Throughout 2016, poker players and personalities have flocked to third-party casting platforms such as YouTube and Twitch to increase their reach among poker fans.
Once a fringe activity, poker live casting has taken off this calendar year with new and familiar faces, such as UpswingPoker Lab creator Doug Polk, who strive to inform and entertain increasingly engaged audiences.
Although social media websites such as Facebook and Periscope have made forays into the live streaming marketplace this year, audiovisual poker content still has its roots and largest viewership ratings on YouTube and Twitch. Therefore, this article will look at some of the pros and cons of each platform in an effort to guide new streaming personalities towards the best choice.
YouTube Poker Pros & Cons
YouTube has dominated the archived video content airways for more than a decade and is currently the second largest search engine in the world behind Google. Poker players who are looking to make a name for themselves or increase their already-existing brand can create content at their leisure, edit clips into short segments and present a highly-revised product to fans around the globe.
The prepared nature of YouTube content along with the potential large-scale viewership reserved for top videos means that creativity is key for poker players looking to monetize a new YouTube channel, but being unique will only get a personality so far. Factors such as video length, titles, as well as watch time and thumbnails should be be carefully considered in order to get a leg up on the competition.
YouTube accounts must become “partnered” before any channel monetization can begin — but once that has been set up, a poker personality can program content creation around his or her schedule and view detailed analytical information that outlines how videos are being received.
Unfortunately, YouTube is notorious for its lack of outreach with the very content creators who have made it the behemoth it is today. This year, a slew of clips have been uploaded by high profile YouTubers (many with well over 1 million subscribers) which specifically complain about not being able to effectively defend against DMCA Takedown notices or communicate with staff members to troubleshoot or resolve issues.
Still, having an archived library of quality YouTube content is a sure-fire way for a poker enthusiast to generate some amount of revenue while establishing a brand through actual poker play and/or commentary.
Twitch Poker Pros & Cons
Twitch Poker has grown in leaps and bounds this past calendar year and is the go-to platform for poker fans who wish to watch real money poker in a live setting (with a short delay to prevent hole card sniping). The live streaming aspect of Twitch Poker is more along the lines of a traditional “broadcast,” with personalities having the option to make Videos on Demand (VODs) available to premium subscribers or the general public.
Being able to interact in a live setting with poker fans is crucial for many players who consistently stream on Twitch Poker, and the Twitch Partner program is set up to reward top personalities through premium subscriptions, advertisements and donations.
When compared to its main competitor, Amazon-owned Twitch has invested heavily in assisting content creators with getting the most out of the platform. Aside from a dedicated category and a relatively easy setup process, Twitch Poker also routinely assists new streamers and has an actual human being (Scott Ball, Global Head of Poker Partnerships) at the helm who is active in the community.
Despite this, “live streaming” isn’t for all poker players, specifically tournament specialists who find it difficult to react to busting out of an event in real time. Creating a schedule for your Twitch viewers may be easy, but following it could prove impossible for those who are easily discouraged by initial low view counts and negative short-term results.
YouTube, Twitch or Both?
Before investing time and money to promote a YouTube or Twitch channel, poker players should further research which platform is the best fit for their particular skill set and budget. Grainy video feeds, poor audio and unreliable Internet will automatically doom a personality’s potential for growth, so these issues should be investigated and resolved well before any promotional efforts take place.
There are an enormous amount of resources available on the Internet for streamers and casters who wish to find out more about taking their poker channel to the next level. With a solid startup plan, modest investment and a desire to grow, poker players can gain an invaluable connection with fans through platforms such as YouTube and Twitch while increasing their overall brand exposure.
Best of luck at the tables!
David Huber is an editorial writer and consultant for UpswingPoker.com, a poker strategy website headed by featured pros Doug Polk, Ryan Fee and Matt Colletta.