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Found 17 results

  1. Matt Vaughan brings a technical side to the poker vlogging game. The former healthcare software employee started his vlog in January 2017, two months after leaving his job in Wisconsin. Vaughan works three jobs in his new home in Baltimore, MD. He plays, teaches, and vlogs poker. “I decided on a whim that this would be a cool time to document life and this was a cool way to do it,” Vaughan said. Jumping in Head First... The game became more than a hobby to Vaughan in 2012 when the Cleveland Jack Casino opened its doors in the same city where he attended college. Live poker turned into more online play and Vaughan continued to explore his learning process with the game as he found new elements. When Vaughan prepared to leave his job, he already was working with an online training site called School of Cards. Using Andrew Neeme and Brad Owen’s vlogs as inspiration, Vaughan left his job in the corporate world and immersed himself in a life he spent half a decade subliminally preparing for. “Poker has been a huge part of my life for the last five or six years. The fact that I had seen poker vlogs develop and they fit into my strengths. I enjoy talking about the game from a conversational standpoint and thought this might be a cool thing to do. I fell in love with the process more than anything else. A random thing turned into something more purposeful.” ...Without Getting in Too Deep The sense of purpose drives Vaughan to surround himself with poker in all parts every day. Vaughan does not have a specific schedule for when he plays cash games but attempts to put in at least one session per week. Those sessions tend to include $2/$5 and $5/$10 cash games. Vaughan frequents the Beltway cash rooms, predominately Maryland Live!. Viewers can also find Vaughan on the tournament trail. Vaughan took part in the Borgata Winter Poker Open in January and produced content related to his summer at the World Series of Poker. In between the lull of sessions and tournament runs, Vaughan compiles hand reviews and general tips for viewers. The training side of his mind is apparent as he explains the reasoning behind topics that jump from preflop raises to table etiquette. The amount of content at Vaughan’s disposal is a detail he tries to limit. By filming every session or tournament, it increases the time before the video hits his YouTube channel. “From a general standpoint, when there’s weeks or sessions when I’m playing a lot, I try not to film every session,” Vaughan observed. “If there’s a backlog of content, it’s harder to do the videos. I’ve struggled with putting out videos in the past. That had more to do with sessions played.” Swimming Laps Vaughan notes that he has gone through periods where his publishing rate cratered. He rectified that by creating videos that were more recent instead of four weeks prior, as he had done in the past. The menial part of shooting and editing are obstacles that Vaughan overcame to ensure he could update his channel on a consistent basis. “I’ve gotten better at forcing myself to do the less enjoyable parts of the process. If I’m going to do the boring parts, it better be worth it,” Vaughan added. The relationship Vaughan has with School of Cards allows him to not feel the pressure of having to make his primary income through poker. Vaughan played at Borgata for two weeks and used his time there to initiate content involving the tournaments. If he had a preference, though, Vaughan would choose cash games as his video base. The technique of using his smartphone to film gives Vaughan pause. During last summer’s WSOP, on rare occasion would Vaughan film during the tournament itself. It's a Long Race The 9,300-plus subscribers of Vaughan allow him to take in a small income from his vlogs. That money goes into a proverbial piggy bank for Vaughan, who does not see an immediate road to the vlog becoming his sole source of income. “I struggle with the end goal,” Vaughan stated. “It’s definitely something that’s occurred to me. Is there something I can leverage this into? For right now, I’m letting it be more fluid. I’m enjoying the process that goes into it. If I get to Brad Owen’s subscribers, I wouldn’t quit my job and just vlog. I wouldn’t say there’s this grand scheme. Just letting it be organic for now.” The growth of Vaughan’s vlog is apparent on his page where the production value and details improve with every piece. You might see Vaughan on your direct left in the near future. A sponge who rings out his knowledge for the masses.
