STREAMING SHOWS STRENGTH: Twitch Poker Sees Big Growth During Pandemic

May 18, 2020
STREAMING SHOWS STRENGTH: Twitch Poker Sees Big Growth During Pandemic

With players indoors during the Coronavirus pandemic, online poker sites continue to see huge numbers. But beyond that, Twitch has reported growing viewer numbers in recent weeks as well.

For those who may not know, Twitch is the world’s leading live streaming platform for gamers and owned by Amazon. In recent years that has included a growing number of online poker streamers.

Sites like PokerStars and Global Poker even cater to this segment of player and poker fan. With growing numbers checking out streaming action, the platform offers yet another medium to grow the game.

Twitch Poker numbers continue to grow

While recent numbers released by the platform indicate significant gains since March, poker-related streams aren’t specifically singled out. However, with so many more viewers it’s a good bet some of those are checking out online poker.

According to a recent BBC article, Twitch reported “week-on-week engagement is growing with average concurrent viewers now more than 1.5 million.”

Twitch viewers also increased 31% in early March during the beginning of the Coronavirus quarantines, notes StreamElements. That includes 43 million hours watched during this time frame.

The site saw growth of 45% between March and April. The industry as a whole has seen viewership increase by 99 percent year over year.

Twitch Poker regularly ranks among the top 20 for most-watched categories. Poker is certainly seeing some benefit from that surge in growth.

Online poker streamers offer insight

While Twitch initially focused on video games, other categories have been added in recent years. Poker has become a popular channel. Some simply enjoy sharing their play with others and fans like seeing how others compete on the felt.

Vincent Del Guercio (aka VinnyGoombatz) streams weekly from Hoboken, New Jersey, as part of the PlayUSA stream team. He made the transition from video game streamer to eventually finding the real money online casino and poker world.

“I couldn’t really figure out which game I wanted to play,” he says. “My first recommendation on someone trying to start up a stream is finding what they’re passionate about and really being genuine about what their content is going to be. Streaming is a grind and you gotta love what you do.”

One of the most difficult parts about streaming is getting started. Adding some personality and entertainment helps beyond just bets and raises.

“Be yourself, be energetic and just keep talking!” says Jarred Gabin (aka GodsBigToe),  a Twitch poker streamer from Las Vegas. “That’s the toughest part starting out. You spend hours and hours a day talking to no one.

“But if people jump into your stream and you are on a delay like most poker players, the audience isn’t going to hang around if you are silent.”

Connecting via Twitch Poker stream during the pandemic

Some streamers have found Twitch allows them to connect with family and friends during the pandemic. Sharing a game allows them to communicate and have some fun.

Streamer Jeff Crawford (aka 35Marlin from Las Vegas) has enjoyed some time co-streaming with his son Dalton.

“He is an accomplished streamer,” Crawford says, “and had to help me with everything and I mean everything.”

Considering its roots and popularity with gamers, Twitch is also allowing the game to be seen by a young demographic.

With tours and online operators also streaming, many hope that leads to more players getting in on live poker as well. In the meantime, many in the poker world hope poker at casinos returns soon.

10 reasons for starting a Twitch stream

If you’ve ever thought about dipping your toes in the streaming pool, now is the time to test the water. Here are 10 reasons to get in the Twitch Poker game.

1. Accountability and review

When no one is looking, it’s easy to gamble in spots that may not be the correct play. Though when people are watching it makes for smarter play. Streams can also be saved and recorded so you can easily go back and review your mistakes.

2. Talking out your problems

While streaming most grinders cut back on the number of tables they generally play. This may seem like a negative, but when streaming Twitch allows a player to focus more on fewer tables. When streamers talk to viewers, they can figure out problems – focusing on a hand and highlighting it to viewers.

3. Network creation

Having a Twitch stream has given players more exposure and has helped attract new backers to the game. Having a stream allows potential backers to see how a streamer plays and can put a face to a name. Backers are more comfortable investing with someone they feel a connection to and can trust.

4. Learning poker

Instant feedback and chatting allows a player to educate himself in situations they normally wouldn’t think twice about. Having open lines of communication with viewers will allow streamers and fans to grow in the game. Not everyone will be a streamer but a lot of players just want to watch and study the pros online. Some streamers even host weekly strategy and review sessions.

5. Financial and sponsorship opportunities

Twitch offers additional ways of online income through affiliate and partner programs. Once a Twitch streamer grows a large enough following and average viewership they can receive donations. Streamers can also earn monthly subscriptions for their work. Most online poker sites now have dedicated sponsored streamers on their team. Partypoker’s Jeff Gross is an example of building a platform using Twitch and landing a sponsorship deal.

6. Community focused

One of the best things in the Twitch universe is the interaction and online friends streamers encounter. Amy Marx (aka The Poker Mami) is from Texas and started streaming earlier this year. She loves the communication she receives on the platform.

“Most people involved in the community are there to support and root for you and offer advice,” she says. “I’ve rarely come across anything negative.”

7. Charity and giving something back

The Twitch poker community has shown it has an enormous heart, often raising amazing amounts of money for good causes. Brian Frenzel (aka The Golden Blazer) recently streamed to raise money for COVID-19 relief. He raised thousands of dollars for the charity and continues to do more!

8. Tech education

Twitch setup can be confusing at first, but there’s quite a bit of information on Youtube to help. Social media groups created to help assist with setup can also be useful. Plenty of new information can be attained quickly such as lighting, sound quality, and video editing.

9. Creativity

Streamers hoping to create a fanbase need to be creative and open to new ideas to earn new viewers. Jeremy Sissman (aka Poker Jermz) makes use of “dad jokes” and even dresses up like Hulk Hogan or a banana to capture the audience.

10. Streaming is fun

At the end of the day, it all comes down to entertainment. Poker can be dull or quiet at times, but finding the right streamer and audience can make it very enjoyable. Online poker can turn a player into a zombie from days of grinding, so showing some personality is nice. Experiencing some real interaction is what makes poker a great game. 

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