Being a poker pro can be an all-consuming job, especially if always improving one’s skills and become a better player. Jason Somerville is that type of pro, who shows that thought process through regular Twitch streaming of his online poker games. Combine that with the hours he puts in on the virtual tables, as well as in the occasional live tournaments. Add in the time he invests in his Twitch channel to get to know his audience and provide interesting games and conversation. And he maintains a strong social media presence through avenues like Twitter.
That is more than enough responsibility for some players, but not Somerville. He has so many irons in the fire that the fireplace is overflowing with content, activities, and materials for fans. And that fan base continues to grow, with everyone from top pros to recreational players wanting to be a part of the Run It Up club.
It should be noted that Somerville is not yet even 30 years old. And everything that he has accomplished thus far is of his own making. Instead of being another face in the crowd at poker events, his personality stood out, and he never ceased to see opportunities to promote poker and a brand he could call his own. Run It Up began to take shape several years ago when he played regularly on the now-defunct Ultimate Poker online poker site, which was regulated in Nevada before it folded. He livestreamed his games online and named his channel Run It UP, with the UP representing Ultimate Poker. His audience quickly grew, and he always found a way to continue his programming, despite the shutdown of Ultimate Poker and all of the other obstacles presented in the current United States market.
Suddenly, the “jcarver” of online poker stardom became one of the most well-known poker pros in the business, and his Run It Up brand was widely credited with popularizing Twitch with online poker fans. And that was only the beginning.
Branding and Promoting
At the core, Somerville loves poker. His passion for the game is strong, as is his desire to bring more people to the tables and show them how much there is to enjoy about poker.
And it was that passion, along with his livestreams and ability to build his RIU brand that caught the eyes of PokerStars executives. Somerville became a member of Team PokerStars Pro in early 2015, which had (and still has, as he remains on the team today) its benefits but also came with responsibilities. In addition to travel to live tournaments and play online, he was tasked with promoting the PokerStars brand in various ways depending upon the needs of the company.
While he took that responsibility seriously, Somerville also found and has maintained a delicate balance between his promotion of PokerStars and that of his own RIU brand. While the two sometimes complement each other, there are also likely times that he has to walk a fine line in order to fulfill contractual obligations. And from the perspective of the public, he is able to do it flawlessly.
Running It Up
The RIU brand is more than just a series of livestreams and archived broadcasts. Somerville created his own website to promote his Twitch channel but to expand Run It Up as well. His online store offers everything from clothing to pins and hats. And his affiliated RIU Stats site provides easy access to all of his previous streams, as well as his personal poker results and statistics that help other players learn and grow their own games.
Several years ago, he also took his Run It Up fun on the road. Each spring, he takes a crew to Reno, where he sets up shop at the Peppermill Resort Spa Casino to offer a series of tournaments and other activities for his fans. Everyone is invited to the open events, which include leaderboard challenges, fun and unique poker variations at the tables, trophies for event winners, and the occasional seminar or meet-and-greet events. The annual event has become a draw for players of all skill levels.
Now, to add to everything else Somerville has undertaken, it seems that he has been working on yet another project that just launched. The RIU Player is a program in the beta testing phase offering the ability to share poker hands from PokerStars. Players can upload a hand, at which point the site converts it into a replay, and it can then be shared with others. The login is through Twitch, and the history replayer handles hands from every game variant offered on PokerStars.
It is unclear if he has anything else up his sleeve at this point. He already appears to be the busiest man in poker, but the entrepreneurial and bold young player is probably already working on new initiatives. That is who Jason Somerville is.