Poker and Social Media: The Perfect Alliance

In this article I’m going to take a look at the way the poker world has embraced Social Media Outlets like Facebook and Twitter. I’ll be going over everything from which poker players and contributors uses these outlets, why they use them, and what the future might hold for poker players and Social Media.

How Poker and Social Media Came Together

Is it any wonder why so many poker players have taken to Facebook and Twitter? Living in fast-paced industry where your fortunes can change on the turn of a card, and with little media coverage of actual events, poker players have taken to being their own PR machines, turning out information via Social Media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Before Twitter, tournament reports were reported 15 or 20 minutes after the hand, usually by someone with second or third-hand knowledge of how the hand went down after rushing over to the table when the dealer announces “All-in” and then trying to recreate the action, chip-counts, and cards. Now, most poker players handle this duty via their Twitter accounts: Their fans are treated to immediate updates through the players’ eyes, and the particulars are usually far more accurate.

Twitter and Facebook also allow poker players to Tweet their upcoming tournament schedules, plug projects they are working on and sponsors they are working with, as well as highlight their personalities to their fans. With Twitter we learn about prop bets in real-time, as well as the comical exchanges that often occur at a poker table.

Who Uses these Outlets?

The more ambitious Twitter and Facebook users have parlayed these Social Media outlets into their own corporations, with players like Jean-Robert Bellande taking his @BrokeLivingJRB Twitter account to a whole new level of self-cynicism, and even Doyle Brunson has embraced the Social Media phenomenon, despite being well into his 70’s!

Twitter and Facebook have also allowed poker gossip (which is typically 99% accurate) to make the rounds far more quickly, letting people outside of the 2+2 sphere learn about what is taking place in the industry –Imagine how slowly people would have learned about Black Friday had it not been for Twitter and Facebook!

Perhaps even more than the players, those of us in poker media have embraced the Social Media sites with even wider arms. Twitter and Facebook has allowed poker writers and poker news outlets the capability to market directly to the masses, and the better your content and product the farther it will go on Twitter and Facebook –poker media is now judged on “likes”, the number of “lists” you appear on, and “retweets”. And of course WHO follows you – basically the whole thing is a popularity contest!

So who are the bigwigs when it comes to poker and social media? There are actually quite a few, and the list is as diverse as the typical poker table; everyone from the Daniel Negreanu’s, Phil Hellmuth’s, and Jean-Robert Bellande’s of the world are active in Social Media, as are younger players like Shaun Deeb and Jeff Madsen, not to mention the unlikely list of prolific Tweeters like Norman Chad, Allen Kessler, and Kathy Liebert.

Here is a list of some of the Top Poker Tweeters on the Internet:

  • @joesebok (Joe Sebok) – Sebok is one of the first Twitter users and has over 1,000,000 followers thanks to being a “recommended follow” for the early days of Twitter! By far the most followed poker player.
  • @SavagePoker (Matt Savage) – Tournament director extraordinaire Matt Savage is a constant user of Twitter, providing players with information and answering questions through his Twitter account.
  • @texdolly (Doyle Brunson) – If Dolly tweets it, you should know it!
  • @MagicAntonio (Antonio Esfandiari) – Esfandiari is one of the most popular people in poker and the reason becomes obvious when you follow Antonio on Twitter.
  • @BrokeLivingJRB (Jean-Robert Bellande) – One of the best Tweeters on the planet, JRB provides his fans with a never-ending barrage of bad beats and bad luck stories, as well as pictures of him with hot women… kind of hypocritical no?
  • @AllenKessler (Allen Kessler) – The Chainsaw will keep you abreast of any deals available, and also a litany of complaints against poker rooms and tournaments.
  • @KevMath (Kevin Mathers) – one of the best poker writers in the business
  • @Compncards (James Guill) – another great poker writer and avid retweeter; if it’s important you can bet Compncards is retweeting it.
  • @liv_boeree (Liv Boeree) – Boeree is a major player on the European poker scene, who travels around with a contingent of young poker pros.
  • @RealKidPoker (Daniel Negreanu) – One of the top poker players in the world and one of the most controversial and opinionated as well.
  • @phil_hellmuth (Phil Hellmuth) – Hellmuth could very well be the biggest name-dropper on Twitter, but he also keeps his fans up to date on where he is and what he is doing in the poker world.
  • @JasonMercier (Jason Mercier) – Mercier is one of the top young players in the game.
  • @philivey (Phil Ivey) – Ivey doesn’t Tweet all that much, but when he does it’s usually important.
  • @PokerKat (Kathy Liebert) – Liebert is a controversial and avid Twitter user –surprising given her personality and reputation in the poker world.
  • @TheMicros (The Micros) – follow the latest updates of everyone’s favorite animated poker series.
  • @RealCrazyMike (Mike Thorpe) – when your nickname is Crazy Mike and you have to differentiate yourself from “Crazier Mike” you know you lead a pretty interesting life.
  • @ReynoldsXO (William Reynolds) – the free spirited poker pro is a grat poker player to follow.
  • @MelanieWeisner (Melanie Weisner) – An up and coming poker pro, Weisner not only plays poker but leads a pretty interesting life.
  • @tom_dwan (Tom Dwan) – WHO wouldn’t follow durrrr!
  • @badams78 (Brandon Adams) – Adams is a very interesting cat in the poker world.
  • @themouthmatusow (Mike Matusow) – You never know what will come out of Matusow’s mouth or from his Twitter feed.
  • @realphillaak (Phil Laak) – Much like durrrr, what poker player in their right mind wouldn’t follow Phil Laak’s Twitter account.
  • @MattStoutPoker (Matt Stout) – Allin@420 is an avid user of Social Media and one of the better Tweeters around.
  • @barrygreenstein (Barry Greenstein) – Greenstein is a pretty solid Twitter user, providing insights and opinions on many different issues in the poker world.
  • @philgalfond (Phil Galfond) – Perhaps the best tweet of 2011 was Galfond’s, “Want to buy a slide” tweet after Black Friday.
  • @AnnieDuke (Annie Duke) – With her involvement with the Epic Poker League, Duke is even more active on Social Media.
  • @Erik_Seidel (Erik Seidel) – Seidel is one of the wittiest poker players on Twitter, but don’t expect too much tournament talk from the Poker Hall of Famer.
  • @junglemandan (Daniel Cates) – one of the game’s top young talents, Cates is not an avid user of social media, but still worth following.

The Future of Poker and Social Media

As I stated at the beginning of this article, poker and Social Media seem to be a perfect pairing: Poker is an often boring and overlooked (from a media standpoint) endeavor, so Social Media allows the players to do the reporting (some much better than others) and give poker fans the important details of what is taking place at the tables.

Poker players are also social contrarians, so any new technology or outlet is likely to be quickly embraced by the poker community, judged on its merits, and then either adopted as the next big thing or utterly discarded. For this reason, wherever the Social Media industry heads, you can bet that poker players will be at the forefront of it.

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