  2. For many who do it, working on a vlog is a labor of love. Potentially, once a vlogger reaches a certain plateau they will able to monetize their work by signing up with YouTube and applying to the YouTube Partnership Program. And maybe that's the end goal. But for many of today’s top poker vloggers, the time they end up spending on their vlogs not only drastically cuts into their time at the poker tables, decreasing their earn, but can be the equivalent of a second part-time job without the monetary benefits. “Filming takes about a full day since I'm usually recording a live poker session and the analysis of some hands that took place, followed by a visit to a local favorite watering hole/restaurant/interesting location. Editing takes about another full day,” says Andrew Neeme, perhaps currently the most well-known poker vlogger with over 80,000 subscribers to his YouTube channel. “This will vary depending on how detailed your production is (i.e. how many poker hand details you're inserting; how many poker hands you're reviewing; how synced you want the music to be...) as well as how much experience you have in editing. It would probably take a professional editor less time, and I might be getting slightly faster with each video, but the poker hands will always take a lot of time to include all of the pertinent information.” Jaman Burton, the man behind The Drawing Dead vlog, confirms that the time spent on a single episode of a vlog is considerable. From the choosing of which hands are “vlogworthy”, to syncing the sound, inserting the graphics for just about every street of any given hand. “Because I do so much work post-production, each hand you see in a vlog (describes a very basic hand) probably takes me somewhere between 15-20 minutes. If it’s a hand that goes all five streets and there’s a lot of players involved and I have to do a lot of these little boxes and arrows that could easily take 30-40 minutes to do all that stuff,” Burton says. That’s per hand and he usually includes 4-5 hands per session. “I’d say that on a normal vlog, from how I’m doing it now, from beginning to end it’s somewhere between 8-15 hours.” The workload of producing a vlog may decrease the more comfortable one is with the tools. Experience and reusable graphics may save time but also take into consideration, according to Andrew Pieper, the deeper you get into vlogging, the more you want to do. “Time commitment goes up with each video.," says Pieper. "As soon as you finish, you feel proud. When you watch it, you feel like you could’ve done more. Editing work has gone up significantly more. I’ve spent 25 hours to edit the most recent.” With so much time being put into the post-production of each video, allocating the time to get the work done to satisfy an awaiting audience can be tricky. “It’s fluid and it’s something that I’m trying to nail down better. From a general standpoint, when there’s weeks or sessions when I’m playing a lot, I try not to film every session. If there’s a backlog of content, it’s harder to do the videos,” says East Coast grinder Matt Vaughan. “I have the camera and I try to film during the day. I’ll put the footage on my computer. I don’t do the hand analysis until a few days later. 1-2 videos per week." The fact is, many of the poker vloggers are using the medium to expose others to the game as well as be a vehicle for improving their own games. But once the creative process kicks in and the desire to make the vlog something special takes over, the very subject that the vlog covers may take a hit. “Ideally if you’re playing for a living you want to be playing at least 1500 hours. A full-time job is 2000 and I’m playing 800 and there’s really just no way I can play more than 1000 with all the videos that I’m doing. So 1000 would be kinda the goal but I really do enjoy doing the videos and I enjoy the balance. When doing the videos gets old I play a lot more poker and as soon as playing poker gets old I can go back and forth,” says Las Vegas professional player Brad Owen. While Owen finds that he’s splitting his time, trying to find a balance. Burton finds that the time he’s spending fits right into his life. “I find that I’m doing it at a time I typically wouldn’t be playing anyway. I think it’s the time that most people use to watch The Bachelor, watch the Olympics…I don’t watch much TV” Even for Neeme, someone who at face value is seemingly playing all the time, his vlog has become a more serious pursuit. “If you're taking as much time with these videos as someone like The Trooper [Tim Watts], Brad Owen, or myself, for example, then you could say you're no longer a professional poker player, strictly speaking. This is basically a second job, which definitely means less time for poker. So you have to decide what's most important to you and what you enjoy the most. For me, the reason I started in the first place was because the happiness level of straight grinding wasn't where I thought it could be for my profession,” Neeme says while considering if he’s allocated “too much” time to his videos. “So if I'm happier doing the combination of playing poker and making videos, then it definitely doesn't take "too much" time away from playing because your happiness is what's most important, and in the end, where real success is found.” In the end, the workload of producing a high-quality vlog is no doubt more than meets the eye. And for different people, there’s a different end goal in mind. Burton understands that, for many, there’s a disconnect between what happens when thousands of people start to watch a vlog versus his reality. “For some reason, people think we are making a ton of money doing this, like we’re ballin’ out of control…it’s really not what you think it is. To me, this is more hobby-ish. It’s fun. Would I want to vlog for a living? Probably not. I enjoy doing it, I enjoy being creative, I have an outlet for my creative side and tell a funny story.” For Vaughan, he’s open to the possibilities. “I struggle with the end goal. It’s definitely something that’s occurred to me. Is there something I can leverage this into? For right now, I’m letting it be more fluid. I’m enjoying the process that goes into it. If I get to Brad Owen’s subscribers, I wouldn’t quit my job and just vlog. Wouldn’t say there’s this grand scheme. I’ve seen opportunities. Letting it be organic for now.”
