In 2003, an amateur poker player skyrocketed poker’s popularity by winning the most prestigious tournament of the year, the main event. Through the mid 2000s poker was at its most popular, growing from 839 to 8,773 main event entrants between 2003 and 2006 alone.
In 2011 however, poker suffered a massive setback when the game was made illegal (for money) in its online form. Since then, poker has gradually gained more traction culminating in a second renaissance this past April.
The #1 difference between 2011 and now? Widespread usage of social media. Read on to learn how each popular social media platform contributed to the growth of poker.
In 2006, the show “High Stakes Poker” brought fans closer than ever to the personalities and play of the game’s celebrities. Since 2015, “edutainment” poker YouTube content has given fans an even more intimate window into the lifestyle of all varieties of players.
Everything from video blogs to hand analysis to live games from around the world lives on YouTube in nearly endless supply. The most viewed poker video (of Miss Finland bluffing a professional player) has 9,800,000 views, and there are hundreds of poker videos with over one million views.
Instagram is to poker players what Instagram is to those outside of poker: a way for friends and fans to follow your life and a way for you to chronicle a collection of memories. Instagram posts by poker enthusiasts are usually snapshots of their best moments in the game: massive piles of chips, selfies with new friends, crazy hands, or eye-catching poker venues.
While there may not be much substance to this content, people are introducing their non-poker-playing friends to how fun poker can be. Instagram is the most supportive poker community and its members can make connections with all sorts of interesting people simply by checking out who follows their favorite players.
Twitter is the drama capital of poker. Players call each other out regularly, and disagreements are expected. Some fans get their poker news from the perspective of their favorite player’s tweets and many in the poker community just like to witness cool-headed professionals express their truest self.
Twitter has undoubtedly been good for the game because it generates meaningful discussion around news and views. Any beginners turned off by the controversy of Poker Twitter are more than made up for by the thousands who feel closer to the game from reading some entertaining beef.
Each of these platforms plays a more minor role than YouTube Instagram or Twitter, but as a collective they represent a meaningful force in exposing new players to poker.
Facebook’s advertising from training sites and clips of memorable poker moments reaches many of its frequent users. Some famous players also have public figure pages to allow an unlimited number of page-likers to receive updates.
Snapchat is influential in the sense that fans who watch successful players’ lifestyle via stories are inspired to play and improve. Snapchat also gives the everyday poker hobbyist an outlet to share funny or unusual moments at the table with their friends.
The poker subreddit has 155,000 members with dozens of new posts every day (as does 2+2, though that’s more of a forum than social media.) Reddit really runs the gambit of all major topics within poker: news, strategy, places to play, memes, theory; r/poker gives players of all levels a haven to ask or answer away if their skin is thick enough to put up with some anonymous trolls.
Twitch is basically diet YouTube for poker numbers-wise, however Twitch reaches a different type of viewer than YouTube and gives viewers a community to interact with in real time. Couple that with the excitement viewers get from witnessing history in real time and you’ve got a compelling experience that gets people excited about poker!
With new game types and social media platforms on the rise, who knows how wide poker’s reach will spread. Poker TikTok??? Only time will tell. What we do know is that we’re active on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and TikTok all at Poker Power. And keep an eye out for more fun events with our teachers on Twitch! Give us a follow to keep in touch with us and the fantastic women in poker we feature! To learn more about us and our mission, check out our website at https://live-poker-power.pantheonsite.io and discover the power of poker.
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