator of Twitch Poker. He was working for Razer, the company that makes gaming keyboards and in fact made the keyboard used to write this article, when he attended an ESports exhibition in 2014 and met members of the management team at the streaming platform Twitch. He convinced them to add a poker tab to the platform, and Twitch Poker was born.
Twitch Poker was so successful that Ball won the award for Poker Innovation Of The Year at the American Poker Awards. Pros like Jason Somerville and Jaime Staples were drawing big numbers of viewers to their streams, and poker became big business on twitch.
After leaving his position as the head of poker on twitch in 2018, Ball started End Game Talent, a company that promises to “connect content creators, brands, publishers and game developers together through creative and strategic media campaigns with measurable results.”
Matusow on the attack
Soon after, Mike Matusow attacked Ball on his podcast, claiming that he was a poker cheat and that he had lied to Hellmuth to drive Matusow out of a private online game, colluded to win hundreds of thousands in the game, and taken more than a million of Hellmuth’s money to start End Game Talent, only to squander it gambling.
Others, including Doug Polk and Parker Talbot came out to offer their opinions on Ball, and very few were positive. It seemed the hero who had been winning awards and was the toast of the town just a few years ago was now a pariah.
Ball is still listed as the President of End Game Talent on his LinkedIn profile. The site appears to be active, though no current partners appear to be using their services.
First major win
The win was worth $562,667, which was by far Ball’s largest win ever. His lifetime tournament winnings were just over $100,000 before the bracelet. His largest win was a second place finish in an online WSOP circuit event, worth less than $30,000.
The rail and some of the pros gathered to watch another heads up match — Anthony Zinno’s win in the $1,500 HORSE event — were not pleased to see Ball win. While none of these pros would go on record, and Hellmuth himself has never spoken on the matter, there were a number of world class players who appeared to believe the things Matusow said on his podcast about Ball’s lack of character.
His supporters didn’t seem bothered by the grumbling, or perhaps they just didn’t notice it as there was much hugging and cheering from the stands when the final card fell and Galen Hall was eliminated. The two hugged, and Ball appeared to have tears in his eyes as his friends shouted “Let’s Go!” and pumped their fists in the air.
Hellmuth has always played his cards close to the vest when it comes to his gambling and business dealings outside of tournament poker, so it seems unlikely that we will hear from him on this issue anytime soon. We may never know exactly what happened with Ball and Hellmuth. Tonight though, Ball will be celebrating with friends as a newly minted World Series Of Poker Champ