  3. The average life of a live poker pro is hours consumed on the felt followed by whatever downtime is spent at home. For Andrew Pieper, the felt is his home. The 26-year-old is living a voluntary life without a permanent residence. Pieper values the utility and money saved over the material possessions that associate with a home. His dream plays out day by day. The Mission Pieper’s vlog is a compilation of him traveling around Las Vegas poker rooms and playing in low limit cash games. In only 21 vlogs, Pieper’s subscription base has grown to almost 2,000. His brand of in-depth hand reviews and gritty footage appeal to an audience that appreciates his off-brand approach to the lifestyle of poker. The vlog started last spring for Pieper. The South Carolina native moved to Las Vegas in January 2017 from Florida. The inspiration for vlogging came from watching Andrew Neeme and Brad Owen hone their craft to build an audience. “I was sort on the fence about starting but decided to give it a shot and bring a new perspective. It was a ‘test the water’ type-deal. This year, I’ve been more consistent with putting out content. I have a better schedule and goals,” Pieper said. The perspective of Pieper grinding his way around The Strip sets him apart from other vloggers. Pieper frequently inserts audio clips from Rounders into his vlogs and he bounces from property to property in a way that he ostensibly likens to Mike McDermott moving across New York City home games. The Process The option of available games leads Pieper to have options when planning out his night. His favorite place to play is Caesars Palace. This is due to the action in the games and better lighting for him to record while playing. The eyes on his YouTube channel leads to interesting encounters for Pieper, who tries to downplay any form of a professional image at the table. When push comes to fold, if a player strikes up a conversation when playing, Pieper engages in his efforts to create a positive image for himself. It’s pretty rewarding,” Pieper mentioned. “Monetary return isn’t really all that great at this point. It’s rewarding to get comments saying ‘this is cool.’ Different people recognizing me is cool. As the channel grows, I’m really looking forward to it. I was fine with not being recognized at the table. I’m probably not giving up that much if they know I have a vlog on YouTube. It’s gotten to be fairly common in Las Vegas. Once a day or so. I’ll walk through and someone will recognize me.” The Growth The advancement of Pieper’s channel came from a few different sources. Using Twitter and Instagram, Pieper reached out to fellow vloggers in who turn used their platform to boost his. Pieper also found success by having a recurring column on another poker forum that led readers to find out more about his vlog and subscribing from there. Word of mouth worked for Pieper and production is the next item he is looking to get ironed out. Using more time to edit his vlogs and increasing the quality is a detail Pieper hopes will bring him more viewers with time. “The time commitment goes up with each video. As soon as you finish, you feel proud. When you watch it, you feel like you could’ve done more. Editing work has gone up significantly more. It took me 25 hours to edit the most recent one.” The Goal There is no long-term destination for Pieper as of yet. Playing poker for a living, vlogging the process, and not being beholden to any form of a home is a rewarding feeling. Pieper thinks that what he provides to viewers is enough for him to get more subscribers with time. “Being a professional poker player is a different lifestyle and showing that uniqueness and showing what it’s like to not have a '9-5' appeals to some people,” he mused. The conscious mind Pieper has around how he presents himself at the table and on camera is his attempt to shed an ultimate positive light on poker. Whether that leads him to take on a role as a room ambassador down the line is yet to be determined. When Pieper wakes up tomorrow, he will look at Bravo and see where the best games are in his kingdom of cash games. The grind awaits.
