Living large online
The most recent evolution in human culture is also the one that has done the most to change the world and the most quickly. The internet is undoubtedly the most important cultural development in history. Although mainly message boards drove the early internet, from the mid-2000s social media started to kick in and the result was the total transformation of everything. Suddenly the internet became a tool to connect with people socially. Messaging programs allowed users to connect with friends, strangers – anyone in real time. You could read books, share music and videos, explore weird obsessions, and play online Blackjack – everything that existed started to migrate to the world online. Blackjack and other traditional casino games found a new home on the internet – and gamers and gamblers found a new way to express and brand themselves on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitch. Meet three of gambling’s biggest internet stars.
Sodapoppin – born Chance Morris in 1994 – is an all-round social media phenomenon. He started streaming games on Twitch in 2012 after switching from Xfire. Then he switched to online blackjack. In 2014 and 2015, Sodapoppin played thousands of games of blackjack in online casinos – and streamed his games on the Internet. One of his most famous moments was losing $5000 on one hand of blackjack – and throwing a tantrum in front of 43,000 viewers. That was in May 2015. Today, Sodapoppin has one of the largest followings on Twitch, boasting more than 2.5 million followers and 200 million views. Sodapoppin’s YouTube channel has more than 1,000,000 subscribers and over 330,000,000 views as of February 2019. Formerly a successful World of Warcraft player who reached top rank in view of more than half of the WoW players on Twitch, Sodapoppin says the only way to enjoy WoW is to make up your own entertainment and challenges. “The only way to have fun is to make your own fun.”
King of Instagram
Dan Bilzerian was born in Tampa, Florida. His father worked on Wall Street and owned a robotics company. Dan wanted to do his own thing, though, and headed for Lake Tahoe with his father’s trust fund money at the age of 25. After winning a few small gambling tournaments, he took part in bigger events and competed successfully in the World Series of Poker Main Event in 2009. This landed him a million-dollar contract with Victory Poker, a now defunct online casino, to promote their brand. By this time, Dan was playing high stakes poker at his house in LA with Hollywood stars like Tobey Maguire, Mark Wahlberg, and Nick Cassavetes. Jumping onto the Instagram wave, he became famous for being famous and now he has over 27 million followers on Instagram, as well as 1 million followers on Twitter. Part of the fascination is his crazy sense of humour and over-the-top lifestyle. Girls in various stages of undress feature heavily in his feed. He also has a marked fondness for guns. For all these reasons, he is known as The King of Instagram.
Million dollar touch
Although he’s not quite at the same level as Dan Bilzerian, “Vegas Dave” Oancea is still one of the biggest sports betters on social media. He first came to public attention during the 2015 Major League Baseball season when he placed a $100,000 future bet at 30-1 for the Royals to win the World Series in Week 1. That won him nearly $2.5 million and “Vegas Dave” started living the lifestyle of the rich and famous, clubbing at the best Las Vegas nightclubs and always surrounded by Instagram models. More big wins came, like a $240,000 payout on a $20,000 ticket betting on Holly Holm against Ronda Rousey in 2015 – and a $1,000,000 win on the Denver Broncos at Super Bowl 50. Today “Vegas Dave” has more than 1,000,000 followers on his combined Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts.