In Fall of 2014, Jason Somerville came to Twitch and started streaming his Run It Up show at jcarverpoker. In less than one year of streaming on Twitch, Jason Somerville has already amassed more than 100,000 followers and receives thousands of viewers per stream, peaking at over 20,000 live viewers during deep runs in big tournaments. This undoubtedly sparked the boom of the Poker category on Twitch with lots of new streamers in the category and a regular crop of viewers searching for solid poker streams.
With more and more online poker players entering the streaming realm, the competition for getting new viewers increases. While streaming is never a guaranteed success, there are strategies to improve your chances of getting new viewers and growing your poker stream. If you are a poker streamer or considering becoming one, here are some tips for running a poker stream.
- Make sure to set a safe delay so your cards aren’t shown.
- 3 minutes minimum, but typically 7-15 minutes depending on what tournaments you are doing. If you decide to change your delay mid broadcast, it will shut down the stream to reset the delay, so this is something you should determine before you begin streaming for the session.
- Twitch: You can do this at twitch.tv/YourTwitchName/Dashboard
- To make up for this delay, make sure you interact with chat as much as possible. Try to encourage discussion by asking the chat “What would you have done here?”.
- Optional: Show chat on screen so people have an idea of your delay and what you are responding to. If you choose not to show chat on your stream, make sure you read aloud what you are reading and answering from chat.
- Make sure you keep talking even when you aren’t talking with chat. Talk about the payouts for tournaments. Talk about your strategy and your reads. You don’t have to reveal every single secret about your game, but people are there to understand your thinking and learn from you. And if a new viewer comes to your channel and you are just sitting there in silence, they will leave within seconds.
- Limit to showing four tables max. You can play tables off screen, but showing more than that is not only really difficult to show on your stream, but it’s difficult for the viewers to follow. Most viewers prefer watching 1-4 tables.
- Webcam is a must! The Poker category is quickly becoming busy and competitive, people aren’t going to want to hang around if they can’t see your face and reactions.
- Enable past broadcasts. You can do this at Settings -> Channel & Videos -> Archive Broadcasts. This will allow people to check out what your stream is like even when you aren’t live.
- Make some highlights! Any final tables runs? Or maybe an exciting Sit N’ Go or cash game session? Utilize the highlight tool system. This is a great way for people to check out the best of your stream when you’re not online. You can also easily export these videos to your YouTube channel, which you should promote and grow alongside your Twitch channel.
- Make sure your stream title is simple but descriptive towards what you are playing.
- Don’t be afraid to change your title throughout your stream to match what you play
- If you make a final table in a tournament, change your title to mention this! Viewers love to catch final table tournament play. Making final tables in tournaments, especially big ones, is a great way to bring in viewers.
- Common layout used for poker streams
- What to put in the Misc Info area?
- Your Twitter handle, Youtube link, other social media links. Definitely promote your Twitter to grow your potential reach for when you stream.
- Information about the delay
- Top donator, recent donators
- If you are doing a bankroll challenge, information about that
- What to put in the Misc Info area?
- Support other poker streamers. Networking is a great way to get people to check out your channel.
- Host other poker streamers when you aren’t live.
- Hang out and chat in other poker streams. Subscribe to some partnered poker streamers.
- Never mention your stream in another poker streamer’s chat. This seems counter-intuitive to you spending time in other streams. But the more you hang out and chat in other poker streams, people will recognize your name and are likely to check out your profile (where they will see that you stream too). Mentioning your stream in another streamer’s chat is bad mannered.
- Some quick tips that ANY streamer should be doing
- Quality is important. Test your stream setup on a secret Twitch account. Make sure your audio levels are good. Spend some money on a nice overlay for your stream.
- Utilize the panels under your stream. Link up your social medias, include a FAQ, a donation button would go here too. Again, spend a little money to get the buttons designed and unified.
- Set a schedule! Let people know when you plan on streaming. Put this info in the panels beneath your stream and even possible in your Misc Info of your overlay.
One of the best examples of a poker streamer to model from is PokerStaples. Jaime Staples runs a high quality stream and has great charisma. Coupled with deep runs in big events, his stream soared in popularity in 2015 and is now one of the most well known poker streamers on Twitch. If you are an aspiring poker streamer, I highly recommend taking a look at his channel and his past broadcasts. Unlike Somerville, Staples started streaming virtually as an unknown, like many streamers start off as. A combination of hard work, consistency, and many of the tips mentioned above has attributed to his success.
Although the Poker category continues to fill with more and more streams, the window of opportunity to get noticed and become another go-to poker streamer is still very much open. If you are an online poker player, streaming can be a valuable tool to network, improve your game, get others excited about online poker, and make money too.