Twitch has become an increasingly popular way for players to share their play and online poker sites to reach their community of players. The platform began as a way for others to watch people play video games and has evolved into much more through the years.
A major part of that now includes poker streaming, and the platform has become a growing opportunity for many in the industry. No matter your style, stakes or interest, it seems as if there is a streamer catering to everyone. Poker streamers incorporate their tastes and interests into their shows and there are now options in numerous languages
While some streamers may be extremely focused on online poker, for others poker streaming is just part of the fun. They may mix in comedy, chit chat with friends and other entertaining features to keep viewers coming back. Here’s a complete look at everything related to Twitch poker.
History of Twitch streaming
The history of Twitch dates back to 2011, when the site launched as a video streaming service, geared initially toward video game enthusiasts. By October 2013, the platform had 45 million unique visitors, with Forbes branding it “the ESPN of video games.”
A year later, the site reached the fourth largest source of peak online traffic in the US. Some larger companies began taking notice, and Amazon acquired the platform in August 2014 for $970 million. The company introduced additional subscription options and commerce models, allowing streamers to make money for their content creation.
By 2015, Twitch reached 100 million viewers per month and has been the leading video game streaming option since 2017. The site consisted of 3 million streamers and 15 million daily viewers as of 2020.
Twitch poker begins
Soon after acquiring Twitch, Amazon looked to add more options for streamers and viewers. Online poker had already grown from tiny operations in the 1990s to high-tech, full-scale gambling sites with millions of players.
The game seemed a perfect fit, and Twitch began courting some of those players. Poker pro and former PokerStars ambassador Jason Somerville was one of the first. He’d already developed his “Run It Up” concept in videos, although not live.
“Run It Up” began as a YouTube show where he played online and attempted to turn $50 into $10,000. By 2014, the show shifted to Twitch, featuring extemporaneous thoughts on poker and other topics as well as insight into the life of a poker pro. That initial show greatly enhanced similar YouTube offerings and paved the way for what other Twitch users followed.
“I’m not quite sure when exactly people decided that poker videos had to be as dry and boring as possible,” he told All In Magazine in 2014. “But I think my attempts to blend a more fun-oriented attitude along with serious poker strategy has resonated well with viewers.”
Not only did Somerville stream his poker action, he also grew a Run It Up brand, selling merchandise and making money from subscriptions, sponsorship deals and Twitch ads. He later added live events like Run It Up Reno for players in his community around the world to get together and play. The whole Run It Up brand even required several employees to keep the operation running.
In recent years, players like Jeff Gross have created similar operations that now consist of an overall community and brand beyond simply playing online poker.
Growing the poker ecosystem
The idea of streaming online poker as a business was born. Twitch poker began to grow, with more players bringing their own ideas and personalities to the platform. That’s now blossomed into a major part of the online poker industry, with sites adding their own platforms to stream major events.
Online poker sites like PokerStars, partypoker and 888poker even began signing Twitch streaming ambassadors. As Somerville noted about the platform, many viewers are video gamers, and companies see Twitch as an opportunity to grow the game.
Streaming allows poker companies to reach a young audience of viewers who may not have played poker or even stepped in a casino. These ambassadors often serve as educators and strategy coaches, introducing new players to the game.
The idea of potential ambassadors already having a platform and brand in place appeals to many poker sites. This has changed the concept of poker ambassadors over time. Companies began shifting from big-money signings of major pros to more personality-driven streamers who could play on the site for potential new users.
Official Twitch streaming options
Poker sites now regularly tout their poker streams and use them to broadcast final tables and live tournament action, give away prizes, and run promotions and other events. Adding an official Twitch poker stream isn’t just a nice option — it seems to be a must for many poker sites.
Many sites also make use of YouTube, as well, not only for poker-related videos, but also for streaming coverage. Here’s a look at each major poker site and its regular streaming operations:
This has long been the largest poker site in the world, with quality software, massive tournament series and a loyal group of players. PokerStars got into the Twitch streaming game by launching its own channel.
In 2019, the site even integrated Twitch into its own software client. Players can view streams right on the site while playing. Some of PokerStars’ popular poker streamers include Lex Veldhuis, Parker “tonkaaaaP” Talbot, Benji “Spraggy” Spragg and Fintan “easywithaces” Hand.
