PokerUpdate.com contributor Robbie Strazynski caught up with PokerStars Pro Jaime Staples at the 2016 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure in the Bahamas and talked about a wide variety of topics that were SO SICK! Check it out for yourself!
And be sure to stick with PokerUpdate here and on Twitter @PokerUpdate to get all the updates at the 2016 PCA!
Hey everybody! We are here, again, at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (‘PCA’) 2016. I’m Robbie Strazynski for PokerUpdate.com. I think you’ve heard of this guy. Who is this guy? What’s your name?
Hello! Jaime Staples! Nice to meet you guys.
Jaime Staples!! We’re so happy! Twitch superstar – everybody loves Jaime Staples. Thank you so much! He’s also the December PokerUpdate.com Baller of the Month.
Baller of the month! I’ve never had that sort of title before so I’ve been gloating it all over my friends a lot. Hey, hey – Baller of the month for December.
Not so many of those ballers yet, but you’re definitely setting the trend. Anyway, thank you very much for taking the time to spend with us. We’re going to ask you a few questions, and I think everyone is going to be entertained.
So, this is your first PCA!
What’s it like?
It’s amazing! So I’ve only been to south of the US, right? I’ve never been to the tropics so coming here, I didn’t really know what to expect. Then when I get here I’m just like, wow! I need to keep coming here. I don’t think I’ll miss another one again until they’re over. It’s just too great. You know that feeling when you open up your hotel door, and then you look out and see the ocean? Then you’re like, okay, this is it. So I’m having a great time so far. I haven’t actually been able to play any poker yet, but the main event starts tomorrow.
I just got back from Prague in December, so I sort of know the EPT structure and what to expect. I’m really looking forward to that.
Are you liking the transition to live events from online? You’re starting to do that more and more.
A little bit more, yeah. I’m still an online kid at heart, but I enjoy it, for sure.
Cool, very cool! Well, we know that at one point you had an aspiration of being a professional golfer, right?
I did, yes.
So what made you switch to poker and what similarities do you see between golf and poker?
Well, I failed, I guess. I realized that it wasn’t going to happen. So I did spend most of my days from maybe 12 or 13 until 18 just trying to be good, play all day – the same way I treat poker, where I put a lot of resources into it. I figured out that it was tough. Golf is a really tough game to get top level.
I can’t get the ball in the hole! It’s hard.
I didn’t have enough financial resources or natural talent to get it done. That sort of coincided with finding poker. I was like: ‘This is interesting. I can compete with my mind! This is cool.’
And from home!
And from home, yeah! And the Bahamas as well, eventually! So I really just liked the game as soon as I found it, and started trying to get better by competing against my friends. It’s a natural fit. In terms of golf and poker, I think the mental aspect has huge correlation, where, to be successful, you need to focus on input as opposed to result.
Right, doing the best you can do.
Absolutely. So I think that really helped my poker game, you know, starting to think like that from when I was 13 and trying to get better at it.
You’ve been playing since you were 13?
I played golf when I was 12 or 11, but I got serious at 13. I was like: ‘Okay, this is it!’
Ah, okay! When did you start poker? How old were you?
I was 18 and a half or so.
Right, and now he’s an old man at 25!
24? Wow! You look not a day older than 23.
I still get ID’ed everywhere.
Yeah, I’ve got the baby face.
Well yeah, okay, he’s the PokerStars sponsored pro! Everyone loves Jaime Staples. Well one place people obviously recognize you is Twitch. ‘Twitch Stars’ – You, Jason Somerville, etc. What is it that prompted you to start the Twitch channel in the first place and do that sort of broadcast? Did you have a goal of some sort with it?
So, a big part of it was actually Jason Somerville. I actually saw his stream and thought it was cool, but it coincided with me dropping out of school and deciding to pursue poker full time – which took a while to really gain the confidence to actually do, but I did. So it was great timing. Twitch Poker started and I thought it was going to be fun – getting to hang out with people, being able to explain my thought process, play better, and I might make a little revenue on the side. So I thought it was a win-win-win. I started, and then I kinda just didn’t stop.
Had you ever been in front of the camera before?
So you just jumped right in?
It was a learning curve for sure.
Well you’ve certainly done well. That’s very cool. How many followers do you have now, on Twitch?
I think we’re at 51,000.
That’s a lot of followers! Wow.
It’s been a very good year, and I’m very grateful for all the people.
Congrats man, that’s fantastic! Well what do you the top 2-3 reasons are for Twitch being the future of online poker?
First off, I think that’s what the intention is. It’s such a huge site that the amount of eyeballs watching the content is massive, right? It’s huge exposure for poker. So I think that’s a big part of it. Second off, online poker is really interesting. For me personally, I think it’s more interesting than live poker twitch.
I guess because you’re engaging with people.
You’re engaging with people and you’re getting three times as many hands per table and you’re face-to-face with a real human being. I think the content is something we haven’t seen before and I think poker sites like PokerStars are really starting to appreciate the content. They’re like: ‘Okay, this is something special that we have here. This is showcasing our product – online poker.’
