The poker industry has received its fair share of poker television coverage over the years as programs were made of popular tournaments such as the World Series of Poker (WSOP) and the World Poker Tour (WPT). The poker industry has received a lot more attention with the introduction of Twitch.tv, a live streaming service that focuses mostly on the poker industry.
Twitch.tv has appealed to viewers within the poker industry as well as out of the industry as live streaming provides a clear view of the game and allows viewers to share the excitement of the players. Twitch.tv was initially used by the gaming community but ever since the company was acquired by Amazon, the focus has turned mostly to live poker games. Amazon acquired Twitch.tv in 2014 and is estimated to have paid close to a billion dollars to complete the acquisition.
One of the main reasons for the growing popularity of poker on Twitch.tv is due to the live broadcasts done by poker pro Jason Somerville. The 28 year old poker pro who is very well known on the circuit moved to Toronto towards the end of 2014 and started live broadcasts of his real money games. Somerville took viewers through the entire process of how he starts a poker game, the poker strategies he relies on and how he usually works the table to ensure that he has a strong chance of winning.
Jason Somerville’s channel jcarverpoker has proven to be extremely popular on Twitch.tv as he has amassed a total of 40 thousand followers and received over 9 million views. On the 7th of September 2015, Somerville took part in the World Championship of Online Poker which has a guaranteed prize pool of $1.2 million and his Twitch.tv channel broadcasted real time action. During this portion of time, his Twitch.tv channel became the most watched channel on Twitch.tv.
Somerville also makes use of Twitch.tv’s chatbox to interact with his followers and respond to questions that they might have about his strategy or style of playing. In a statement, Somerville said
As someone who watched a ton of poker videos, particularly poker-training videos, I was always shocked at how bad they were from a performance point of view.
Twitch.tv allows Somerville to have control over what’s being telecast and helps him connect with his fans.
Eric Hollreiser, head of corporate communications for PokerStars stated that the first poker boom occurred when TV channels started telecasting poker tournaments which helped to spread the game. Hollreiser believes that Twitch.tv could be instrumental in building a bigger poker player database across the world.