- Twitch channel: twitch.tv/PokerStars
- YouTube channel: youtube.com/c/pokerstars
Streaming is also a big part of partypoker’s media and promotional efforts. The channel offers plenty of action from its streamers, but also numerous final tables and event coverage.
The site has hosted online World Poker Tour events in recent years, and streaming those events has become a major part of party’s Twitch efforts. Some of the site’s streamers include Jeff Gross, Jaime Staples, Matt Staples and Courtney Gee.
- Twitch channel: twitch.tv/partypokertv
- YouTube channel: youtube.com/c/partypokerlive
After leaving PokerStars behind in 2019, Daniel Negreanu signed as an ambassador with GGPoker late that same year. He immediately began touting the software as the best in the world, and the site has grown into a major competitor with Stars.
Beyond Negreanu, the site’s Twitch squad boasts other popular hosts like Kevin “K-Mart” Martin, Michiel “Easterdamnz” Van Elsacker and Hristivoje “ALLinPav” Pavlovic.
- Twitch channel:twitch.tv/ggpokerofficial
- YouTube channel:youtube.com/channel/UCJPnb9ricOOYLFSlotSfOng
This site has been upgrading its Twitch presence over the last couple of years and completely relaunched its setup in April 2021. 888 also announced a new StreamTeam lineup in 2021, bringing more representatives on board.
Along with streaming final tables and other tournament events, promotions are a big part of the official 888poker Twitch platform. The site regularly offers giveaways, freerolls and more for viewers. Some of the site’s streamers include Dave “New_Dave” Gibson, Adam “Eklo” Tocholke, Nick “eastyyy22” Eastwood and Vivian Saliba.
- Twitch channel: twitch.tv/888pokertv
- YouTube channel: youtube.com/channel/UCPBIav_QqkYUI3SvV4arDSA
Unibet’s poker division is also active on Twitter and mixes in plenty of contests along with streaming poker action. Viewers may find final tables of events like the Unibet Poker Open. Unibet ambassadors and streamers include Dara O’Kearney, Alexandre Reard and David Lappin.
- Twitch channel: twitch.tv/unibetpoker
- YouTube channel: youtube.com/user/UnibetOpen
This is a growing sweepstakes poker site available for players in most of the US and Canada. The platform has seen major growth over the last few years and also has greatly expanded its media reach.
Global offers numerous tournament and ring game options including major series like the Rattlesnake Open. Players can play for free with the chance to redeem Sweeps Coins for real cash prizes and gift cards. The Twitch channel offers players final tables with some of the site’s regular players calling the action.
- Twitch channel: twitch.tv/globalpokerlive
World Series of Poker
Beyond traditional online poker sites, individual tours and live tournament operators also use Twitch streams to reach players and fans. The WSOP’s Twitch feed focuses mostly on streaming WSOP.com events, and is less active than other channels mentioned here. The series also doesn’t update its YouTube channel too often, but subscribers will find some classic WSOP hands and episodes there.
- Twitch channel: twitch.tv/wsop/videos
- YouTube channel: youtube.com/user/wsop/videos
World Poker Tour
The WPT has become quite the multimedia company in recent years. The tour reaches viewers via its regular Fox Sports shows, but also OTT (over the top) streaming media outlets like Pluto TV, YouTube, Twitch, Facebook and other options.
The company has transitioned over the last few years to more of a media and promotional operation, but it still focuses on poker. On Twitch, viewers will find live events like final tables and cash games as well as online final tables with partners partypoker and ClubWPT.
The tour’s poker training arm, LearnWPT, also occasionally streams final tables from major events from the partypoker US network, which also includes the Borgata Poker and BetMGM skins.
- Twitch channel — WPT: twitch.tv/worldpokertour/videos
- Twitch channel — LearnWPT: twitch.tv/learnwpt
- YouTube channel: youtube.com/channel/UCEUGxpG2rkyJlCvr46PBr6g
- Facebook: facebook.com/WorldPokerTour/
Beyond a poker streaming service for events like the WSOP, PokerGO also produces some of its own tournaments and cash games like High Stakes Poker, Poker After Dark, US Poker Open and the Super High Roller Bowl. Viewers can see some of that action as well as classic WSOP hands and episodes via the platform’s Twitch and YouTube channels.
