If you want to know what is going on in the world of #PokerTwitter you can curate a Twitter list of all the movers and shakers in the industry, or you can just follow @KevMath. Kevin ‘KevMath’ Mathers is a one man Twitter aggregator and has just announced he will be handling the official @WSOP Twitter account for the World Series of Poker for the 2nd year in a row. I caught up with most familiar name in poker social media:
BC: Congratulations on once again being the man behind the @WSOP Twitter account. Given how many questions you field on a daily basis, this is more of a customer service role than a marketing one right?
KM: It is kinda a customer service role. I’ve been doing this on my own Twitter account for years, people would ask me questions all the time when I worked for Bluff, so it wasn’t like I was doing anything additional. People were saying you “should be getting paid for this Kevin” so I sent a DM to Twitter to Jack Effel asking if he would consider hiring me to run the WSOP Twitter account, and we worked out a deal. Seth Palansky was running the Twitter account previously and ran into a few situations where he wasn’t using the account for customer service reasons. I figured people respected me on Twitter so I offered to help me out and they went with it.
BC: The WSOP is a marathon series and you never sleep. I guess you will be there at the Rio working long hours?
KM: I will be there for the whole series, I stayed last year at the Rio the entire time and that’s the plan again. I’d get down to the media room about 10AM in the morning until about 10 or 11PM, but sometimes I’d still be up in my room and do some stuff when the daily schedules came out. It was usually a 12-14 hour day. Seth didn’t want me to be there every day till 3AM so he always advised me to take a day off every five days.
BC: You are viewed as the ultimate social media grinder, do you make a point to take ‘digital detoxes’ at all?
KM: It’s really hard not to because there are so many events going on, even on my ‘days off’ I’d try and answer questions because there is an expectation you will answer. I don’t really take extended breaks from social media, maybe after the series.
“I have built up my share of patience”
BC: I asked Matt Parvis last month if he thought live streams helped or hindered live text updates, do you think your role helps or hinders the standard WSOP live updates, given how many people just follow you for the info?
KM: I think what I do is a complement, if I tweet about a live stream it draws people to it. I would always tweet to the WSOP updates or a screenshot of the top ten chip counts as a way of driving people to them.
BC: In a strange way your biggest competition while at the WSOP will be from your own personal Twitter account, how do you balance that and the @WSOP account?
KM: I don’t tweet as much WSOP stuff on my personal account. There are people who tag both accounts, but if it’s WSOP related I’ll answer from that account. I do have a third account @WSOPCzar which doesn’t answer any questions, it just tweets core information like schedules. A problem people have with my Twitter is I tweet so much it can be overwhelming, so I created the @WSOPCzar account for that reason. It’s a balancing act where I want to make sure I don’t tweet from the wrong account.
BC: It’s something of a joke in the poker media to ‘ask KevMath if there is a live stream’ because you get asked the same questions over and over again, does it ever test your patience?
KM: I have certainly built up my share of patience, before I got into poker I did call centre customer service where you need a lot of it. I try my best to be polite but if you people ask the same question a lot of the time I can certainly have a bad day. But I’m getting paid decent money to provide this service for WSOP so I make sure I don’t get angry and go off the rails for a trivial reason.
“Poker is a bubble”
BC: There is a hashtag called #PokerTwitter going around to highlight some of the often strange infighting we have in the industry. Do you think poker is more polarising these days?
KM: I would point to your recent article about poker being a bubble. It certainly goes in phases – everyone vs the poker media, Cate Hall vs Mike Dentale, everyone vs PokerStars, Doug Polk vs Daniel Negreanu. When all you see on your timeline it’s easy to think this is what the poker community does all the time. There’s plenty of poker happening that doesn’t generate this much interest within the community. I try my best to not get involved in skirmishes because I have a lot of followers, and don’t want to get in a situation where it’s one side against what I say and the other side agreeing with what I say. I’d rather talk about it with people in private.
BC: I remember it being a big deal when you hit 25,000 followers because you are not a ‘famous player’. You are now at 32,000, has it slowed down and do you track these things?
KM: It’s a slow growth, I think I’m at the ceiling of how many I’ll get, I’m not going to manufacture them by asking for more follows. If people see my work and don’t appreciate it they are not going to follow me. If more people follow me that’s great, but at this point I don’t care if I lose followers along the way.
BC: I don’t think it would work to spam for followers anyway because you built your following organically, so you would lose what got you in your position in the first place.
KM: Yeah I would agree with that. There are people who buy followers but anyone who has seen my timeline knows I don’t try and do stuff like that. I have a suspicion that maybe 10-15% of my followers are probably fake.
BC: Given how much you are Tweeting, what are your thoughts on Matt Savage’s Social Experiment, which bans smartphones?
KM: I appreciate Matt’s attempts there. The number of people who have been so vehemently against this idea – it’s $350 tournament that’s an experiment – it’s annoying how so many people have been trying to find loopholes in the event. I don’t play a ton of live tournaments but I’m not sure that the social aspect is a prevalent as people think it is in tournaments compared to cash games where you are playing with the same people a lot of the time. It depends on who sits there, if it’s eight ‘kids’ in hoodies you are not going to get that social aspect, if it’s a more diverse line up the conversation may happen more organically. Phones may not help that, but I’m not sure people want eight Mike Dentales at the table either. We all want fun at the table but we are playing for money. I hope it does well, especially because of the $100,000 guarantee.
BC: Finally, what could commercial operators be doing better on Twitter, in your opinion?
KM: Some sites provide updates without providing links to the event or to the live updates they’re providing. Others tend to over tweet their big events, to the point that it could get annoying. I’m certain guilty of doing this myself, it’s a bit of a balancing act.
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