There is no doubt that the 2011 World Series of Poker will be one of the most significant in the history of poker. It is the first WSOP since the US Department of Justice changed the landscape of poker forever more. It is also the year that Phil Ivey dropped one the biggest drama bombs seen by boycotting the series, and suing his former sponsor.
That will probably be what everyone looks back on as being the definitive moments of this year’s series; however, I think there is one more thing the series will be remembered for – the year of the tweet. I still haven’t decided whether I am going to Vegas this year (and with the clock ticking that probably means I ain’t) but thanks to the power of social media, I don’t feel like I am missing out on anything (except lots of hangovers).
Kara Scott (@karaotr) summed this up perfectly for me in a tweet:
I am AMAZED how different things are now that social media (Twitter) is so popular/powerful. Its a whole new world for information gathering
Yes twitter has been around a long time (relatively) and it was at the series last year, but there has been a massive shift in its usage over the last 12 months. No longer is it just a place for poker players to give us the usual ‘got 22k at the break, table full of donks’ updates.
It is perhaps because since #blackfriday everyone has been forced into becoming much more news savvy consumers. The listening and gathering information element of twitter has been forced on us to an extent because playing poker isn’t as easy as it once was. There is also simply much more news to report right now – every day some story breaks that would have otherwise been a ‘major industry changing story' but in the last six weeks seems quite ‘standard’. This week already we had Phil Ivey’s announcement, Tiltware’s statement, the ‘outing’ of several (currently unsubstantiated) Full Tilt rumours on Quadjacks, James Bord vs. John Juanda, and a little bit of poker to talk about.
Social media is also allowing us more than ever before to influence the news as it happens, and interact like never before. Last month there was the story of Daniel Negreanu calling out alleged cheater Ali Tekimtamgac in front of a packed card room, and even more packed twitterverse, at the WPT Championship. There was also the story that the media would not be allowed to play WSOP events breaking, and quickly reversing, after a storm of angry tweets from the poker media. I myself found myself faced with an angry tweet from Tom Dwan after completely not expecting him have read, let alone reply to, a joke I tweeted at his expense (Dwan was in the right btw, and I tweeted a grovelling public apology, to which he sent a smiley face suggesting all was well again in the twitterverse).
There are countless more ways in which social media is allowing all of us; players, journalists, spectators, industry experts, and total whackos, to interact like never before. Twitter is allowing more news stories that would never otherwise see the light of day to break, and at the same time ensuring fewer ways to censor them.
To get all the action from the WSOP, I would still say follow our PokerNews Live Updates because they really are the nuts. But to get all the drama around the WSOP (and poker in general), now is the time to get yourself a twitter account.
Oh, and follow me, as I follow the poker world and aggravate high stakes pros - @Barry_Carter