It’s always fun when a mainstream publication dives into the poker world, especially when the subject matter deals with how to help online poker. The New Yorker recently covered the impact that live streaming is having on the game. And WSOP champ Jason Somerville was the star of the piece since his Twitch stream has attracted over 140,000 followers.
To those who normally read poker news, the story of Somerville’s Twitch success is nothing new. But it appears that the ‘jcarverpoker’ channel is more popular than ever before. In fact, when he played in the 2015 WCOOP Main Event, he was the most-watched Twitch streamer across the entire platform. Here’s an excerpt from the New Yorker on Somerville’s livestream:
“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,” Somerville said. On Twitch, he plays the consummate host-cum-tour-guide: inclusive, knowledgeable, and relentlessly entertaining. The key element of his broadcasts, which regularly run longer than seven hours, are his inexhaustible monologues, during which he cheerfully expounds on everything from basic poker strategy to his social life to the opaque world of professional gambling. He also responds candidly to questions that viewers submit via Twitch’s chat box. This interactivity, Somerville said, “allows you to get more inside my head. From both a learning point of view and an entertainment point of view, that’s so much better.”
Obviously Jason Somerville’s Twitch stream alone won’t restore online poker to its mid-2000s heyday – but it’s a start. Largely spurred on by Somerville’s success, PokerStars signed him and launched their own Twitch channel. The Poker Central network now streams some of their programming through Twitch. Even DraftKings and the daily fantasy sports industry are getting into livestreaming too.
Poker has changed immensely in the past decade alone. And it’s pretty clear that the sheer concept of online poker is no longer bringing people to the felt in droves. So perhaps Twitch can at least keep global poker interest steady, or even serve as a major catalyst for growth in the near future.