Ben “Spraggy” Spragg has never had a “real job” and he wouldn’t have it any other way. Life as an online poker Twitch streamer and poker player certainly worked out for the longtime PokerStars ambassador.
During his studies at university, Spragg wasn’t sure what career would be a good fit. Poker seemed to interest him most and those college years actually proved to be his poker education.
“I had no real career plans,” he says. “I never really knew what I wanted to do. I was a first year politics student. And then I dropped politics because there’s just too much politics.”
Eventually, Spragg switched to a journalism, film, and TV degree, all the while playing semi-professionally. After graduating at age 22, the player from the United Kingdom transitioned into card playing full time.
The new media landscape presented a way to play poker and express his personality. Eight years later Spragg has one of the most popular poker channels on Twitch and continues to roll without that “real job.”
“I kept playing once I graduated, and then started streaming when I was 25,” he told PokerScout while at the PokerStars No Limit Hold’em Players Championship (PSPC). “I had an audience of 10 people, but thought it’d be a fun thing to do, but then it just kind of snowballed. And then PokerStars saw the audience and they’re like, ‘why don’t you work with us?’”
Spragg has now worked with PokerStars for six years and lives the life many players dream of. He represents the new breed of poker site ambassador – having an audience in place, building content, and engaging with other players.
“Now I get to travel around the European Poker Tour and here in the Bahamas, and play all these big events,” he says, “and be a real part of a very fun team and a lot of fun projects.”
Online poker streaming with PokerStars
He’s now been streaming for eight years. Looking back, could he have imagined playing poker full time representing PokerStars and achieving a major following online? Probably not, but there are some challenges that can come with managing his streaming enterprise and hitting the poker road so frequently.
“It’s very unique to not have had a job, straight from university into poker, and then into streaming,” he says. “Obviously, there are ups and downs. Poker is a very stressful situation because you don’t have a guaranteed paycheck, and you have to be very strict and responsible with yourself. And everything that I do now is streaming and commitments and traveling. I’m not going to sit here and say the job that I do is really hard. But there is a lot of work that goes into streaming.
“So whilst there are stressful days, there are days where I’ve got a lot going on or you lose at poker, and then people get on your back perhaps in chat or dealing with people or whatever. I’m extremely fortunate to be able to do what I do. I do think that comes from a certain amount of disgusting luck. But then you’ve got to work at it. It’s not just ‘come to the Bahamas and sit by the pool and play poker.’”
New projects in the works
Beyond simply streaming on Twitch, Spragg enjoys new experiences and opportunities to keep his creativity flowing. He’s now moving beyond online poker and appearing at more live events. That includes playing a full European Poker Tour schedule this year.
In the Bahamas, Spragg recorded three cashes and is hoping to build on that. He’ll also be building his YouTube platform as part of those travels.
“Parker and I are working on a YouTube-type show that’s in its infancy at the moment and hopefully grows into something really fun,” he says. “I love making stuff with Parker because we’re not only very good friends, but I think we have a really good rapport when we’re on stream together.
“I’ve been streaming for a long time and still love streaming. It’s kind of the core of what I do, but I think we can do a lot more fun stuff.”
Considering his current role, those media skills learned in college actually helped after all. Spragg believes Twitch fits well for his personality and talents.
“I think it suits me very well in terms of just being off the cuff and riffing, and I can feel eight hours and hopefully have fun with it.,” he says. “But it can get repetitive after eight years. So it’s nice to engage in perhaps more creative stuff and try my hand at different things or working with some different people.”
Is this real?? Let’s fucking goooo!!!!! https://t.co/q8r7Bk9GxB
— WIll jaffe (@dankness3) January 27, 2023
Bringing Will Jaffe to the PSPC
Perhaps the recent Will Jaffe-PokerStars controversy serves as an example of Spragg’s wit and how he thinks on his feet. Jaffe is known for his fun “tough conversations” videos on Twitter and created one when he found out he’d been blocked by PokerStars for some reason.
Spragg was enlisted to help ease the tension and created his own video in response. What seemed like his own “tough convo” instead turned into quite a fun ending.
“That was one take, I didn’t script anything,” he says. “I had kind of had an idea of what I wanted to say, but I was on a tournament break. So I had 20 minutes. With a video like that, I think the more takes you do and the more you try and script it or plan it, the worse it’s going to end up because you sort of to be off the cuff.”
Spragg offered Jaffe a Platinum Pass if the poker pro could find his way to the Bahamas. But he didn’t spill the beans in the video until right at the end.
“He sort of did this whole bit of being upset with PokerStars,” Spragg says. “So I thought I’d scold him a little bit first. But then the big reveal at the end was that he won the Platinum Pass.”
Some fun but striking out
The two then found some synergy at the PSPC. That all didn’t quite work out as hoped, however, and the Twitch streamer uses some of that typical humor to describe how everything turned out.
“I really like a lot of Will’s videos,” Spragg says. “I think he’s a very funny guy. And I think poker is more entertaining when you have characters like Will doing things like that. So it was quite an honor really to be a part of that and be able to invite Will down here to play the PSPC.
“But he busted. So I mean, what a loser really. I busted, he busted, we had a lot of swaps so that we could sweat each other and then we’re both just out. He did some great videos. We had some fun with the video back to him. But ultimately, zero dollars ahead.”