Daniel Negreanu

Daniel Negreanu Instant Success on Twitch

If you didn’t believe in the power of Twitch in the poker world, you should start. Daniel Negreanu, a member of Team PokerStars Pro and one of the most popular poker players of all time, has joined the streaming era. Fully admitting that he didn’t really know what he was doing, Negreanu live streamed himself playing online poker for the first time last week via Twitch, attracting thousands of viewers in a short time span.

Negreanu’s appearance on Twitch was nearly a complete surprise to poker fans. He tweeted last Tuesday that he was soon going to travel to Toronto from his home in Las Vegas and was going to “try that stream thingy on the twitch thingy” when he arrived in Canada. Excited to get going, though, he decided to run a 15-minute test stream from Vegas, hopping into a play money game on PokerStars since he can’t legally play on Stars from the United States yet. Negreanu, though, being the naturally talkative, affable guy that he is, turned it into three hours of essentially a question and answer session, complete with an appearance by his dog.

Twitch-logoOn Sunday, Negreanu made his second appearance on Twitch, live streaming himself playing in the PokerStars Sunday Million. The session had technical issues, though, caused by the problematic internet connection in Negreanu’s hotel room. Negreanu busted early, so it wasn’t too much of a loss.

But that was not the end of Daniel Negreanu’s streaming for the day. Technical difficulties mostly resolved, he decided to play a $400/$800 Fixed-Limit mixed game, treating his viewers to some fun poker play and comedy.

And that is where, so far, Negreanu has really shined in his brief time streaming live on Twitch. He has already been able to mix poker, education, and entertainment in a way that very few people can. It of course helps that he is one of the most successful players of all time, lending that much more validity to his poker play and discussion, but plenty of great players could easily have crappy streams. Negreanu has made his broadcasts entertaining. He chats with fans, answers questions, and takes an overall light-hearted approach to the game he is playing. While poker is Negreanu’s profession, he also understands that it can be fun and to this point, he has clearly set out to put a smile on viewers’ faces. He takes poker seriously, but in not taking himself too seriously, he creates a very entertaining stream.

Negreanu has also tailored his poker discussion so far to the recreational player, even the complete newbie. In the mixed game, for instance, he would explain which cards of his were hidden from his opponents in a stud game, or how he made the different high and low hands in an Omaha High/Low game. All that is very obvious to experienced players, but in a fast-paced game, new players can get lost easily. Even with some of that basic discussion, he still flows easily into hand strategy talk that would appeal at least somewhat to more seasoned veterans without getting bogged down into too much gory detail.

The highlight of Negreanu’s $400/$800 session, though, was something that would only happen into today’s live streaming age. “Kid Poker” live-streamed a live stream. He took a bathroom break right there during the broadcast, with thousands of fans watching.

“Ok, this is going to gross some of you out, but I don’t care,” he said as he got up from his hotel bed (another thing that makes wireless internet and laptops so wonderful). “DNegs has to go make pee.”

“I don’t want to miss a hand. I like this game,” he said, laughing on his way to the bathroom. Is this a first, or do people normally do this? Because how else, do, you know, not miss hands?”

At that, Negreanu set his laptop down on the counter, keeping the camera pointing at himself the entire time, and proceeded to…empty his reserves. No worries, he angled the camera upwards in order to keep the proceedings family friendly (as much as a live stream of a man peeing can be family friendly…then again, my kids would find it hilarious).

As crude and juvenile as that moment of the Twitch broadcast was, that is kind of what sums up Daniel Negreanu’s appeal in this medium. To this point, he has just been himself. In addition to being an all-time great poker player, he rose to popularity because of his personality. That is exactly what is happening on Twitch right now. Whether his dive into live streaming is a calculated move or something he is just trying for fun, it very well might garner Negreanu a new following of younger people who didn’t watch him on television in the past decade.

Daniel Negreanu’s Twitch channel is “DnegsPoker” and has collected over 18,000 followers to date.

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