What’s in a Name? – They Call Me Pokercubster

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What’s in a Name?

world series of poker 2010


Branding ourselves as authors on our platforms, social media and blogs with alias names or unrelated names for the work we produce, sometimes becomes an oversight as time passes and we connect with a growing readership. It’s essential to build a platform as published authors to gain new readership and let the world know that  us and our books exist. But many of us don’t realize that  not using our name (or pen name) for these purposes, can potentially present problems down the line.


I broke the rules before I even published my first book.

My Twitter handle is pretty out there when I share links and retweets. In fact, if you’ve ever read any guest posts by me and saw my shared social links below a post, you’d see a little tag line beside my Twitter URL stating: “Yes, there’s a story to this name.” – Pokercubster.

I’ve had that on my links for so long, but only recently while I was guest posting at Esmesalon, did I get questioned about it from Esme and Carol Taylor of Retired and No One Told Me. I thought it was funny because nobody ever cared to ask until then.

When I began writing my book and working on my platform by adding new social media accounts, I already had a Twitter account I’d opened in 2010, so I was good . . . or so I thought.  As I was getting closer to publication date and adding my social links to the back of my book, I began to question myself about keeping that handle I’d already established on Twitter. I already had a few hundred followers and wasn’t sure if I should start fresh or grow it. The problem was the name I went by, that handle was related to my name I went by when I used to play online poker and went to Las Vegas frequently to play in some live tournaments. I also visited the World Series of Poker there two years in a row where I’d befriended some pro poker players, so I didn’t want to lose the connections.

Me and a few pros I jumped in photo ops with:

Me and poker pro


Poker pals

Poker pro


In hindsight, I should have ditched the handle because it doesn’t have any bearing on my writing name, but I did seek some advice from my then mentor, almost famous now, horror author, James Thorn, who had basically held my hand through beta reading and the publishing process. I asked James what his thoughts were about my dilemma.

He responded by asking me if the handle had anything to do with me or my ‘book’. At the time, it was my first book and I couldn’t see the long term. I told him in my past I’d worked in the gaming industry for quite a few years from casino to private companies dealing Blackjack and Poker and moving up to Pit Boss, and of course, it was my passion for playing poker where I’d play online tournaments in the evenings and weekends. And I told him I mentioned a bit of my ‘dealing days’ in my book.

Playing poker online, I’d chosen that name for my avatar. Nobody uses their real name and my husband calls me by the nickname ‘Cub’, so I thought it was slick to be the Pokercubster. Besides, I didn’t want to be Pokercub without the ‘ster’ on it because I didn’t want to be mistaken for a baseball Cub’s fan when my team is the Toronto Blue Jays.

James told me I then had a choice to make, but if I felt okay with it to keep it. Foolishly, I did. I say foolishly because really, the name has no bearing on my writing life now, I was sentimentally attached to it. And so, in honor of the ‘good old days’, studying and playing professional poker, I became a writer and continued to build my following as Pokercubster on Twitter.

In hindsight, I should have used my author name for my Twitter handle, but I decided to remain as @pokercubster Click To Tweet

I sure do miss those exciting days. My passion for writing took over my passion for poker, and the long hours it took to play a tournament became gobbled up by the longer hours taken to become a writer, publisher, blogger and marketer. Would I change anything about that now? The answer is no, not even my Twitter handle.


Name: D.G. Kaye job Title: Author Business: DGKayewriter.com Image: https://dgkayewriter.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/World-series-of-Poler-2010-e1527610390683.jpg Facebook Url: Facebook Twitter Url: Twitter Instagram Url: Instagram LinkedIn Url: LinkedIn Pinterest Url: Pinterest Google+ Url: Google+

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  1. Excellent post Debby.. I have done the same and cannot change now as it is in all my marketing material and in the back of existing print books. I have reblogged on Saturday.. hugs ♥

