Twitter is an ideal communication tool for poker players. The sleek interface makes it perfect for mobile devices at the table and the 140 character limit works well for tournament updates. When major poker events like the WSOP come around though, many casual followers get frustrated by the constant tournament updates cluttering their timeline.
Daniel Negreanu came up with a clever solution to this problem by using the @mention function as a filter. If you wanted to see his updates, in addition to his main @realkidpoker account, you also had to follow @dnchips. Whenever he sent out a tournament tweet he would start it with “@dnchips” and these tweets would only be seen by followers of both accounts.
This was a solid innovation and one that has allowed twitter users with non-poker followers to effectively compartmentalize their tournament reports. The idea has gained traction over the last year with many poker players adding a second account to separate their updates. This solution works well if you only want to follow a few players, but if you want to follow a large group of players things become more complicated.
With so many players making these new accounts it’s getting harder to keep up with them. When I want to follow a new player at an event, not only do I have to dig up their twitter account, then I have to find their chip account as well. This isn’t terrible for one player, but doing it ten times is annoying.
Another issue comes when I want to stop following chip accounts after an event. Going through and unfollowing each account is a pain. Obviously lists are an option for organizing my twitter feed and avoiding the whole follow/unfollow issue, but overall the current system is getting bloated as more players start to use it and managing lists can still be a chore.
I recently participated in a test run of a new Twitter poker update system at the New Orleans WSOP circuit that may hold the answer to the problem of poker account sprawl. Paul Oresteen (@PaulOresteen) of Pokernews added a new twist to the Twitter update equation by having players run updates through one central reporting account.
Paul’s main focus was getting players to mention his “@pncounts” account when tweeting updates. This allowed him to have all the relevant players updates in one central feed for faster, more accurate reporting. As post Black Friday reporting budgets have tightened, Paul found an intelligent way to bridge the gap between reduced staff and large field size. The potential of the idea isn’t limited to chip counts though, it could also be a used to reduce the amount of accounts necessary for updates considerably or even create a new reporting stream.
This central account idea could be expanded for events like the WSOP and WPTs, so they could set up their own reporting account for players to update through. That way, when I want to send an update from an event, I could use @wsopchips as my filter. This would give the events a more focused Twitter presence by turning every player into a reporter that fans could follow through their central account.
The central accounts also eliminate the need for secondary accounts almost completely. To follow a series all I have to do is find the reporting account and follow it to keep track of all players I already follow. When a series is over, or I am done sweating an event, I unfollow @wsopchips and all the mtt spam is gone in one click.
If you have a timeline full of poker players and only want to follow updates from a few of them this solution may not be ideal. There is certainly room for smaller group accounts to be created. If you are only interested in your poker crew’s updates you could create an account like @teampokerati. An account like this would allow you to follow a smaller more specific group of players at an event, but still reduce the amount of accounts you had to deal with.
I currently use a secondary twitter account to update my followers interested in my poker action. I would be happy to scrap it and all the other secondary accounts I follow for this new system. I know it will take time to adapt, but I was excited enough about Mr. Oresteen’s idea that I felt the need to blog about it and share my thoughts about the potential it has to reshape the poker twitterverse.