PokerStars certainly thinks so, especially given Staples’ presence on the live-streaming site Twitch. The Canadian has become one of the most-followed players on Twitch, and he recently shared his victory in the PokerStars Big $109 with over 4,800 viewers. Following the biggest score of his career, Staples received a dream call from Stars asking him to sign a Friend of PokerStars deal.
“I really do think Twitch will be an integral part of growing the game. In the same way online poker influenced live poker, streaming on Twitch will revolutionize poker viewing: more hands, fewer commercials, and completely on demand,” said the 23-year-old. “Best of all, there’s no barrier of entry for production.”
It’s obvious that PokerStars is banking on the growing Twitch phenomenon to bring them more customers. And they appear to be assigning great value to anybody who can score a sizable Twitch audience through self-promotion, strategy teaching skills and overall likability. Going further, guys like Staples can now land sponsorship deals with $467k in online winnings, an amount that would otherwise require model-like looks and at least a double-C rack to attain any kind of deal.
Again, I’m not trying to bash Staples’ skills because $467k is far more than I’ve ever won in internet poker. But on the other hand, there are players who’ve earned millions without any hope of landing a sponsorship in today’s poker climate. In any case, the reason why Stars signed Staples is because they think that he and his Twitch audience are worth it.
A few weeks ago, PokerStars signed Jason Somerville to a presumably much-bigger deal. Somerville, a very accomplished pro with over $6 million in combined online and live earnings, has amassed over 50k Twitch followers. So Stars tabbed him to kick off their new Twitch channel and help poker grow in general through this streaming service. Considering the Somerville and Staples signings, they definitely haven’t lost faith in Twitch’s potential.