Among the numerous repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic, there unfortunately seems to have been a surge of caustic negativity on social media, Twitter in particular. Being repeatedly or excessively exposed to negative influences naturally tends to have a corresponding effect on one’s overall mood. I know I’m not immune to it. It can be tough to remain upbeat when seemingly everywhere you turn online all you see is doom and gloom. It’s for that reason that to the greatest extent possible I try to follow folks in the poker world who inspire positivity and make me smile.
About a month ago, Alec Torelli put the word out that he wanted to shake things up a bit on his Twitter timeline.
On my Twitter timeline everything is wrong, fucked and broken.
What are some great comedy/meme/positive accounts I can follow?
— Alec Torelli (@AlecTorelli) April 10, 2020
While there are of course loads of people in the world whose Twitter accounts fit the descriptions Alec was searching for, for the purposes of this article I’ve focused exclusively within the poker world and the positivity that can be found within, if you know where to look.
As with every list, I’m sure people will point out “snubs.” Let me assure you that it’s not as though I “left anyone out on purpose.” I just thought 21 was a good number and the individuals listed below were the first 21 who came to mind (listed in alphabetical order). As a matter of fact, I’d love nothing more than to get oodles of comments from people listing loads more positive people in poker.
1. Kristen Bicknell
One of the top poker players in the world (currently ranked No. 4 in the Global Poker Index), Kristen Bicknell is also one of poker nicest and most positive personalities. Bicknell’s Twitter is often filled with not just poker content, but also thoughts on overall health and life improvement.
Today, on my @partypoker blog, I post my Top 5 Tips for Home Workouts!
Check it out here: https://t.co/mVYL0L3s8I
Some benefits of daily workouts:
– improved focus and brain function
– improved mood
– slows aging
– increased energy
– decreases cortisol
– better sleep… pic.twitter.com/IzMHE0NhXC
— Kristen Bicknell (@krissyb24poker) April 18, 2020
2. Robert Campbell
The 2020 WSOP Player of the Year has a sense of humor that can brighten up anyone’s day. Robert Campbell clearly doesn’t take himself too seriously, which is a welcome stance on life from one of poker’s top tournament players.
My Uber driver was a funeral pianist, he told me he’s really struggling as the new laws with the limit on funeral attendees mean he almost always gets the boot. I told him I like organs, he told me he only plays piano. I was joking but it didn’t play.
— Rob Campbell (@SonicJaxx2019) April 22, 2020
3. Norman Chad
The legendary WSOP commentator, Norman Chad is always in character, even on Twitter. Norman’s posts provide a daily dose of comic relief, sarcasm and trademark bad jokes from the master himself.
The 11-day Little League World Series this summer has been canceled.
Organizers hope to play it online later this year, perhaps in November.
— Norman Chad (@NormanChad) May 1, 2020
4. Antonio Esfandiari
Always a talkative, entertaining showman at the poker table, Antonio Esfandiari’s Twitter presence is every bit as engaging as the legendary poker star. Clearly grateful for everything he has in life, Esfandiari loves to reflect on the past, both on and off the table. These reflections on the life of a one-of-a-kind personality are fascinating.
Crazy time for all of mankind. The silver lining in this whole experience is that humanity as a whole will be better in the end. People will appreciate so many things we once took for granted. Myself included.
— Antonio Esfandiari (@MagicAntonio) March 30, 2020
5. Tony G
Never one to disappoint when it comes to entertaining at the poker table, Tony G has the heart of a champion and is the owner of an equally compelling Twitter account. For much of the past year, the Tony G Twitter feed has included numerous posts on his experiments with fasting, the keto diet, and his overall approach to improved health.
I have decided to do another water fast. I am hoping others would join me too. All the saved money on food and drinks we can donate to the elderly we know. pic.twitter.com/xxUCFaf8EO
— Antanas Guoga (@TonyGuoga) April 1, 2020
6. Phil Galfond
It’s pretty tough to not be inspired by Phil Galfond, in light of his unfathomable comeback win in the first round of the Galfond Challenge. Galfond’s positive attitude, even at the lowest depths of the challenge, is something every poker player can learn from. The Run It Once founder is one of poker’s most important advocates, and just a quick view at Galfond’s Twitter can provide an entire day’s worth of inspiration.
This table is a good start!
Obviously chips & cards won’t work, but we could use a screen with digital chips & cards.
Replace the flimsy plastic dividers with the sturdy walls of people’s homes.