Certainly is. I couldn’t agree more. Okay, we’ll talk about the future of online poker. One of the futures is PokerStars is probably going to New Jersey soon as they got the license to operate there. Now, you’re Canadian – from the great white north, eh?
I am, yes!
Will you be doing some activity with down south in New Jersey?
I don’t know. I don’t have any plans, and I don’t have any inside information. I’m completely on the outside.
No, no, this is not an attempt at inside information!
Obviously I’m very excited to see poker back in the US, and PokerStars back in the US. I don’t know the timeline or anything, I don’t know if I would be there or not, but I’d love to participate in whatever happens. I want to grow the game.
I get it! Cool. Everytime we turn around, we know Jason Somerville, we know yourself, we know Joey Ingram – all very big streamers – let’s say someone really wants to start, what’s a good way to start? You can’t get to the top in three seconds. You said you jumped in yourself, so from your personal experience, what would you tell someone who wants to say: ‘Hey, I can do that too, just like Jaime Staples.’
Well, I guess off the front I would say that there’s nothing special about me, at all. I’m just a guy.
And he’s humble too! Look at that.
I just showed up and was like: ‘Okay, I’m gonna do this,’ and just went with it. You can do that, for sure. I think that the thing you need to do is develop a community from the early stages, and that’s what small streamers and people getting into it can do better than myself.
If you have 30 people watching you consistently, you can really invest your time in those people’s lives and what they’re doing and provide them value. If I have 2500 or something, I can’t make those same deep connections.
I hear that. That’s interesting. That’s a good point.
I think that’s how you need to start. You need to find the Twitters of the people that are watching you and rail their deep runs on PokerStars. Just see what’s going on in their lives, provide them value and create that community.
Makes a lot of sense. I mean that’s what I’m going to be doing as soon as I finish this interview here – start my own Twitch channel for PokerUpdate.com.
Oh perfect! There you go.
Okay, well, you’re 24, and you’re an online pro sponsored by the world’s largest poker site – you’re living the dream. Where do you go from here? What are your goals? Where’s Jaime Staples in a year, or 2-3 years from now?
Right. That’s a very in-depth question and I released 2 Vlogs on my YouTube Channel. They’re both around 30 mins, detailing all of my goals for this year and how I’m going to get them done. The short version is that my goal is still to become as good as I can in poker – climb the ranks and try and play the biggest tournaments. This year I want to win a title of some sort, like a Sunday Major, a TCOOP, a WCOOP, a SCOOP, a PCA event, the WSOP Main Event, maybe?
We can make that happen.
Live stream the final table of the Main Event!
So that’s the first goal for me – poker. The second goal used to be become a better streamer, but now I’m doing stuff on my YouTube channel, I’m trying to be better at Instagram and those sort of things. I’m trying to be the person that I look up to.
Wow, did you hear that? He’s trying to be the person he looks up to. That’s a powerful line. That’s a great message to everybody out there. Way to go. Good luck.
That’s a great goal. We’re going to get into some personal business now. Yes we’re playing poker here, and we’re streaming, but we’re in the Bahamas, come on! What do you do for fun when you’re not playing poker or not doing interviews for PokerUpdate.com?
My trip so far has been a lot like: ‘Hey! Do you want to go for lunch and drinks? Yes! You want to go for dinner and drinks? Yes! You want to go for night drinks? Okay!’ So it’s been like a lot of just hanging out with people, and good food and drinks. I haven’t really hit the island yet. I haven’t done the lazy river, but it’s definitely going to happen at some point.
Totally going to happen! A different kind of stream.
I got puns. I’m good with the puns.
Some of my friends went over to the island, actually, and I would really like to check out some of the local spots as well and see what the Bahamian (Bahamian?) culture is all about.
I don’t know! Bahamas culture.
The people in the Bahamas!
I’d like to check it out.
Sounds cool! Okay, so we’re going to go off script now.
I’m going to ask you, Mr Staples: Could you kindly choose a question from the hat and read it to our audience?
I’m a little nervous.
Maybe you can answer it too.
What is the one must-have condiment you need on any sandwich?
Am I supposed to answer this?
If you’d like, you can pick a different question.
No, I’ll do it. I don’t know. I guess it’s mayo.
I guess so. You can’t have mustard on every sandwich, I don’t think.
Not ketchup? Relish?
Ketchup’s too strong. I think it’s gotta be mayo.
Just smooth it out a little bit. #Mayo
Let’s do one more, if it’s alright.
Yeah! That one’s gone – burned.
Burned. Burned and Turned. PokerUpdate Burned & Turned.
Who is your favorite muppet? I haven’t seen the muppet movie in forever. I don’t know the names of the muppets.
Miss Piggy? Fozzie Bear?
I’m a Kermit kind of guy.
Kermit through and through. You heard it here at PokerUpdate.com. Again Jaime, thank you very, very much for spending the time with us. This was really cool.
Yeah, thanks for having me on, man. This was great.
My pleasure. Our pleasure! Yeah, and stay tuned for more awesomeness from Jaime Staples.