Like it or not, Twitter is taking over the world. And events like the World Series of Poker are adding to the fury.
Think about it: Other than actually being in Las Vegas, is there a better way to follow all of the WSOP action than by watching your favorite players "tweet" about what's going down at the tables? With apologies to those hard-working runners that stalk around the Rio for 15 hours a day covering chip counts and hand details for the WSOP's Internet coverage, I'd much rather hear it directly from the source – especially if the source is someone like Phil Hellmuth or Daniel Negreanu.
So if you're a true poker fan and haven't jumped on the Twitter express, what are you waiting for? Do yourself a favor and create a Twitter account. Sign up to follow a mass group of different players and then sit back and enjoy the updates.
Now be warned that not all poker players make great "twitterers." Some "tweet" too much and a lot of the time have nothing to say. Some are entertaining but don't update their status enough. While others simply can't be bothered and have some else do the dirty work for them. For instance, Phil Ivey's account is updated by "Team Ivey" and Scotty Nguyen has his wife "tweet" for him.
So as a public service, we followed as many poker-related Twitter accounts as we could handle during the first few weeks of the WSOP. We watched them closely, monitored both their frequency and entertainment value and then came up with 10 Twitter accounts that every poker diehard should have on his or her "following list."
10. World Series of Poker -- @WSOP
This is the perfect way to get started. This account does a decent job of updating the action and plays the role as "Nerve Center" for your page. You can see what the big news of the day or the moment is by following it and that allows you to figure out if there's an event or player you should be keyed in on.
9. Eric Seidel -- @Erik_Seidel
This eight-time bracelet winner is a great read for a couple of reasons. First of all, he plays in a ton of events and he's constantly "tweeting" about his play and those around him so you're going to get plenty of action. Secondly, his "tweets" are insightful and he's not afraid to go off the beaten path and talk about everything from the kind of music he's using to motivate himself to what fans on the rail are saying to him to his thoughts on other sports. As of Monday morning he had "only" 934 followers, which is comparatively low compared to other big-name players, so there are still some fans out there missing the boat here.
8. Barry Greenstein -- @barrygreenstein
Greenstein and Seidel are very much the same. They have had similar success on the felt and they are both true students of the game. So, in turn, their "tweets" carry a great deal of credibility. But for some reason Greenstein has nearly 6,000 followers, dwarfing the number of Seidel's. Greenstein provides great color on how he is playing. He also talks a lot about his numerous "side bets" with other players (He announced before the WSOP started that "My biggest side bet is Jeff Lisandro and me against Erick Lindgren and Daniel Negreanu. Most WSOP POY points") and how he is faring with his Chinese poker matches during breaks in the action ("Big chinese win during the break capped off by 888-QQQJJ-6s5s4s3s2s. 11 points vs. three players"). He's also likely the only person on this list has used the word "odiferous" in a "tweet" as in "Odiferous player just made someone lay down kings preflop. Michael Martin has given up hope of a quick bustout." Go ahead, Google or thesaurus it.
7. Howard Lederer –- @howardhlederer
Yet another analytical and insightful student of the game. The Professor doesn't update his status as much as some players, but when he does he usually has something to say. And it's fun to see his exchanges with sister Annie Duke. Lederer also isn't afraid to post a picture now and again, which is always fun. We loved his "tweet" from last week after he got bounced from an event: "@philivey moved to my right. He raised about 70% of the hands. I tangled with him a couple of times. Didn't like it. I'm out."
6. Gavin Smith -- @ oleGSmith
Smith is one of those players you follow simply because you never know what you're going to get. Smith is infrequent with his updates, but there's always a chance he's going to start "tweeting" while he's out having a good time, and those are the ones you don't want to miss. Take for instance these two updates that came in last week at almost 4 a.m. Vegas time. "Just made a shirt bet with douchebag tommy jolly , if kenna loses I leave bare chested!" One minute later: "Fuck!!! I am leaving bare chested!" No, you don't want to be reading Gavin's "tweets" out loud when your mother is within ear shot, but they are entertaining nonetheless.
