Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Twitter Can Be Bitter, Or a Tweet Can Be Sweet

Twitter Can Be Bitter, Or a Tweet Can Be SweetIn my trip reports from the World Series of Poker last summer, I made note on a few occasions of the prevalence of text messaging at the tables. Was quite a phenomenon, really. In 2008, just a handful of players appeared to have their iPhones or other, similar devices at the ready. In 2009, seemed like everyone had ’em.

It was early in the summer I noticed that despite there having been a rule in place stating that “iPhones, iTouch, Treos, Blackberrys, and other similar devices will not be allowed at any time,” the rule was never being enforced. Thus did folks happily text away at the tables, mostly between hands, but sometimes even when they had cards before them.

A little later I had occasion to talk about how curious it was to be reporting from the events amid so many players simultaneously sending out messages to the world about their progress. I called that post “Land of 1000 Reporters.”

Dr. Pauly has gotten me thinking again about texting and poker, specifically the use of Twitter -- that latest, greatest form of “social networking” whereby folks accumulate “followers” to whom they can broadcast reports about themselves, reflections on current events, or anything that pops in their heads in 140 characters or less. Pauly makes several interesting points in his new PokerNews article on the subject, correctly observing that whatever Twitter ultimately signifies, like other all media via which we communicate with each other, “it becomes what you make of it.”

The article contains several examples of well known pros who use Twitter, including that one story of Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) sending out a tweet in which he called a player at his table a “whackjob surprise,” only to find that player -- Julie Schneider -- was herself following his tweets and thus instantly called him out on his casual characterization. Surprise!

That story made me think of another one from the WSOP, one I’d read over on cmitch’s blog, O-Poker, toward the end of June. In a post titled “Careful What You Tweet at the Poker Table,” cmitch recounts how he played one of the $2,000 no-limit hold’em events, and at one point was moved to a table where Vanessa Rousso had just busted out. When he arrived at the table, he discovered the players left behind were all quite animated as they continued to discuss her.

Indeed, if you weren’t so sensitive about puns, you might say they were all a-twitter.

The players were excited for a couple of reasons. One was Rousso’s bustout hand, which according to some at the table apparently hadn’t been played very well. You can read a description of the hand in cmitch’s post, but it involves getting all her chips in on a king-high board with A-K and running into a player holding pocket rockets.

The other topic of conversation, though, was how she’d sent out a tweet earlier on which read “Just sat down...danny wong at my otherwise weak table.” A friend of one of the players had read Rousso’s tweet, then forwarded the message in a text to his buddy. And, in fact, that turned out to be the player who busted Rousso on the hand. As cmitch says, the inside dope about Rousso’s low estimation of her opponents’ skills may or may not have influenced how he played the hand, but it surely didn’t hurt him to have had the extra info.

I saw some texting at the tables at the EPT -- and to be honest, I don’t know one way or the other what sort of rules are on the books there regarding the use of electronic devices -- though not as much as at the WSOP. I still feel (for various reasons) as though I’d like to see officials make players step away from the tables whenever using their devices, but I’m doubting that’ll ever come to pass.

No, for better or worse, these devices are permanently part of us now. And it appears a lot of us are satisfied to use them primarily to send tweets to each other -- consistent, frequently updated progress reports from our respective journeys through this mortal coil.

I’d say more about this, but I have to run. Time to go send a tweet that this post is up.

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Blogger Pauly said...

Ah, thanks for reminding me about the Vanessa incident.

9/15/2009 12:53 PM  
Anonymous donkdestroyer.blogspot.com said...

I don't play for near the amount these guys do but I like tweeting about happenings when I'm playing but I never discuss a hand in progress 'cause ya never know who's reading. I generally give updates on my progress in a tournament or crazy tilt inducing hands with donks. Don't think it's too smart to tweet about a player live cause they just might read it.Especially when you're as well know as DN or VR

9/16/2009 5:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was very interesting for me to read that article. Thank author for it. I like such topics and anything connected to this matter. I definitely want to read more soon.

11/18/2009 7:51 AM  

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