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Should You Stream Poker on Twitch?

3,869 Views on 4/12/17

The benefits successful broadcasters can enjoy are fairly obvious though they're also relatively tough to achieve.

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Twitch.tv is one of the main reasons allowing online poker to stay relevant in this day and age. While live poker is alive, well and growing, its online counterpart never truly recovered after the events of Black Friday. Fortunately, a few years back Twitch.tv - the top streaming service and one of the fastest growing websites in the world - embraced the non-gaming content, providing online poker with a much-needed popularity boost, especially among twentysomethings who aren't that likely to tune into a televised poker show anymore.

Discussions about the long-term health of poker ecosystem aside, Twitch.tv is also a great tool for poker players. Viewers can enjoy a quality strategic content for free while the top streamers can increase their revenue both directly (subscriptions, donations etc.) and indirectly due to their growing popularity. The benefits successful broadcasters can enjoy are fairly obvious though they're also relatively tough to achieve, especially when you compete with established personalities like brothers Staples, 'Tonkaaaap' or Lex Veldhuis.

That being said, streaming your poker sessions via Twitch.tv might still be worth it even if you don't see yourself becoming one of the Twitch.tv stars in the future.

Discipline and Motivation

The first main pro of becoming a Twitch.tv poker streamer is the accountability associated with it. For many players, sticking to a consistent poker schedule will become much easier once they type it out in their Twitch bio. A single person watching your session is infinitely better than no people at least as far as motivation and discipline are concerned. Even if you're not the most charismatic person on the planet, you're not the best at poker, you play relatively low stakes and on the whole you have no hope attracting more than one to ten viewers at a time, that tiny amount of external feedback and motivation coming from the fact that someone is following your session can certainly add to your EV.

You don't have to be a high stakes baller to stream on Twitch. No matter where you are in your poker journey there are people out there who are in a similar spot and some of them are smart enough to keep an eye on others relatively close on the poker success ladder rather than the ones near the top. Besides, poker is all about improving and making the least amount mistakes possible, not about presenting some idealized image of yourself - that's what Facebook and Instagram are for.

And since poker is all about improvement, if you're the kind of person that can benefit from the external motivation you should probably give streaming a try and evaluate its effect on your discipline and motivation. 

Permanent Sweat Session

On top of the added motivation and improved discipline that streaming poker can provide there's also the benefit of external feedback. If you're lucky, you'll get some knowledgeable involved viewers that can help you with strategic advice, and even if you're not, streaming poker is very much like playing a sweat session.

When other people are watching your plays you have a motivation to think extra hard about every play which makes it much harder to go on an autopilot. If you decide to use a microphone and explain your thought processes while playing - even better. Keep in mind that interacting with Twitch chat can negatively affect your attention span shaving off some precious fractions of the big blind from your win rate.

This, however, might be a blessing in disguise forcing you to decrease the number of tables that you're playing, and playing too many tables is perhaps the most popular leak among all of the online poker players. 


We've already mentioned the fact that becoming one of the top Twitch.tv streamers is very hard. Less than one percent of all streamers manage to gain enough popularity to become a Twitch.tv partner so unless you're playing relatively high stakes, you're a very good player, you're either very charismatic or very funny your chances at becoming the next Jaime Staples are relatively thin. That said, it's basically a freeroll! You might be more charismatic or funny than you're giving yourself credit for and if you're not a great mid-stakes regular now, you can become one in the future.

Besides, in 2017 Twitch made it possible for non-partnered accounts to receive the 'subscribe button' that used to be reserved for partnered accounts, so even relatively small channels can now enjoy some amount of support, and in the game of tiny edges, every little bit counts. Twitch.tv can also give you an opportunity to meet some likeminded individuals you can form a study group with and benefit from that. Maybe, you have a very solid win rate at a limit that you're playing and you'll find some other regulars that might be interested in a private coaching session? Finally, maybe you're not that concerned about that whole idea of increasing your EV and you're just looking for some people to hang out with while playing cards?

As long as you exercise some basic common sense, avoid sharing sensitive data with the viewers, set-up a delay preventing other people from knowing your cards etc. streaming poker on Twitch.tv is basically a freeroll and if you never considered trying it, you might want to change that.


Matt VIP

Matt is predominantly a mental game and planning expert, with a terrific knowledge of science, meditation, practical methods of improvement and of course, a good level of poker skill! Look out for his strategy articles and follow him for hi ... Read More

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