OP-ED: Is the Poker Community Overreacting to Daniel Negreanu’s ‘Popularity’ Polls?

Daniel Negreanu found yet another way to trigger his fellow poker players, causing a colossal social media meltdown this past week. On Twitter recently, DNegs pitted poker commentators against each other in some unscientific “popularity” polls that, let’s just say, didn’t do his own popularity any good.

Daniel Negreanu poker Twitter

Daniel Negreanu doesn’t need the PokerStars patch the ruffle some feathers it seems. (Image: CardsChat News)

Poker players reacted the way poker players often do, on Twitter at least, by firing insults and harsh criticism. But did much of Poker Twitter overreact, or was the meltdown justified?

The polling began Wednesday, Aug. 14, with some intriguing match-ups such as Norman Chad defeating Joe Stapleton in a close race and Ali Nejad besting Kara Scott with two-thirds of the vote.

CardsChat pro Jeff Gross drew a tough matchup in Nick Schulman, easily poker’s favorite commentator, at least if you believe Poker Twitter is an accurate representation of the entire poker community. In the biggest landslide of all, Schulman beat Gross 90% to 10%. Jeff handled the defeat with humor and class, as I expected.

Back to School? Big Name Pros Rip on Negreanu

Kids across the country went back to school last week, and apparently so did Negreanu. But instead of making new friends, he seemed to trigger a clique of poker fans on Twitter who winced at his “popularity polls” — saying they were disrespectful to the commentators, especially those who lost their heads-up popularity match.

Justin Bonomo is one of many pros who could do without the flashbacks:

Bonomo, as part of a large thread, also gave Negreanu some advice on how to do it “better.” He suggests first asking the commentators for permission to include them in the polls.

Nick Schulman, who won a match-up against Gross, also disliked Daniel “pitting commentators against each other.” Schulman said doing so “is for the birds.”

If you’ve followed Doug Polk’s petty feud with Negreanu over the years, you probably already know his opinion. But for those who haven’t wasted their time paying attention to the high school-like drama, he was, of course, critical of the former PokerStars ambassador. Polk took a sarcastic approach to bashing DNegs.

In the end, Gabe Kaplan won the color commentary category and Ali Nejad was the fan favorite play-by-play announcer. Negreanu decided to, thanks to complaints from poker fans, pull the plug on the competition early. But he is set to ask followers to vote on another category next week: poker podcasts. That should go over well for him, I’m sure.

But there actually were many followers who defended Negreanu and appeared to enjoy playing the game. Not everyone is a hater. User @BigCreeIndian wrote, “Do what you want man. Post what you want.” Dewey McGrail (@50Fables) says it’s “ridiculous what people choose to be upset about these days. Plain silly.” And @Stripes300 called the poker community “p*****s” for getting offended over this.

Kid Poker Takes It on the Chin

With that said, the vocal minority was, well…quite vocal. And maybe a little cruel and overly dramatic over something that seems, at least to me, trivial.

Rachel Lees (@Rachelees69) has devoted most of her Twitter page to bashing Daniel Negreanu, which is beyond creepy. She referred to him as a “con” and a “loser” in one of the hundreds of anti-Negreanu posts on her page, which is a bit ironic considering she devotes so much time to trashing a poker player.

Others were equally critical of the former face of PokerStars.

“The nominees gonna act like it’s all in good fun but people are only going to get hurt here when they get bumped.,” wrote @GamblingKingLV.

Andrew Weinman (@wiem0014) doesn’t understand why Negreanu is even asking poker fans to vote on their favorite commentators.

“Can’t you use your platform to spread awareness of these lesser known hosts and smaller podcasts without these polls? I have no idea why you feel like one requires the other?” he asks.

Danielle Anderson (@dmoongirl), one of the regular vocal members of Poker Twitter, disagreed with Negreanu when he claimed the polls are “just for fun.”

“Fun for who? Tons of people have pointed out this is dumb, unfair & could be hurtful to those unwillingly involved,” she wrote.

Scott Fitzgerald (@sfitzy90210) took Anderson’s side in the debate.

“Fun for him. He doesn’t care if it’s hurtful. The sheer amount of votes proves that people apparently support him and like the polls? I don’t,” he posted.

Chill Out, It’s Just the Internet

There are many things worth being angry about. For example, if your wife has an affair with your best friend, you should be mad. Or, if you lose your entire roll on a two-outer, it’s perfectly acceptable to be upset. But when it comes to meaningless Twitter polls, not so much.

I’m not usually one to tell people what should and shouldn’t anger them. For crying out loud, when my Iowa Hawkeyes lose a football game, it’s best to just leave me alone so as to avoid feeling the brunt of my cussing storm. So, I probably don’t have any room telling people to chill…but I will anyway.

Folks, it’s just a bunch of meaningless polls. No one was harmed in the process. Please stop being overly dramatic over something so silly.

Do I think these polls are exciting or useful? Not at all. They’re actually quite lame and pointless. I can’t even pretend to explain why Daniel Negreanu is even wasting his time on this nonsense. But I’m not about to lose sleep over it or complain on Twitter. I mostly ignored the related posts until I noticed numerous poker fans bashing Negreanu, which compelled me to write this post.

Why You Shouldn’t Be Offended

Twitter polls are about as scientific as President Trump’s theory that climate change is a hoax. And I’d venture to guess that few people actually take any Twitter poll seriously. I’ll give our GTO-obsessed poker community the benefit of the doubt here and assume most poker fans realize Negreanu’s polls aren’t scientific for reasons I explained in a recent article about Kid Poker.

I have a theory on why so many poker players piled on Negreanu. It’s not just the fact he’s a polarizing figure who is outspoken, a type of person who is often chastised. I believe much of it has to do with the bandwagon effect, a psychological phenomenon in which people do something primarily because others are doing it.

In the case of Negreanu’s polls, it’s quite likely some became offended only because they saw others were offended. I see this type of reaction often when it comes to politics and accused racism.

I doubt that many who claim to be offended were actually upset with the polls until they began reading some posts. There simply isn’t any reason to find something so meaningless offensive.

They are nothing but useless polls. None of these commentators will get fired over this. I don’t think PokerStars is going to can Joe Stapleton because he lost in the voting to Norman Chad. We aren’t going to ditch Jeff Gross as an ambassador at CardsChat for getting trounced against Nick Schulman. We still like him just as much.

No Need to Be Angry

It’s just Twitter. If anything, Negreanu gave the contestants free publicity. He has 470,000 followers. I’m sure many of his followers have never even heard of some of these commentators, especially the casual poker fans.

Losing a silly Twitter poll – or winning one – will never make or break any poker commentator’s career. I can think of many things poker players should be upset over (rake increases, angle-shooting, etc.). This isn’t one of them. I’ll just leave this one last post up for you because Mr. Stripes found the perfect way to summarize my thoughts.

Written by
Jon Sofen
Semi-pro poker player with 17 years experience on the felt and more than five years working as professional poker media.


ScooperNova wrote...

Poker people are the most insecure, biggest babies on the planet. Then they try to overcompensate for their insecurities by acting like they have the most important opinion on social media.

Robert Beuck wrote...

Right ? Can we get over ourselves people?

Phreakin wrote...

Jesus, people love to be offended by anything nowadays. And asking for permission to be included in a public Twitter poll? Ya, okay.

Robert Beuck wrote...

I know……there’s alot more troubling issues in the process of making the world a more miserable place. Please don’t add poker to the mix.

We, all of us on this big blue marble, are pitted against each other over ridiculousity…..keeping us in the dark with regard to real issues.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Did you know about our poker forum?

Discuss all the latest poker news in the CardsChat forum