A new feature on the PokerStars blog, The Social Power Table, rates poker players on their social media “value,” with Daniel Negreanu, perhaps somewhat predictably, coming out on top, while Phil Ivey is snapping at his heels in the number two spot.
It does throw up some surprises, however, such as Liv Boeree in third and Joe Hachem in fourth, while Poker Brat Phil Hellmuth is all the way down the list in tenth. It also raises some interesting questions, such as, “Why does Joe Sebok, who is hardly Mr. Popularity in the poker world at the moment, have almost three times more Twitter followers than Daniel Negreanu?” No, we don’t know, either.
Negreanu was an early adopter of social media, first finding an outlet for his lively and outspoken opinions on his popular FullContactPoker blog back in 2004. He’s always been hugely media savvy and understood very early on the link between self-marketing and success and longevity in the poker world.
So when Twitter came around, it was a natural fit for Negreanu. Today, @RealKidPoker has over 300,000 followers, and Negreanu regularly regales us through his YouTube channel, Facebook and Instagram as well.
Phil Ivey, by contrast, has historically had little to do with the media, and views interviews as an irritating and distracting necessity that he must do occasionally to please his sponsors, thereby securing his status as an “enigma.” However, he’s taken to social media surprisingly well, and, with increasing business interests of his own, is now very active on Twitter, a fact that has helped to tear down the wall of mystery between him and his fans. He currently has just under a million followers, the most of any poker player.
Ivey embraced Twitter in 2009, and in doing so, revealed himself to be a regular guy with a lively sense of humor and an obsession with boxing, who is just as happy visiting his mom’s charity poker night as he is meeting Steve Aoki for “green tea.” And that was just in the past week. OK, maybe he’s not a regular guy at all.
The analysis uses the social media monitoring tools such as Likealyzer and Followerwonk, which ranks Twitter profiles for their influence on a scale of 1 to 100. “Influence” is determined by the retweet rate of the users’ last few hundred tweets. So while Ivey has a greater number of Twitter followers than Negreanu, the latter’s propensity for uttering controversial and retweetable soundbites may help him rate more highly. His recent tweets about the situation between Israel and Gaza, which sparked an argument with fellow poker player Phil Collins this week, is a case in point.