Use the internet.
Then legalize & regulate safe online poker across the USA. pic.twitter.com/pCGBZPH8hr
— Phil Galfond (@PhilGalfond) May 3, 2020
7. Lynn Gilmartin
Another of poker’s best ambassadors, Lynn Gilmartin exudes positivity through the television screen while hosting World Poker Tour broadcasts. That same positivity is on display on Gilmartin’s Twitter account. Viewing this feed makes one look forward to the day the World Poker Tour comes back.
— Lynn Gilmartin (@LynnGilmartin) May 2, 2020
8. Phil Hellmuth
Mr. #POSITIVITY himself, Phil Hellmuth clearly makes a genuine effort to live up to that title on his social media accounts. Look for the #POSITIVITY posts on Hellmuth’s feed and get inspired by a daily dose of optimism from the 15-time WSOP bracelet winner.
Help us feed the heroes on the frontlines! I will be playing in the “Chipping In” charity poker tourney on Sunday w business leaders: come watch us, and come support us! #POSITIVITY
Morning Brew // Chipping In https://t.co/cFoRi0kP6e
— phil_hellmuth (@phil_hellmuth) May 1, 2020
9. Sarah Herring
The face of televised poker coverage for PokerNews, Sarah Herring has been one of poker media’s most recognizable personalities for years. “Aunty Chardonnay’s” Twitter makes it clear that Herring has great passion for what she does, and loves the game of poker.
— Sarah Herring (@AuntyChardonnay) April 15, 2019
10. Chad Holloway
The PokerNews Head of Live Reporting in the U.S., Chad Holloway is another staple of the poker media. His love for the history of game, and the modern poker industry, shine through on Holloway’s Twitter account. Holloway has always used his social media platform to promote poker players, authors, and programming.
ICYMI, last week I chatted w/ Poker Hall of Famer Crandell Addington for the @PokerNews Podcast.
— Chad Holloway (@ChadAHolloway) May 14, 2020
11. Jonathan Little
The Twitter account of Jonathan Little might just inspire you to study the game of poker and become the best player (and person!) you can possibly be. The veteran poker coach posts all kinds of analysis about tough spots you might face at the poker table, posts videos and live streams daily talking all manner of poker and non-poker-related topics with occasional cameos from members of his family, and produces one of the most informative poker-centric feeds found on Twitter.
— Jonathan Little (@JonathanLittle) March 15, 2020
12. Sean McCormack
Sean McCormack, aka “ThePokerBoss,” really is the poker boss at one of the most prestigious poker rooms in the world. The Director of Poker Operations at Aria, McCormack’s Twitter is utterly devoid of any kind of negativity. Every post from McCormack is based in positivity, and his “ThePokerBoss” feed is a great place to look for a little optimism.
You have 2 choices:
Believe in fear and hate or believe in hope. I choose the latter. We are fighting much more than just a virus. Don’t lose your humanity along the way.#coronavirus #COVID19 #Endgame #hope #TonyStark pic.twitter.com/f7a2eIGQ9c
— Sean McCormack (@ThePokerBoss) April 29, 2020
13. Chad McVean
Perhaps the definitive authority on the world of poker podcasts, Chad McVean’s Twitter is a one-stop shop for positive promotion of poker’s best podcasts. If you’re looking for poker podcast content curated by someone who always keeps things on the up and up (with the occasional dose of hockey and all other things Canadian), look no further than the Twitter feed of Chad McVean.
Here’s another great episode of the @TopPair Home Game Poker Podcast with Bruce Briggs & Robbie Strazynski.
They discuss the new online home game reality which is booming!
— Chad McVean (@Veaner85) April 13, 2020
14. Andrew Neeme
It’s nearly impossible to not like Andrew Neeme, one of poker’s essential content creators. Much like his poker vlogs, Neeme’s Twitter goes heavy on the positivity, and is yet another format in which Neeme acts as one of poker’s greatest ambassadors.
Are you debating taking a risk by putting yourself out there?
Ponder this… by NOT starting a YouTube channel, I would’ve taken a huge risk that I’d never get to know these awesome people in my lifetime. https://t.co/5kuvTwLvk8
— Andrew Neeme (@andrewneeme) November 11, 2019
15. Brad Owen
Much like his often co-conspirator Andrew Neeme, Brad Owen’s vlogs are some of the best video content poker has to offer, as over 200,000 YouTube channel subscribers can attest. Owen recently used his Twitter as a vehicle to raise funds for poker dealers during the COVID-19 crisis, a positive initiative if there ever was one.