  4. His bag has gone missing. Not the frivolous one that includes unnecessary stuff like clothes or toiletries. The real important items are AWOL - like backup batteries and chargers. Also his laptop. For 45-year old software architect Jaman Burton, he’s not worried about getting his equipment back for some work project, he’s got content to create for his rapidly-rising-in-popularity poker vlog, The Drawing Dead. Now, here he is in the mecca for poker, Las Vegas, and the airline is informing him that just about all of the equipment he’s going to need to document his latest adventures in poker is nowhere to be found. One look at the scowl on Burton’s face and you can tell - he’s not happy. Burton, who hails from St. Louis, MO is a part-time poker player, full-time enthusiast and the star/director/editor of one of poker’s fastest growing vlogs on the internet. With a style all his own, he takes his viewers inside his life and inside his sessions giving viewers a brand new way to look at the game. And while he may be on the cutting edge of poker’s new media frontier, he hasn’t always been at the forefront of poker. “Back when everybody else was having the Moneymaker effect, I didn’t know anything about poker." Burton said. "During that time - I was bowling a lot. The first time I went to Vegas was to bowl in the United States Nationals.” As poker exploded into the mainstream, Burton, the bowler, recalls that he still didn’t even know basic hand rankings. It wasn’t until years later when ESPN was airing a marathon of the World Series of Poker Main Event did it catch Burton’s eye. But once it did, he was instantly hooked. “I was like, that game looks easy…I’m going to try this,” Burton recalls, chuckling at the notion of his younger self. Burton dove right in and cut his teeth playing micro stakes by logging into online poker site UltimateBet while taking in strategy tips from Phil Gordon’s Little Green Book. “I just became immersed in poker. I decided this is what I was going to do, I was going to be a poker pro. That’s back when people were popping out of the woodwork saying ‘Oh, I just deposited seventeen cents and now I’m a billionaire a month later’…that kind of thing.” Burton reflects on his early foray into poker, “In my mind, I was taking it seriously, but from what I know now. I know I wasn’t taking it seriously.” ‘Now’ is indeed a different time for Burton. After years of doubling down his efforts to learn the game, studying more than playing, he began to find stability in Missouri’s live poker scene. Then, less than a year ago, his poker journey would take an interesting turn. “I’m in the casino on a random, let’s call it Thursday, nothing special about this day. One of the dealers named Priscilla comes up to me and goes ‘Trooper’s here!’,” Burton said “I’m looking around the room, looking for a cop.” “Look him up on YouTube,” Priscilla directed. Burton did. Right then and there at the table. He pulled up one video. Then another. Burton, like when he had accidentally caught the WSOP on ESPN, was instantly hooked. Jaman engaged the veteran poker vlogger Tim ‘TheTrooper97’ Watts for a brief conversation and after wishing each other good luck, Jaman went home and watched even more. “This thing went off in my head, ‘I wonder how hard this is to do.’ So I took out my phone and I tried it. Me and Jayda (his charming daughter) went to Toys R Us and I tried to vlog my experience. So I put it up on YouTube and I watched it and…it was the worst thing I’d ever seen.” Undeterred, Jaman decided to give it a second shot, this time with a poker session. He took his phone, his old Mac and iMovie and began vlogging his poker sessions. But this time he didn’t upload them, he shared them only with his friends, each time taking in feedback and picking up new tips and tricks. “The first vlog I actually released to the public was actually the eighth vlog I’ve ever done. After that, every time out I just got a little bit better. I got a little more into it. So it’s been a learning experience. It’s a lot harder than people probably think it is.” Now, as he’s quickly approaching his 100th video, Burton has carved out a style all his own. It’s not the hand analysis style of Andrew Neeme, nor is it the man about town attitude of his friend Watts. Burton is crafting an entertaining middle ground that brings together what he loves about both of those vloggers as well as his poker roots. As a super fan of High Stakes Poker, the TV show, Burton sets out to not just emulate some of the styles of the show in his on-screen graphics but, more importantly, the flow of the show itself. “In some of my earlier vlogs I did hand analysis and I found it slow. It slowed down the pace of what I was trying to do. I wasn’t really going for that instructional feel, I was just trying to entertain.” He does this by throwing on his trademark “The Drawing Dead” opening, which mirrors the opening of the popular zombie show of a similar name. With the eye of a film buff, he interjects short movie clips as memes, helping him emote, while film reel transitions show off hand histories as they happen. All the while Burton’s own direct to camera commentary is performed with a kind of stoical poker-face which thinly masks his genuinely jovial nature and love of poker. His formula is working, as in early February Burton eclipsed 10,000 subscribers to his YouTube channel only to see it surpass 12,000 two weeks later. Currently with no end in sight to the documenting of his journey, Burton’s finding that what he currently hopes the future holds is not what he once was looking for when it comes to poker. “My desire to be a full-time professional poker player is not really what I want. I love my job, I love my career and I love playing poker but I don’t have the desire that I did back in 2008 to say ‘I’m going to crush this game and be in the nosebleeds playing with [Patrik] Antonius’…that desire is gone, I don’t think that’s for me.” So what does he want for the future of his vlog? “I just want to get better. This is very personal to me. *** Burton’s in a much better mood now. He heads out onto the Las Vegas strip with the news that his equipment bag has been located and will be returned shortly. He holds up his handheld camera and matter-of-factly shares his next moves - a friendly game at the Westgate, a trip to the Bellagio, perhaps a delightful piece of cheesecake. After a long grueling day, his viewers watch on he shuts off the camera only to get up the next day, to start filming again and to get back to work on getting just a little bit better.