5. Lacey Jones -- @LaceyJones
OK, we admit it. Lacey has as much or even more non-poker stuff on her page as she does actual poker, but we're allowed to have some fun with this. Jones – who is at the top of any "Poker Babe" List – is a player, TV personality and former model. She takes you through her day no matter it may entail. She could be playing in a tournament. She could be at a night club. Last week she was at a photo shoot for a couple of days and frequently posted pictures, including one where she and her "colleagues" jumped into a hot tub following a hard day of work. Now you can see why Doyle Brunson announced last week that he was going to start "ignoring" Jones' "tweets" because they were too distracting.
4. Jeffrey Pollack -- @JeffreyPollack
You've got to hand it to the WSOP Commish. He was ahead of the curve on the whole Twitter concept and he knows full well the WSOP can use Twitter to its advantage. So he has embraced it and it appears that he makes his Twitter updates a priority rather than treating them as a chore. Pollack updates his status often, but he doesn't waste your time; he usually has something of significance to say. Not only does he keep you updated on what's going on in the different events, but he also takes you inside the Rio and gives you a feeling as to what the vibe is throughout the day. He clues you in on different items like who is saying the customary "Shuffle Up and Deal" each day or what time they will be holding bracelet ceremonies. He also offers a nice personal touch to his "tweets," such as informing you where he's going to dinner or what media interview he is heading to. And you can tell he's sincere about what he says as seen by his "tweet" at the start of the Champions Invitational last week when he relayed that he as "completely in awe of the WSOP Champions gathered here" and that introducing the "Mount Rushmore of Poker" was "truly the highlight of his four years with the WSOP." This is a man who loves his job and it comes shining through with each "tweet."
3. Phil Hellmuth -- @phil_hellmuth
In typical egotistical Phil fashion, Hellmuth is being followed by more than 12,000 people, but is following just one –- UltimateBet.com. And he's probably only doing that because he has to. But also in typical Phil fashion, the man can entertain, even on Twitter. He'll give you chip updates, he'll offer his opinion about WSOP rules and regulations, he'll tell you what he's doing in his down time and, of course, he'll seethe about other players at his table. Is there really a day in the near future where instead of watching Phil berate a fellow player vocally on ESPN we'll see him walk away banging away on his Blackberry keyboard with a Twitter rant?
2. Daniel Negreanu -- @RealKidPoker
We all know that Negreanu loves to talk. Believe it or not he loves to Twitter just as much. Kid Poker wears his heart on his sleeve while Twittering, just as he does in person. He'll fume when he suffers a bad beat ("Just took a ridiculous beat. Aces up in 4 against KQ98.. 6... 6... 6. No idea why this guy was calling") and he'll admit when he screws up ("Just made an awful laydown with QQ on a KJ2 flop. Stoooopid"). Negreanu is also very descriptive about his actual hands, which is fun to read for a true poker fan ("Just got a huge donation. Limp button raise I rereaise with AA910 guy calls. Flop AQ5 we go all in. He has AQ102 I got 58k.") And, as you would expect, at least a couple of times a day he has a "laugh out loud" kind of "tweet." ("I'm now mildly obsessed with bringing back the c-word for use when appropriate. If the MF word is fine then a Shakespearan c-word should too." "Just had a bizarre encounter with two wild drunk railbird tatooed chicks." "Ok so the truth of the matter is: I'm playing great.") There's a reason Negreanu had more than 14,000 people following him as of Monday.
1. Doyle Brunson -- @TexDolly
There probably aren't too many other 76-year-olds out there "twittering" on a daily basis and if there are I'm pretty sure they aren't as comical as good old Texas Dolly. Brunson is known for his "Doyleisms" and he takes that concept to a new level with his "tweets." He tells you about how his tournament is going. He wishes his friends luck. And he'll tell you what sports team he is betting on each night. But the random, out-of-nowhere, off-topic "tweets" are really the ones worth the price of admission.
Here are a few:
"i'm practicing for my upcoming colonostomy...Doc, you all in? you got the nuts?"
"Jenny Woo certainly hasn't been intimate with me. If she could see my body naked, she would be embarrased for both of us...lol"
"What the hell is this Death Match between me and Farrah Fawcett? have people gone crazy? She has pancreatic cancer..i'm healthy as a horse…a very old horse."
You can follow Gary Trask's WSOP updates on Twitter