An Interview With Former PokerStars Pro Kanu7

An Interview With Former PokerStars Pro Kanu7 - Spin & Go Strategy

Former PokerStars Team Online member and high-stake cashgame professional Alexander “Kanu7” Millar recently sat down with SpinAndGoStrategy for a short discussion about various topics including his decision to leave PokerStars, thoughts on Daniel Negreanu, and his love of inspirational quotes.


SGS: Thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions Alex, we very much appreciate it! You recently announced over twitter that you will not be renewing your Team Online contract with PokerStars, can you tell us a little about how and why you made that decision?

Kanu7: Sure. I have been concerned with the direction of the company since Amaya took over so I was unsure about renewing my contract when it expired in late October. I asked to wait on the resolution of a couple of things before signing, including the VIP Club changes being announced. By that point I got the impression from 1 or 2 comments that they wouldn’t be popular but I didn’t realise quite how bad they would be. So when the changes came out I tried to make my points as forcibly as possible that it was completely unacceptable to have people grinding all year in pursuit of SNE, only to take away the second year benefits in November. I also didn’t agree with other parts of the changes but that’s the main thing that I think is unethical rather than just unfair or a poor decision. It became clear that I wasn’t going to get anywhere with getting anything changed so it was then just a case of waiting on Negreanu’s attempts and then leaving if he also failed.


SGS: Before making the choice to leave, did you discuss it with anyone close to you or was it more of a solitary decision process?

Kanu7: I discussed the changes with people to some extent but I knew pretty early on that it was very likely I would leave. For a few days after they announced the changes I was really angry and frustrated about it, I was trying everything I could to get somewhere with them and getting nowhere at all. Then I went off to play football one evening and I think just getting away from it and getting some exercise did me some good. After that I was pretty much settled that ok, if there’s nothing I can do then we’ll just see what Daniel can do and if this process ends with me not believing that stars are being run ethically and with respect to the players then I’ll have to leave.

SGS: The TwoPlusTwo trolls have made a number of ridiculous accusations against you in a thread praising your decision, essentially because they cant imagine a person whose moral compass is not guided by money; do you think this mindset points to a greater problem with the world we live in or trolls just gonna troll?

Kanu7: Haha, you’re always going to get that, in fairness I responded to a couple of the comments and the people who were initially skeptical were quite reasonable. Some people are just extremely cynical about everything, to the point of absurdity. Nobody in the entire world can ever do anything good in their eyes. I don’t fully understand the mindset myself but I guess the mix of their genes and experiences has got them to that point, I’m not going to judge too harshly without understanding.

SGS: What are your thoughts about the player strike organized for January 1st? Do you think it will be effective?

Kanu7: I don’t really want to talk too much about the strikes because I can’t summon up much enthusiasm about their potential success myself but I could easily be wrong and I don’t want to encourage others to not do something that they think might help based on what I say.

SGS: Being that he’s the figure-head for Pokerstars – and often poker in general – how do you feel Daniel has handled the recent happenings? Do you feel that he’s come across as genuine in his responses on 2p2 and the Joe Ingram podcast (shown below)? Have you read his quotes about the Epic Poker League scandal and do you think there’s a parallel that ought to be drawn there?

Kanu7: I’m actually going to go against the grain somewhat with Daniel and I’m not going to criticize him too harshly. His blog post at the end was really poor and a big disappointment so you can definitely say he has brought the hate on himself with that. I actually don’t think his efforts on behalf of the players were poor though so I think he has done himself a disservice with the blog. With regards him not quitting we don’t know the exact situation he is in, he has publicly criticized the decisions of the company while under contract to promote them. I don’t know the details of his contract of course but we don’t know what sort of lawsuits he could open himself up to if he left at this stage, it might not even be as simple as him staying for the money they pay him, he may be risking even more than that by leaving. I don’t know for sure of course but it’s my opinion that he has done more than most would in his situation at least. Given how much he talks about how important his integrity is and the similarities to other situations I can definitely understand why people say that’s not enough and are slating him but I have no interest in adding to the criticism, he’s getting enough already.

SGS: What are your poker plans for the immediate future? Will you still be playing online and, if so, what games or limits will you be focusing on in this new poker environment?

Kanu7: I’ll still be doing the same as I was, playing 25/50+ 6max. I don’t think the changes will affect me hugely personally unless others stop playing the games that I play. I am not a high volume player and rakeback is not a huge motivator for me. I think it’s at 5/10 and maybe 10/20 where it will hit hardest, along with the games which are super hard to beat without high rakeback.

SGS: Realistically speaking, what do you think the future holds for both regs and recs on Pokerstars? Do you have any thoughts about whether games like Spin & Gos will remain profitable in 2016?

Kanu7: It’s always hard to know what the future holds, it seems that poker has passed the boom so we will likely see a steady decline going forward but it is still pretty big for now and it will still be possible to have fun playing poker as a rec and to make a living as a reg (for less people than last year though) in 2016. I don’t know too much about the profitability of Spin n Gos sorry so I don’t want to give an answer when a lot of your readers will know better than me.

SGS: Do you have any thoughts about either the ethics or financial EV-ness of purchasing Amaya stock right now?

Kanu7: I have no problem with the ethics of buying Amaya stock. Personally I wouldn’t be buying because it seems like poker is on a downward trend and because I don’t think Amaya are making good decisions but I am certainly not qualified to give stock market advice.

SGS: Thanks again for taking the time to speak with us today, I know the entire community was eager to hear more of your thoughts on these issues. To try to end on a somewhat positive note, do you have any favorite quotes or words that have inspired you, or influenced your outlook on life or poker?

Kanu7: No problem . Hmmmm, I don’t tend to put too much stock in inspirational quotes but I guess a couple that spring to mind as being alright are “Be the change you want to see in the world” and “It’s hard to detect good luck – it looks so much like something you’ve earned.”



  • Anonomous John

    Reply Reply December 17, 2015

    I would have liked to see him make up his own inspirational quote rather than use other peoples.

    For example when referencing players being on strike:
    “I’ll be railing, when PokerStars is a failing”

    Or in reference to his leaving:
    “I decided to jump ship, because Negreanu’s a damn ****”

  • Dave

    Reply Reply December 20, 2015

    I find myself rooting for Kentucky to take PokerStars for 3/4 billion and hope every other U.S. state can do the same.

    Evolution of Pokerstars:
    PokerStars, We Are Poker (circa 2014)
    PokerStars, We Were Poker (circa 2015)
    Pokerstars, Poker…Who? (circa 2016)

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