  5. Celebrity in the poker world is hard to define. The line between the level of Daniel Negreanu and Phil Hellmuth and then everyone else doesn’t exist the way it did before Black Friday. There are celebrities in poker and vloggers are part of a niche group that draws its own fanbase. This draw is proving to be beneficial for both the vloggers themselves and a certain Las Vegas casino. Fine Line Andrew Neeme leads the vlogging brigade with 81,000 subscribers. That rate of traffic translates to only 12,100 Twitter followers. The vlogging world is establishing a foothold but hasn’t yet gone mainstream. Neeme is considered a celebrity among his community. Last week, he was recognized for his vlog via two American Poker Awards. Where does Neeme’s popularity come from? He thinks that the poker world thrives on active communication as the largest factor. “The poker world is relatively small, and the ‘community’ likes to share things, whether it's strategy or gossip or content,” Neeme said. “It's one of the reasons the vlog took off so quickly. So since the videos have been shared by many different corners of the community, there are people that say hi in almost every poker room, which is really cool because everyone is so nice.” The recognition of Neeme extends outside of U.S. borders. The worldwide vlogger has had fans come up to him in London’s Trafalgar Square. Every Session Becomes a Home Game Andrew Pieper and Tim Watts have increased encounters with fans during their sessions as a result of the respective growth of their vlogs. The pair shares a hesitancy of being spotted as they believe it hurts their image. Overall, they realize it’s best for their brand to have as many fans and future subscribers as possible. “I get recognized a lot. Just last night, someone said hi to me at Harrah's Table 5, the I moved to Table 2 and another guy mentioned it. It's still kinda weird for me, so many people knowing who I am,” Watts said. Is There Value in Signing an Endorsement? The vloggers think they have a chance to boost the profile of smaller casinos. The Westgate in Las Vegas hosts meetups and games featuring vloggers and has seen its traffic grow, according to Brad Owen. The correlation between having a familiar face in the room on a regular basis is a benefit Owen is surprised more casinos have not yet taken advantage of. “For the land-based casinos, a lot of people will say ‘Oh I’m going to go check out this place because I saw it on your vlog and it cool.’ Like, a lot of people are checking out the Westgate now because they’ve been so receptive to the whole vlogging thing. It’s crazy to me that other smaller poker rooms aren’t jumping on board,” Owen commented. Pieper and Neeme both agree that Westgate’s utilization of the reach of vloggers has helped to build the casino’s brand. When Does the Money Hit? The question of money isn’t pertinent yet to the vlogging panel. Understanding that monetary expansion comes with building an audience keeps them hungry to produce more quality content. “Anytime you're able to build an audience, there will be opportunities to partner with organizations who want to work together, Neeme said. “I'm definitely open to partnerships from which everyone finds value, as long as the audience is included in ‘everyone.’ It doesn't need to be a required goal when you're starting a project like this, though. Documenting this time in your life will have the built in benefit of you or your kids being able to look back on it some years down the road.” The ‘celebrity’ factor draws in gradual rewards and perhaps soon enough the money will follow.
