Twitch Poker Continues to Join the Mainstream
Twitch Poker hit the headlines today with two impressive marketing deals that should help the site’s poker community continue to grow in an impressive way. The first, and biggest news, is that Jason Somerville was announced today as the newest member of PokerStars Team Pro. This news has been expected by many of us since Jason left Ultimate Poker back in late 2014 during the second season of Run It UP which was promoted by the now defunct US poker brand.
Somerville talked to us recently in an interview, where he talked about his love of streaming online poker to his masses of Run It UP warriors and “Dirty Basement Kids.” In addition to announcing Jason’s arrival as a member of PokerStars’ Team Pro, the online poker site also announced that Run It UP will be re-launched on the new PokerStars Twitch Channel this coming Sunday. Jason’s comments appears to show a man full of excitement:
“I’m delighted to become a member of Team PokerStars and can’t wait to resume my Run it UP! series on Twitch,” says Somerville. “I’ll be live streaming for several hours this coming Sunday and I can’t wait to hear from, and chat to, a growing group of poker fans as the broadcasts continue. I’m also excited about representing PokerStars in online and live poker events in 2015.”
Somerville also made an announcement on his YouTube channel:
Somerville is making his first official appearance as a PokerStars sponsored player later today at the GPI sponsored American Poker Awards in Los Angeles. He is nominated for the “Poker Media Content of the Year” and he is also taking part in a “Players Perspective” panel at the Global Poker Conference (North America).
PokerStars Head of Pro & Celebrity Marketing, Kirsty Thompson, said: “Jason is a unique proposition – a poker pioneer who has had great success both online and live, and brings something different to the table through the way in which he has built a popular live streaming poker show. I’m sure he will be a great ambassador for PokerStars and help to increase the level of interactivity between the brand and its players.”
Somerville has also announced that he planning to stream for 70 days straight from this Sunday, with at least four hours of streaming a day. This punishing schedule will placate Somerville’s fan base, who have been braying for more content following the PokerStars PCA streams he did back in January.
In other Twitch news, Unibet have muddied the waters between Twitch poker and the rest of the streaming site as they have invited YouTube and Twitch content creator Sam “Stripin” Throne to the Copenhagen Unibet Open. This €1,100 event is being live streamed on Twitch all weekend, and Stripin’s fans have been very engaged with the Twitch chat box. The addition of the prominent video gamer has significantly increased the viewer count, taking the Unibet live stream to the number 1 slot in the poker streaming section of Twitch.
Today’s stream has come to an end, but Sam was made the highlight of the day. His fans essentially took over the broadcast, turning it from the usual rather reserved poker stream, into a carnival of fun, memes, and pressing “F” to pay respects to a fallen player.
Sam radically increased his chip stack in the closing minutes of the day when he got it all into the middle holding ace-king. His opponent had pocket aces, and the rail was expecting Sam to not make it to Day 2. The Poker Gods seemed to have other ideas, and provided him with a queen and a jack on the flop, quickly followed by a ten on the turn to give him a broadway straight and crack his opponent’s aces. Sam tweeted this soon after the hand:
Man I wish I could’ve seen the twitch chat hype. I felt like if I didn’t yolo I was letting you all down haha
— Sam Thorne (@TheStrippin) February 27, 2015
His partner, and YouTube personality in her own right, Brooke “Dodger” Leigh had also been watching, tweeting this moments after Sam had survived his showdown:
OH MY GOD I WAS JUST SCREAMING AT MY COMPUTER I CANNOT BELIEVE WHAT JUST HAPPENED YOU MANIAC @TheStrippin
— Dodger (@dexbonus) February 27, 2015
The thing about Twitch is it engages people with the game of poker in a way that we’ve not seen for a long time. It is going to be a big part of the future of the industry, and we are only seeing baby steps from the giant that Twitch poker is going to become. The strongest evidence I have seen that streaming poker gets people interested is a simple Tweet from Dodger.
— Dodger (@dexbonus) February 27, 2015
If one stream can convince people to join in, I can’t wait to see what happens when we have tens of thousands of people watching every day.