    1. Lol, Sal, we certainly are a pair! And thank you ONCE AGAIN, for sharing on your blog. <3 <3

  2. We tried to learn how to play poker on the Equinox, but the rules were so complex and we just didn’t have a clue!

    1. Lol Stevie. There’s an old saying: You can learn the rules of poker in a few minutes, but for some, it takes a lifetime to master. There are rules, but poker is all about strategy and having a great poker face. And let me tell you, if you’ve never played, the cruiseship casino is not the place to learn, or even play. When I first began cruising I played on the cruise but quickly learned about the bad players ruining the game, so even I stopped playing onboard, lol. 🙂

  3. Whoa! That’s a cool story, Sis. I bet you’ve got stories to tell for sure! 😍🤣❤️

    1. Omg, oodles! 🙂 <3

  4. Debby, I wondered about your Twitter handle but never thought about asking (probably because I wouldn’t think about it until I was retweeting your content). It probably adds to the intrigue. It shows that we are human beings and not selling machines. I can’t play poker but I’ve always been curious about the game. Great post!

    1. Thank you so much Olga. Yes, we are human, it’s not all about the almighty dollar 🙂

  5. I think those of us who are passionate about writing are, well, passionate people. No surprise before writing, you loved poker. In my case, I opened multiple Twitter accounts for my different passions so I could focus. For example, @usnaorbust is about my passion for America. And @askatechteacher is my tech ed teacher hat. Keeps me organized.

    I like your poker handle!

    1. Thanks Jacqui. I also thought about a new handle, after it was too late, lol. Besides, I don’t think I’d want yet another social site or name to babysit. 🙂

  6. I figured your twitter handle was to do with your poker, Las Vegas passion. It’s fun!! I like the pics you’ve shared here. Looks as though poker may be a good way to meet men LOL. Not that i’m looking…just sayin’.

    I like that you use your initials as your author name. My name is so boring. I’m going to write under a pseudonym when I write some erotica. Great topic, Deb. I think you were right to leave your handle. It’s part of YOU.

    1. Thanks so much for chiming in Lis. Lol, yes, you can meet tons of people playing poker. I made many online friends who became real friends. But I’m not sure I’d want to be dating poker players. For many of them, that’s their life. For me it was a recreational hobby. 🙂

  7. Debby, I have wondered about your twitter name and love learning more about it. I’m glad you’re not chaning it – so much part of who you are/were and it’s easily memorable. I’m glad you had such help on your first book, it makes all the difference during a very daunting time. By the way those are fabulous photos of you with the guys!

    1. Thanks for sharing your view Annika. I know it’s a strange name, but people are familiar with it now, so I won’t be changing it. 🙂

  8. <3 Debby, always….it's all part of you and your history and how you got to here and it is what it is. I wonder sometimes if we are encouraged to 'over think' in this pressurised 'instant' society of ours. It is what it is and it's you. <3 Xxx hugs <3

    1. Thanks for the seal of approval my lovely. And you are so right. At first I didn’t give my handle any thought and continued to use it and only when getting ready to publish I started over-thinking. You’re right, it’s part of me and it stays!! 🙂 <3 hugs flowing back your way! xox

  9. Ahhhh and now I know…I wish I could play poker my face always gives me away…lol..Thank you for the little plug…My twitter handle was just me being me …A few names were taken when I originally set it up and on a whim I just entered @TheRealCarolT and now that man has the same handle as me…I wonder did he copy me? 🙂 xxx I don’t think you should change it 🙂 xx

    1. LOL glad you enjoyed Carol. You inspired me :). And, what? Someone has the same handle as you? How can that be? <3

  10. Very interesting. Never played poker after living in a barracks while in Vietnam. Even then, not for money. None of us had enough to gamble with LOL. Hey, it’s your history so why not relive it with a handle.

    1. Lol thanks. Also, I recall seeing in war movies, soldiers playing for cigarettes. 🙂

  11. Ah, so that’s the explanation! I know your Twitter handle well because I see it on social media, so it’s never been a problem for me. I opened a Twitter account before I started my blog and writing memoir: @martabeaman

    It’s a throwback to when I fell in love my husband (then boyfriend) watching The Sound of Music three times. One of the characters is named Marta, thus the “marta” in my handle.

