When you’re as high-profile a poker player as Daniel Negreanu and Phil Collins, ordinary social media battles can become major Twitter incidents. And when that battle is about the much bigger battle between Israel and Gaza, all eyes will be watching, and they were when the two pros went at in a very public barrage of Tweets on the controversial topic.
The argument involved the two players’ divergent views on what is happening right now in the Middle East.
For his part, Negreanu has been quite vocal on his stance via Twitter.
“For the record I’m 100% pro-Israel defending themselves against terrorist groups like Hamas and you aren’t going to change my mind on twitter,” he said in a tweet on Tuesday. Nicknamed “Kid Poker,” Negreanu has won six World Series of Poker bracelets and two World Poker Tour titles. He also sits at the top of the highest money earners in live tournaments with over $29 million in winnings.
Phil Collins, who made the WSOP final table in 2011, called Negreanu out on his statement. Collins was quick to reference that the tactics Israel is using against Hamas have resulted in numerous civilian casualties and deaths, including children. In his defense, Negreanu states that Collins simply misunderstands his stance on the issue. Commenting on Israel’s tactics, Negreanu tweeted, “I didn’t say I support everything they do, but I do 100% support their right to protect their citizens.”
Collins was quick to Tweet back on the heated topic.
“Obviously, [Neagreanu] is an idiot for 100% supporting a country that uses White Phosphorus on civilians,” he said in a tweet.
In addition to calling Negreanu an idiot, Collins mocked his status as an ambassador to poker.
“So 100% for flechette shells, chemical weapons, bombing schools, hospitals, and children playing soccer. got it. #ambassador,” Collins also tweeted.
Negreanu took offense to Collins’ assumption that he supports inhumane tactics against civilians over Israel’s right to fight against Hamas. He said that Collins was trying to sensationalize his opinion, and directed him to relevant articles and videos about the war.
The argument between both players also brought in other followers who took strong stands on both sides. On Twitter, Negreanu still holds his stance of Israel’s right to defend themselves against terrorists. Collins, on the other hand, has been quite active in posting several links and tweets about the war, including many regarding the deaths of civilians.
As much as the topic at hand, it’s another example of how social media has transformed the way people digest everything from current events to celebrity gossip and trends. Outlets such as Twitter and Facebook have made it impossibly simple for anyone to post their thoughts on just about anything. Whether those opinions are well-researched or completely ludicrous, opinions on politics, war or anything else can be posted in seconds for any follower to see. The same applies to poker stars. Their success gains them a large enough following where fans are curious enough about their lives outside the felt to hang on their every word, tweeted or not.