Viktor “Isildur1” Blom to Live Stream on Twitch
At some point, the explosion of poker on Twitch.tv is bound to slow down, but that time has not arrived yet, so let’s enjoy this. The popular live streaming platform and poker seem to be a match made in heaven; the latest poker star to hop on board is Viktor “Isildur1” Blom, the enigmatic pro who has wowed fans with his willingness to play virtually anyone at any stakes.
Blom will be making his Twitch debut on Wednesday, May 27th in a marathon, ten-hour session scheduled from 13:00 to 23:00 BST (British Summer Time; equivalent to 8:00am to 6:00pm Eastern Daylight Time). The event is sponsored by online poker room Unibet Poker, though Blom himself is not a pro on Unibet’s site.
This is going to be more than just Isildur1 playing in a bunch of high stakes games and letting people watch while he provides a smattering of commentary. Blom, normally a bit media-shy (not be confused with media-unfriendly), will play at up to four different cash game tables – No-Limit Hold’em with $50 to $400 buy-ins and Pot-Limit Hold’em with $50 to $400 buy-ins) – and will switch tables approximately once per hour. Aside from seeing his name, he can be easily identified by a custom avatar depicting his likeness. Thus, regular, everyday, non-nosebleed stakes players will get a chance to play against Viktor Blom next Wednesday, though if they have any regard for their bankrolls, they might not want to do that.
During the streaming session, Blom will field questions from viewers as well as discuss the games in which he is participating. After all, that is the real appeal of Twitch: being able to interact with or at least hear from the players while they play rather than just watching them click fold, fold, raise, fold for hours.
Fans will also have a chance to win Viktor Blom’s custom avatar, but Unibet is not divulging how exactly that will happen just yet. To learn how to win the avatar and other prizes, fans must watch the live stream at www.twitch.tv/unibetpoker.
Live streaming and Twitch specifically have become an integral part of the internet poker world. Poker training videos have been popular for years, but Twitch streams are more accessible to fans, as they are mostly free to watch. They also offer fans a more candid look at the streamers, as the videos are live and unedited. Perhaps most importantly, though, Twitch streams are interactive. While the streamer is still the performer, they usually chat with viewers, answering questions about their poker play. The best streamers also make their broadcasts a bit more personal, mixing in casual conversation, rather than just dry poker talk.
Most “big name” poker players have yet to dive into the Twitch universe, though several streamers, such as Jason “JCarver” Somerville, have become poker celebrities by virtue of their popular Twitch channels. In an interview here on Flushdraw, Somerville explained his success:
For me, it’s not about starting with good poker content and then trying to squeak it out to be tolerably watchable. I start out with the approach of saying “Ok, I want this to be enjoyable content that anybody can watch. It’s not just built for a hardcore audience.” I want to make it mainstream, you know? It’s not the majority of my viewership, but there is a section of my audience that didn’t know prior to watching me what a button was or what an ante is. To draw those types of people in you have to be entertaining and have broad content.
Recently, Daniel Negreanu, one of the most famous players in poker history, dipped into the Twitch waters. He tried it for the first time in April, surprising fans with a quick test stream from his home in Las Vegas. He followed that up by streaming himself playing in the PokerStars Sunday Million from a hotel room in Canada. Negreanu busted early and had some technical issues, but he jumped back online and treated fans to several hours of high-stakes cash games. He clearly takes his cues from Somerville (and he has publicly acknowledged Somerville’s influence on him), making sure his broadcast is first and foremost entertaining. He includes enough nitty-gritty poker talk to appeal to hardcore players, but at the same time doesn’t allow himself to get too bogged down in all of that, explaining the basics to novice viewers.
In a moment that could only happen in this age of Twitch, Negreanu provided what was perhaps the poker streaming moment of the year when he brought viewers with him as he took a bathroom break during his cash games. Except that he didn’t take a break; he brought his laptop with him as he answered nature’s call, never missing a hand.
As for Viktor Blom, it is unknown if he will continue to broadcast on Twitch after next week’s event. Poker fans can only hope.