Was Doug Polk’s birthday tweet offensive?

Was Doug Polk’s birthday tweet offensive?
Poker writer Geoff Fisk profile photo
Geoff Fisk
Posted on: December 17, 2020 05:08 PST

Polk tweeted that 2020 was one of his favorite years, prompting backlash from Dan Shak

Doug Polk celebrates his 32nd birthday this week and does so amid a successful return to poker. 

Polk started playing again in 2020 after more than a year away from the game and is currently up big in his highly-publicized heads-up match against archrival Daniel Negreanu.

Polk tweeted Wednesday that 2020 was one of his “favorite” years:

“Turn 32 today, tbh this was one of my favorite years. Didnt have to put pants on at all. Made a bunch of money. The Dream,” tweeted Polk.

The post garnered nearly a thousand likes within three hours of its appearance. Not everyone in the poker community shared Polk’s enthusiasm for 2020, however, sparking a debate on whether it’s acceptable to celebrate personal success in the year of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Businessman and longtime high-stakes poker player Dan Shak responded to Polk with the following tweet:

“Happy birthday but maybe one day you will realize that a good year is not about you making a bunch of money this year with so many people suffering and dying and losing jobs hopefully one day you will realize that a good year for is more than just how you are doing,” wrote Shak in the tweet.

Shak expanded his thoughts in a subsequent tweet as he and Polk went back and forth.

“Not a good look calling this year one of your favorites,” Shak wrote. “Makes it look like a good year to you is only about how you are doing. Hopefully as you get older and mature you will realize that. Again happy BD not an attack advise.”

Is it wrong to celebrate personal success achieved in 2020?

Polk posted a separate tweet in the aftermath of the exchange with Shak, facetiously apologizing for his original post.

“Just want to apologize for anyone this offended. I shouldn't be happy while there is so much suffering. I also am sorry for having made money and of course, worst of all, being born a white male,” Polk tweeted.

Shak’s take on Polk’s tweet had its supporters, but most of the comments in the thread sided with Polk. “Action Ashley” responded to Shak’s retort with this post:

“It’s his birthday. He’s excited for himself,” read the response from “Action Ashley.” “I never understood tweets like this. It’s like you look for reasons to needle people for things they didn’t actually do but use “situational” aspects in the world to make people try to feel bad.”

Twitter user “The Sweetest Swing” expanded on those sentiments:

“Agreed. This mindset is sort of like policing thought. Yes, 2020 has obviously been an awful year for much of the world. But the notion that *every* public comment has to acknowledge the context of the most serious things going on in society (or be deemed insensitive) is asinine,” tweeted “The Sweetest Swing.”

PokerShares founder Mike “Timex” McDonald managed to get a needle in on Negreanu with his response in the thread:

“+1. Think of people like Daniel Negreanu who spent 2020 being tormented while having their financial resources destroyed by things well outside their control,” McDonald tweeted.

The debate on this topic expands far beyond the poker community in the tumultuous era of COVID-19. This particular Twitter thread started by Polk, however, saw the majority of responses express that it's ok to celebrate personal success in 2020.

Featured image source: Twitter