It is tough times, especially for casino employees. If your favorite dealer has a twitter account, tag them (add a pic if you can) and tell me why you like them so much. I’ll choose a dealer to give $200 to.
— Brad Owen (@TheBradOwen) April 13, 2020
16. Uncle Ron
Always good for a laugh, Uncle Ron’s Twitter feed chronicles the adventures of “the ultimate poker railbird” across the country. Highlights include Uncle Ron selling PokerGO subscriptions door-to-door in Kansas, as seen in the tweet below. In an era where our game needs more engaging characters, Uncle Ron is as beloved as they come.
Selling @PokerGO perscriptions door to door has changed my life!
Use promos code UNCLERON for 10 dollars off a annual pass… pic.twitter.com/R3NVJMVdXI
— Uncle Ron (@UncleRonAA) May 23, 2017
17. Matt Savage
Matt Savage’s contributions to the game of poker go far beyond his duties as poker’s quintessential tournament director. Savage’s Twitter posts are always aimed at ways to improve and evolve the game, and there’s no better source for this than the WPT Executive Tour Director. Just note that if you follow him, you may be lured into watching the, ahem, “classic” poker film Lucky You.
I believe the following:
1. Poker should be fun and player friendly!
2. Action makes poker fun and most people play poker for the action.
3. If rules are posted in advance and the same for everyone they are fair
4. Short stacks SHOULD be under pressure!#AnteComes1st#NeverReduce
— Matt Savage (@SavagePoker) December 17, 2018
18. Jaime Staples
Another guy who’s just so easy to root for, Jaime Staples has proven himself as prolific in many forms of content production. Staples’ Twitter is a jump-off point to his many forms of poker content, including his Twitch channel and Weekly Poker Showdown program.
I woke up this morning really grateful for the last few days. Thanks everyone for rooting me on. I am sooo hyped for #wcoop I’m ready for the grind starting Sunday!
— Jaime Staples (@jaimestaples) August 31, 2018
19. Jennifer Tilly
Following along with Jennifer Tilly’s journey through the COVID-19 lockdown gives you some much needed humor, as well as some honest perspective. Her lockdown log aside, for years Jennifer’s Twitter account has been a source of fun, happiness and positivity for the poker world (as well as lots of Chucky-themed content).
— Jennifer Tilly (@JenniferTilly) November 8, 2018
20. Alec Torelli
As mentioned above, it was Alec’s Tweet that inspired this article. That said, Alec’s Twitter account ought not to be overlooked, as it, too, is a bastion of positivity. Always on the lookout to help poker players by providing and curating interesting content Alec is clearly not only a seeker of positivity but also a provider.
Happiness seems like a classic example of something that’s simple, but not easy. Let me explain.
It’s simple because it’s nothing more than appreciating what you have, and not deluding yourself into thinking that… https://t.co/cmZEfvQsCU
— Alec Torelli (@AlecTorelli) April 27, 2020
21. Tom Wheaton
The founder of Faded Spade playing cards, Tom Wheaton’s Twitter account is heavy on inspirational, positive posts. Wheaton’s Twitter account is another great follow for a daily dose of optimism.
Shoutout to those living the struggle right now trying to balance many facets of life like marital, parental, business, spiritual, mental, physical all in one place at the same time. The game is hard, but we can make it easier with an intentional positive mindset approach daily!
— Tom Wheaton (@TomWheaton_) March 26, 2020
Ed. Note: My sincere thanks to our contributing writer Geoff Fisk for his behind-the-scenes assistance in putting this article together, and specifically for including my own Twitter account and very kind description below as a “bonus member” of the list.
BONUS: Robbie Strazynski
“Relentless positivity” is the phrase that comes to mind when I think of Cardplayer Lifestyle founder Robbie Strazynski. One of the most enthusiastic promoters of the poker industry, Robbie finds ways to exude his inspiring and optimistic approach to life daily on Twitter. Whether it’s his own posts, promoting his contributing writers, or commenting on, curating, an retweeting the posts of others, Robbie’s Twitter truly embodies the word “positive”.
Spent all day putting this op-ed together.
It’s one I’d really love to see go viral.
Please help me spread some (poker) #positivity.
It, too, can be infectious. 🙏https://t.co/xGAw6JBTS8
— Robbie Strazynski (@cardplayerlife) March 12, 2020