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It usually happens when there is a Twitter debate or argument, something that grabs the attention of poker players and fans. And people call it #PokerTwitter.

Poker Twitter is not necessarily a hashtag, though using it as such makes it easier to follow. Generally speaking, though, it is simply a general idea of poker community. References to it usually indicate the occurrence of a Twitter feud, a dispute between players or between players and a poker entity, or something only poker enthusiasts will know or understand.

One could say that Poker Twitter is simply a state of mind … on Twitter.

Origins

The poker community began congregating virtually on Twitter in 2006. The social media platform launched in March of that year, and it quickly became a way for poker fans and players to follow the happenings at the 2006 World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. While poker media was still in the habit of reporting most of the news via articles and live updates at that time, it was a way of getting instant updates. In fact, many of us in the poker media began using it that summer as well, as we were able to garner information about chip counts, bustouts, and tournament rulings instantly instead of walking every inch of the tournament rooms with paper and a pen.

Twitter quickly caught on, especially with the use of hashtags, as a method of following particular tournaments, players, and news. It remains a significant source of information in the poker community to this day.

But the term #PokerTwitter didn’t come out of nowhere. The origins of the term are actually in #BlackTwitter.

The term was first used at a media panel in 2012, but it became widely popularized in 2013 after George Zimmerman of Florida was acquitted of criminal charges surrounding the murder of African-American teenager Trayvon Martin. Twitter became a place for the black community to gather, rally, and connect with others.

Black Twitter became a staple of social media, especially in times of controversy or the need for protest, but also in times of celebration and humor. It became an especially prominent community for issues like #BlackLivesMatter after the 2014 shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and other similar incidents that prompted a need for unity and information sharing.

It can be said that #PokerTwitter is a descendent of #BlackTwitter, though its purposes tend to be a bit more inconsequential than social justice and racial divisions.

Most Recent Poker Twitter Gathering

Poker Twitter takes shape on various news websites like PokerNews, where a section of the home page shows the latest tweets from a select group of poker players. Other websites feature the same and add poker-related organizations to the feed of tweets.

But the true essence of #PokerTwitter happened earlier in December when Cate Hall and Mike Dentale launched into a Twitter feud of epic proportions.

It started with Hall’s bustout from the World Poker Tour event at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. She warned of the forthcoming revelation of the hand with which she became short-stacked at the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic Main Event, saying it would “look horrible.” When the hand was made public, Hall began to discuss it with other poker pros on Twitter.

Dentale, however, called her “clueless” and further insulted her. She then issued a challenge to play him in a heads-up match.

Hall tried to pin down a date, time, and the stakes for the match, while Dentale spent most of the night and next few days warring with various other poker personalities on Twitter. He also continuously dodged Hall’s attempts to confirm the match, which prompted others like Matt Glantz to interfere in the hopes of moderating the discussion. Days later, it appeared that the match was set for March 19 to be filmed for Poker Night in America.

So the next time a situation erupts on Twitter within the poker community, it becomes #PokerTwitter, whether it’s hashtagged or not. And if you see it developing and playing out on your Twitter feed, you can be confident that you are a part of #PokerTwitter.

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Jennifer Newell

Jennifer has been a freelance writer in the poker industry for a decade. She left a full-time job with the World Poker Tour to tell the stories of poker. She now lives in St. Louis, writes about poker while pursuing other varied interests, and speaks her mind on Twitter… a lot.

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