    1. Thanks Marian. I’m glad you recognize my tweets; all the more reason for sticking with it. And thanks for sharing the meaning behind your name, I thought it may have been your Mennonite name LOL. And yes, I know The Sound of Music well. I must have watched it over 100 times in my lifetime 🙂 But now I want to now why Cliff associated you with Marta? 🙂 Curious minds want to know. x

  12. Hey Deb, Lovely post about your handle! I think your website looks a bit off today…heard other self-hosted blogs are having issues. When I started tweeting, I called myself redhdwindsurfer, (redheadwindsurfer), then “rebranded” the blog and other website to Windigen which changed the twitter to Windigenredhead, yes a mouthful. Too lazy to change it now. PokerCubster is too cute though!

    1. Hi Ter, thanks for sharing your own dilemmas with Twitter. Well, it is what is, I don’t plan on changing now either. People know my odd name by now, lol. And oh, what the heck are you finding wonky on my site. I’m so tired of wearing so many hats lol. <3

  13. I don’t think Twitter handles matter all that much in relation to our platform, as long as our profile name is our author name and our blog is linked to our Twitter account. A problem arises when an author doesn’t link their blog to Twitter or list their Twitter account in the sidebar, and their name doesn’t appear in their profile or handle. If you’re not already following them on Twitter, finding them is next to impossible. Love the photos, Deb. You’ll be a hoot on our cruise! ❤️

    1. Thanks for your practical thinking and sharing here T. You make a good point, yes, my name is on my account and a short bio and lord knows I’m everywhere. If someone wants to find me they will LOLLLLLLLLLL 🙂 <3

  14. I have wondered a couple of times about your Twitter handle. Now I know 🙂

    1. Lol, thanks Jeri. I know I sometimes wonder what a person’s handle has to do with their name too. 🙂

  15. I remember noticing your handle, Debby, and wondering about it, but then moving on. It’s kind of fun to know the history. My twitter name is about the only thing that IS my name. *Sigh* We live and learn. It was fun hearing about the history of the name!

    1. Thanks Diana. At least you did the right thing with your name. But for me, at this point – I aint fixin’ 🙂 x

  16. “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”…that’s what comes to my mind when I think of your twitter handle Deb. Your writing style speaks for itself and this handle adds some passion to it. I love the way it is. I have never played poker though 🙂 🙂

    1. Lol, I love that Balroop. I’m happy to hear so many of you are with my decision. I am who I am. 🙂 x

  17. Just lost my whole comment! Just to say I loved this post Deb, I had no idea you were such a pro at Poker, I thought you picked your handle name because you enjoyed playing the odd game or two lol! Love reading about your life and fab photos. So glad to read at the end that you wouldn’t change a thing. Just the way it should be, my friend! 🙂 <3 <3 <3

    1. Yup, I’m full of surprises Sher, lol. And btw, both your comments came through. Lol WP is playing games with everyone these days. <3 :) xxx

  18. I´d somehow hinted it 🙂
    But it is such a cool name, why would you change it?…
    Love the story behind the handle, the emotional attachment associated with it… & the pics 🙂 All the best to you, Debbie

    1. PS: One of these days, you´ll have to show us a pic with your best “POKER FACE” 😀

      1. Lolllllllllllllll, I wish I had one for you but no cameras allowed at the tables. 🙂 x

    2. Aw thanks Aqui. I’m definitely not going to change it now. Glad you liked the little history behind it. 🙂 <3

  19. Hi Debby – interesting to know how the name came about; but also to read about your passion for casino games and your work there … no wonder you went that route – but that’s fine … it adds another dimension and could open up the doors for other styles of writing … but yes … fun history – cheers Hilary

    1. Hi Hilary. I’m so glad you enjoyed. You’re right, who knows what I may come up with for future writing. That’s the beauty of writing isn’t it? 🙂 x

  20. I always wondered about your Twitter handle but never asked as I figured it was part of a book of yours I hadn’t read. Aha, now I know the true story, you poker gal you 😉 Loved learning more about you here.