- Twitch channel: twitch.tv/pokergo
- YouTube channel: youtube.com/channel/UCOPw3R-TUUNqgN2bQyidW2w
- Facebook: facebook.com/pokergo/
Popular Twitch poker streamers
There are numerous streamers across Twitch now as well as some using other platforms. As noted, there are streamers to cater to a variety of viewers. Here are some of the most popular on the platform:
A PokerStars Team Pro from the Netherlands, Veldhuis was already a fan of the Twitch platform before he started streaming as an avid viewer of video games. Beyond a fun personality, Veldhuis brings plenty of skills to the table. He has almost $700,000 in live tournament winnings and millions more online. He began his stream in 2016 and achieved a nice record on the site in 2020 when he reached a peak of 58,799 viewers while finishing 15th in the PokerStars SCOOP Main Event.
The stream even reached the most-watched on Twitch overall at one point. Veldhuis remains a key part of the industry thanks to his successful work on Twitch, and he has more than 280,000 followers.
- Twitch channel: twitch.tv/lexveldhuis
GGPoker’s top ambassador, Negreanu streams his action regularly and fans can expect plenty of entertaining chatter throughout each broadcast. Unlike many on this list, he streams much of his play on his YouTube channel and Periscope (via Twitter) channels. Between the two he has about 1 million subscribers among both platforms.
Kid Poker’s stream heats up during major online series. In 2020 and 2021, Negreanu streamed much of his play during the WSOP Online at WSOP.com and GGPoker. Along with streaming action, Negreanu also produces highly popular vlogs during the live WSOP in Las Vegas each year. He’s also used his platform to air videos of his major online battles with Doug Polk, drawing tens of thousands of viewers.
- YouTube channel: youtube.com/channel/UC0w4AA42ItXQEb9aZld87-w
Kevin “K-Mart” Martin
This Twitch superstar was no stranger to Canadians when he signed on as a member of GGPoker’s Stream Squad in October 2021. He came on board not only as a poker player, but a two-time competitor in the Canadian version of Big Brother.
Martin is smooth and humorous behind the mic and also serves as a play-by-play man on GG final tables. During the massive heads-up challenge between Negreanu and Doug Polk in 2020-21, Martin called much of the action. On Twitch, he has more than 100,000 followers.
- Twitch channel: twitch.tv/kevinmartin
Fintan “easywithaces” Hand
This Irish player offers a look into his playing concepts with each session. He has a relaxing attitude, but remains excited about intersecting with his audience. He represents PokerStars and is a two-time SCOOP champion on the site. Beyond Twitch, Hand is active on numerous other platforms. He also has some other sponsorship deals via Twitch and more than 114,000 followers.
- Twitch channel: twitch.tv/easywithaces
Johan “YoH_ViraL” Guilbert
This popular French poker player has notched some impressive wins. That includes a runner-up finish in a $10,000 WSOP Shootout event in 2019 for $128,042. He added a massive win in a $25,000 event at the Super High Roller Bowl Europe in August 2021 for $560,000. With 84,000 followers, Guilbert streams his online action regularly and also posts regular poker videos to his YouTube channel.
- Twitch channel: twitch.tv/yoh_viral
- YouTube channel: youtube.com/yohviral
Felipe “FelipeMojave” Ramos
A member of Team GGPoker, this popular poker streamer from Brazil has more than $2.6 million in live poker winnings. In 2021, he added a massive score in the WSOP Online, finishing runner-up in a $1,000 event on the site for $476,612. His Twitch stream has over 30,000 followers, and he’s become an important part of the growing Brazilian poker scene.
- Twitch channel: twitch.tv/felipemojave
Parker “tonkaaaaP” Talbot
This PokerStars streamer with a large following joined the site’s ambassador roster in April 2021. Talbot had built a large audience even before the signing, and his Twitch stream has 117,000 followers. He speaks about the signing below.
Along with streaming his action, Tonka has built a nice brand and also works as a poker coach. UpSwing Poker says he’s “widely considered the best high stakes tournament streamer on Twitch.”
- Twitch channel: twitch.tv/tonkaaaap
Poker on Twitch: Final thoughts
Twitch poker, and online streaming in general, has been a major addition to the world of poker. Players and poker sites continue to ramp up their content even more, reaching out to a variety of viewers in numerous languages around the world.
Online poker sites see the platform as an opportunity to grow and expand the game. More poker is available on Twitch now than on any other platform. The game’s presence continues to grow on the site and shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.