Late last week, professional poker player and insanely popular online streamer Jason JCarverSomerville (pictured) was announced as the newest member of Team PokerStarsPro. It was not the most shocking of news, but it was still a welcome decision, especially after Somerville was unceremoniously dumped by Ultimate Poker. He kept streaming his online poker sessions, though, and this weekend began his first broadcasts on Twitch under the PokerStars banner. View his channel.
To a poker outsider, it might not seem like much. After all, Somerville has streamed for quite some time and is just streaming some more. But airing his Run it Up show on the new PokerStars Twitch channel is a leap forward. Somerville will still be viewed by a niche audience, but it has a chance to be a much larger niche audience with the marketing power of the world’s largest online poker room.
This past Sunday, Somerville began his streaming on the PokerStars Twitch channel, promising 70 straight days of broadcasts. He won’t be streaming live 24/7, but has said he will devote at least four hours per day to grinding.
The news of both his sponsorship and the new PokerStars Twitch channel have been universally applauded in the poker community. Somerville is as well-respected of a poker player as they come, but what he adds to his streams much more than the vast majority of those who try to do the same thing is entertainment.
Many poker streamers gear their broadcasts towards more seasoned players, but Somerville has understood from the get-go that poker is not mainstream. It’s not that he does not use poker terms in his streams, but he has been more than happy to try to appeal to a wide audience.
In a recent interview with Flushdraw, Somerville explained his success: “It’s not about starting with good poker content and then trying to squeak it out to be tolerably watchable… 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.”
He added that he still needs to strike a balance, though, as he can’t drive away more knowledgeable players by making his shows “too simplified or too silly.”
Somerville’s impact on the poker community has certainly been felt in the past year. He was nominated for a GPI American Poker Award for Poker Media Content of the Year for his Run it Up show and, though he did not win, his contributions were duly noted.
He was also a nominee for the Best Ambassador Award, which ultimately went to Daniel Negreanu. During his acceptance speech, Negreanu acknowledged Somerville, saying, “I always thought he had the engaging kind of personality that embodies what a poker ambassador is. What he’s done… is taken playing online poker and made it fun and exciting… He’s engaged a totally new spectrum of poker players more so than anyone in the world today, as far as I’m concerned. The poker world is in good hands with Jason Somerville.”
Somerville’s streaming platform also got some much deserved credit at the American Poker Awards, as Twitch won Poker Innovation or Initiative of the Year for “opening its doors to live streaming poker.” In his acceptance speech, Scott Ball, Twitch’s Poker Partnerships Lead, thanked the poker community, saying without it, Twitch Poker “would really be nothing.” He also said that it was “humbling” to win the award, as the initiative was only started as recently as this past year.
Somerville is off to a great start on the PokerStars’ Twitch channel. At 2:00pm ET, there were nearly 5,000 people watching him live; his broadcasts have received 3.3 million total views.