    1. Lol, the cat is out of the bag now Christy. Thanks. <3

    1. Thank you my tireless supporter Sal for sharing on your blog. <3 xoxo

  21. I have noticed, Debby, that a lot of twitter handles are unrelated to the account holders name or writing. I don’t think it matters really. My passion for writing seems to be overcoming my passion for baking at the moment.

    1. Thanks for chiming in Robbie. You are right. And I don’t think many of us authors anticipated how our handles would reflect on our work later in time. Just think of ourselves as unique. 🙂

  22. I alaways wondered if it had someting to do with poker but, like most of us, never really thought to ask! Glad you;ve filled us in.

    1. Thanks Mary, I know some would never ask to be polite too, 🙂

  23. I’ve seen the mention to poker on your Amazon Author page and I’m sure that you mentioned it to me in an email that you played poker. I think those kinds of names do raise people’s curiosity and gets many to click on the link to check out more details. I’m sure there are many more lady poker players, but you’re the first one I know.
    Great story, Debby, and great photos.

    1. Thanks Hugh – “I coulda been a contender!” Lol 🙂 xx

  24. Debby, when we first connected I did wonder about your twitter handle. It’s unique and stands out. That’s pretty cool. Thanks for sharing the story of its origin. And adding the ster is too funny…let’s go Blue Jays! Awesome pictures, too. Cheers! 🙂

    1. Lol, thank you my wonderful Canadian friend. 🙂 <3

  25. I have always wondered about your moniker Pokercubster. When I first followed you on Twitter, the first thing that came to my mind was, wow, what an interesting Twitter handle for a writer. It is unique and one that I’ve come to associate as you…even without having known the backstory until now. Never would have pegged you for playing poker and blackjack…but I guess we all have our different sides 🙂

    1. Lol Mabel, surprise! I’ve been called an enigma, elusive and unpredictable, and I’m quite alright with that. I’m kind of like a Jill of all trades, and master of none, LOL 🙂 xx

      1. You are one of many talents, Debbie. Always good to be a Jack or Jill of all trades…I definitely would be that rather than a master at one thing as I like being a mystery too. So much easier to get out of trouble 🙂

        1. Lol Mabel. I suppose it’s good to know a little bit about a lot of things. 😉

  26. Thank you for explaining your Twitter handle, Debby. I had always wondered and knew that I’d hear the story before long (never liked to ask). It’s an interesting story so I’m pleased you kept the name. Without it, the story would lose something in the telling. Oh, and I’m pleased you turned from poker to writing. I think your writing is far more fun – for me! 🙂

    1. Lol, thanks for the compliment Norah. And it’s been interesting hearing from some here saying they’ve been curious about the name but never wanted to ask. Secret revealed! 🙂

  27. Even though writing is the label that best describes us, aren’t we all more than that? I think keeping the poker handle is wonderful, just in the sense that it adds more to YOU. Make sense? This was awesome, Debby. I rarely use that trendy, overused word, but it fits!!

    1. Oh thanks for chiming in Jennie. It’s definitely part of me for so long, so I’m glad everyone is on the same page. I’m keeping it. 🙂 x

  28. I didn’t ask because I assumed it was just as you’ve written–or close enough. I knew of your love for Vegas and made the assumption you’d chosen the name early on and it went with your love of poker and gaming. Since I know nothing about that world, I let it go. My son changed his musician name to his given name at some point. It just felt too complicated and he’s glad he did. I began with my given name (thank you, Swenson Book Development) so never faced the issue. Go Pokercubster

    1. Lol, thanks Elaine. Yes, if I could start over I would change it, but now, it’s part of who I am. 🙂

  29. I enjoyed reading the back story about your Twitter handle, Debby. And, it makes me realize now that I better get my act together and decide what I want to use whenever I start a Twitter Account, and whether to change anything in regards to my existing social media outlets, as I’ve not come far (yet) in regards to a following…

    1. Well now is the time to start building Liesbet. Decide what names you’d like on social sites so you’re ready set go! 🙂 x

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