Twitch Poker Informational Guide
Over the past year, Twitch has consistently worked its way into the poker realm as a growing number of players cast their real-time experiences for the world to see. Many serious and casual poker players alike find that sharing their play is not only motivating, but can result in some amount of extra income if a large viewership is obtained.
Following is a Twitch Poker Informational Guide geared towards helping poker players make the transition to broadcasting.
Twitch Poker — What Is It?
Twitch is a website that enables real-time “streaming” of game-based activity. Although it is heavily dominated by traditional video games, Twitch Poker has its own category and there are over 10,000 viewers who tune-in daily to watch their favorite personalities play online poker.
The attraction of the Twitch platform is that not only can viewers enjoy on-demand audio/visual programming, but they can interact in real time with the streamer, also referred to as the caster.
For most online poker play there is a 3-to-15 minute delay on the action to ensure opponents aren’t able to angle-shoot casters by seeing their hole cards. Otherwise it makes for the most viable way to watch poker players compete for real money prizes as it happens.
Twitch Poker — How to Get Started
The best resource to read for getting started as a Twitch Poker broadcaster is our 8 Step Guide to Twitch Live Streaming for poker players. This guide includes hardware and software requirements as well as useful tips on how to get the most out of your poker live streaming experience.
One point from the article worth reiterating is that a Twitch streamer must have a reliable, preferably hard-wired Internet connection with an Upload speed of no less than 4MBPS. Without this, there is no way a person can expect to become a successful streamer on Twitch, poker or otherwise.
Another thing worth noting is that you don’t necessarily have to be a world class, nosebleed-stakes poker player to succeed as a Twitch streamer. Poker play and live broadcasting are two completely separate skill sets and even a recreational player can cultivate a reasonably large viewership if he or she is engaging enough.
Aside from a relatively new PC/Mac and a decent webcam plus microphone, it is necessary to download and install live streaming software. This can be done for free, and the most widely used program is Open Broadcasting Software — commonly referred to as OBS. (And is officially recommended by Twitch!)
This program is easy to set up and lets a beginning streamer customize settings such as webcam dimensions, audio volume, and of course — screen display. If you need assistance configuring OBS, a YouTube Tutorial on how to use OBS for Twitch live streaming by EposVox is extremely reliable and easy to follow.
If you’re downloading a more recent version of OBS, then there may be some Settings prompts that are slightly different, but none that you won’t be able to comprehend after watching the YouTube video linked above.
There are two things that you will definitely want to do before going live with a Twitch Poker stream:
1) Go into your OBS Settings and designate a “Stream Delay” so that your hole cards aren’t broadcast in real time. The typical delay time for online poker is 3-15 minutes depending on available time banks.
2) Go into your Twitch account Settings (you can do this via the Drop Down Menu that displays your account name at the top of the page) and make sure you are archiving your videos.
Settings > Channel & Videos > Check “Automatically Archive My Broadcasts”
You can delete “Past Broadcasts” later or wait for them to be automatically removed after a couple of weeks.
If you’re having trouble with OBS setup, feel free to leave a comment below this article or email [email protected] and one of us will be glad to reply within about 24 business-day hours.
Twitch Poker — The Biggest Personalities
One name has become synonymous with Twitch Poker, and that name is Jason Somerville. He’s the undisputed king of poker live streaming, and has parlayed his broadcasting talents and massive viewership into sponsorship deals with PokerStars and Daily Fantasy Sports behemoth DraftKings.
If you want to know what Twitch Poker streaming is all about, head over to Somerville’s Twitch.tv/jcarverpoker account and tune-in during his next show. Somerville actually eclipsed 35,000 concurrent (or unique) viewers at one time during a 2015 WCOOP show — viewership numbers that were previously only enjoyed by ultra-popular video game channels.
Another big name on the Twitch Poker scene is Jaime Staples (aka “PokerStaples”). This young Canadian poker player has made a name for himself worldwide with a near-daily stream that consistently attracts thousands of concurrent viewers.
Although a historically successful online poker player, Staples does not market himself as the best poker player on the planet. He focuses heavily on viewer interaction during his streams and is an extremely accommodating to those who participate in chat.
When he began streaming on Twitch in late 2014, Staples was a relatively unknown poker player. Now, he is a Friend of PokerStars. You can check out his Twitch channel at Twitch.tv/pokerstaples.
For more information on who the “movers and shakers” are in the Twitch Poker streaming industry, consult our 5 Twitch Streamers To Watch article.
Twitch Poker — Why Is It Popular?
Twitch Poker has become popular among viewers because it can serve as free, web-based training, taking place in real time (or with a short delay of a few minutes). Viewers can interact with their favorite personalities while watching real money competition as it happens.
However, Twitch Poker is also very attractive to anyone who becomes a top-tier caster. Once your Twitch account has been approved for Partnership Status (this usually requires a consistent stream with several hundred concurrent viewers), a poker player can actually make money off of streaming.
Partnered Twitch Accounts can generate revenue from their broadcasts by enticing viewers to Subscribe to their channel for a monthly fee of $4.99 (in most cases, half of this goes to Twitch, and half to the caster) and by running pre-roll, mid-roll, and post-roll Advertisements.
Granted, the money that can be made off of Subscription fees and advertisements is negligible without a large viewership, but it is still something to strive for if you’re getting into live streaming.
The other way Twitch streamers can subsidize their broadcasting activity is through Donations. This can be set up via a verified PayPal account regardless of whether you are partnered with Twitch or not. The Twitch Viewing Community is very supportive in general of shows they enjoy — which provides further motivation to beginning streamers looking to grow their audience.
Twitch Poker — Give It a Try
Thanks to the availability of free software and basic startup costs, streaming your poker-based activity on Twitch is a very low-risk affair. If you decide for any reason that it’s not for you after trying it out, you haven’t really lost much and can simply go back to your previous routine without having lost much of anything.
Discover what Twitch Poker is all about and perhaps you’ll become the next Jason Somerville or Jaime Staples of poker live streaming.