ISLANDS IN THE STREAM: PokerStars Twitch Efforts Show Industry’s Focus on Platform

Not only has online poker been on the rise during the Coronavirus pandemic, Twitch Poker has also seen an increase in streamers and viewers. PokerStars recently added some extra incentive to get in the action by giving away $50,000.

The site gave away chests worth up to $215 every day to players watching PokerStars streamers. This promotion is part of a growing trend toward the platform over the last few years.

“We’ve always been extremely passionate about Twitch,” associate director of public relations Rebecca McAdam Willetts says. “It allows a true window into the mind of professional players and enables viewers to join in for the ride.

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“We will continue to invest in Twitch and our Twitch community. Really, even after years of pushing the boundaries with this platform, we’re only just warming up.”

That sentiment could go for much of the industry as well.

Winning with PokerStars Twitch

To take part in the promotion, viewers had to link their PokerStars and Twitch accounts. They then needed to have their stream chat open while watching a PokerStars-affiliated streamer.

The promotion ran throughout much of the Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP). The goal is to allow players to experience their own winning moments while also watching content produced on Twitch.

Content primarily focuses on online events, including cash games, and European Poker Tour stops. However, Twitch users can also find other streams including: 

  • PokerStars School – Providing tips and lessons as well as new game format tutorials. • PokerStars ambassadors GJ and Pye – The pair’s regular dual stream showcases low buy-in events accessible to low-stakes players.

“PokerStars Twitch is the host channel for an abundance of different types of poker content,” Willetts says. “There’s always something on to entertain or educate on our channel and our Twitch audience is very active and engaged. It’s a fun place to be for any poker fan.”

That includes incorporating the PokerStars Twitch channel into the new “Rail” feature. The Rail offers players a personalized online experience and to incorporate some of their own poker interests. Some of those include:

  • Social media
  • PokerStars School
  • Multimedia content
  • Upcoming major events
  • Recent games played
  • Personalized videos
  • Recent big wins
  • Challenges and promotions

The new feature can also incorporate the PokerStars Twitch stream as well as those of site ambassadors. Beyond that, some non-affiliated streamers will also be included.

“It’s a great place for any poker fan to find video content to watch while they play,” Willetts says.

Record breaking poker streaming

PokerStars ambassador Lex Veldhuis streamed much of his action during the SCOOP series. He and fellow ambassadors Fintan Hand and “Spraggy” made impressive runs for viewers on Twitch.

Hand won an event live on stream, and Lex and Spraggy both made the final 40 of the $10,000 SCOOP Main Event. These finishes live on Twitch may be an example of how poker streamers can bring new players and fans to the game.

Veldhuis peaked at 58,0000 viewers, breaking the Twitch record for concurrent viewers on a poker stream. He also briefly reached the top spot watched channel on Twitch, beating 125,000 other streamers.

More viewers, players, and poker sites going to Twitch for poker

Beyond online events, Twitch has become the place for other “live” events as well. PokerStars recently ran its “Stars CALL for Actioncelebrity game charity initiative using the platform. 

Viewers could tune in and check out the action with a host of big names battling it out. Those checking out the action could also donate themselves to the $1 million Coronavirus relief effort.

In recent years, PokerStars moved beyond its Twitch channel being a standalone offering. The site makes use of content formats, tools, and widgets on the Twitch platform itself for a more immersive experience.

The Twitch channel also facilitates more promotional opportunities to reach out to players. Those linking their accounts can take part in community giveaways and exclusive challenges only available to Twitch viewers.

“Integration is important to us,” Willetts says, “and an area we intend to spend more time on.”

Others in the industry are also focusing on Twitch. Longtime poker pro Jason Somerville was a bit of a pioneer making use of the platform. Jeff Gross and Jaime Staples have also been streaming their action for years.

Both are ambassadors for partypoker, which also makes major use of the platform. Party recently streamed action from the online Super High Roller Bowl.

GGPoker also recently launched its own Twitch channel and hopes to create a following for its tournament series. The World Poker Tour has also made use of its Twitch channel for its new celebrity fundraising game in partnership with Budweiser.

The WPT also spotlights its own ClubWPT sweepstakes poker site on Twitch as does Global Poker.

With growing numbers of viewers and streamers, Twitch remains an important part of the poker world. With the COVID-19 pandemic shutting down major tournament poker, it also remains a nice alternative for fans to find some live poker to watch.