  6. “It wasn’t always easy. When I first moved out here in 2012, I played for like six months. I moved to L.A. and didn’t have good bankroll management, expenses were a lot higher and I ended up going broke and I moved back in with my parents. That was especially brutal.” That was nearly five years ago, and while Las Vegas-based professional poker player Brad Owen has learned a thing or two about playing within his bankroll and dealing with the swings that come with a life as a poker pro, it’s still not always easy. In addition to grinding out on-the-felt gains, Owen is one poker’s top-tier vloggers, constantly documenting his exploits as a real-life $2/$5 reg in Sin City and that comes with its own learning curve. When Owen first started to vlog, in December of 2016, he thought no one would even watch. He had seen the beginnings of fellow grinder Andrew Neeme’s vlog and, while not trying to compete per se, he thought he could offer a different perspective. A perspective he hoped would help him bridge a gap between him and his family. “I really wanted my family to see what my life was like. I felt like there was a big disconnect between my family and friends in California and myself. So this was a way to show them what poker is really like, that there’s actual skill involved and that I’m making money at it.” Owen’s parents were not always completely on board with his efforts to be a poker pro, despite him having played the game for so long. Owen recalls starting to play around the age of 14, mostly with his older brother Matt and his friends. That extended into high school and, eventually, when Owen went to college in San Diego, he got his first taste of playing in a casino. He started grinding the $3/$6 limit games and playing $40 tournaments. In 2010, he played the largest tournament he’d ever played to that point - a $100 satellite to the Main Event of the World Series of Poker. He won the seat, and by the conclusion of his WSOP Main Event opening flight, Owen became hooked. “It was a dream come true just to make it through Day 1 and to be toward the top of the chip lead was pretty sweet,” Owen recalled. “I didn’t feel completely outmatched. In my mind, I felt like I could compete with the best in the world. I didn’t realize how much I had to learn.” Although he busted in the middle of Day 2, he set about learning. Some of it, the hard way. In 2012 he made his first foray into trying to play professionally. He first moved to Las Vegas, then to Los Angeles and it ended up with his crashing with his, then, disapproving parents back in Santa Rosa, CA. Broke and living with his parents he needed a new direction. He decided to study to become a CPA. After passing all the tests though he found getting employed difficult because firms tended to only hire out of colleges. It was the middle of summer and he could only find one master's program still accepting applications. It just so happened to be UNLV. “I applied and got in at the last minute and moved back to Las Vegas in the fall of 2013. The master's program is only a one year program that prepares you for taking the CPA exams. It was all review for me so I spent a lot of time playing poker and rebuilding my bankroll.” Owen finished his Masters, got a job at a top-flight accounting firm and was put to work. He was crunching number sometimes 70-80 hours a week. “It wasn't something that I enjoyed or found interesting. I thought that if instead I put in that kind of time and effort into poker I could make way more money,” Owen said. “When I started playing poker again full time, I was able to take a more disciplined and professional approach. My parents weren't happy with my decision to go back to poker but at least I had a master's degree and a CPA license to fall back on. It hasn't been a completely smooth second stint but it has gone well for the most part” Times are better now, and part of that is in thanks to his vlog. His parents are his #1 fans, watching every episode and his siblings both follow the vlog closely. They aren’t the only ones. His vlog on YouTube has over 32,000 subscribers who tune in to Owen’s adventures. At first, Owen thought of his vlog as a growing experience for his poker career. Hoping there’d be some back and forth on how he played specific hands. Nowadays he finds that while there’s a little of that, there are a lot of beginning poker players who tune in to learn. So, in order to keep things fresh for himself, Owen, who is a fan of comedy, tried to keep his videos light and loaded with humor. “I’ve always been a fan of stand-up comedy, The Office, Seinfeld, and shows like that,” Owen said. “I emphasize comedy and humor a little bit more than most do. That’s something I enjoy more than teaching people how to play poker. I enjoy making people laugh.” In his videos Owens is quick to deliver punchlines in the same cadence that he’s describing a check-raise, giving viewers a taste of his dry and affable sense of humor and personality. It’s that personality, and the poker, that people tune in to see and, of course, Owen’s on-screen foil, his “talking” cat Cosmo. While he’s got his style down, it took him a while to get the process down. He says that when he first started building the videos it would take him 25-30 hours to complete a 15-minute clip. The effort was so laborious that if it weren’t for the encouragement of the Las Vegas poker community he may have stopped. Even now, though he’s better at the process, he’s still spending a ton of time editing on the laptop. “It’s becoming a second job now. The vlogging is starting to pay pretty well and so I’m putting a lot more hours into that than I am playing poker. I played maybe 700-800 hours last year and I probably worked on videos for like 1000 or 1200 hours,” Owen estimates acknowledging that as a pro player one would like to get in about 1500 hours a year. “That’s one thing that worries me is that people see my videos and Andrew’s [Neeme] and think that poker is something that’s really easy. It’s another thing that they don’t really see all the effort.” All of Owen’s effort seems to be paying off. He had the ability to play poker and create content while making a living at both, all the while his audience continues to grow. As he looks to the future, Owen sees a wide variety of possibilities including branching out into streaming poker online, seeing more parts of the world and continuing to support Off The Felt, the online poker forums he and his brother Matt created. “I have no idea what’s going to be happening a year from now, what opportunities that I’ll have but I really hope that I’ll be traveling a lot more and get the green light to film in a lot more casinos. That’s definitely the goal.” In the meantime, Owen plans to continue sharing his experience. “This has been a really cool period in my life where I’m doing something that I really enjoy doing.”
  7. Let’s say that after seeing a few of the latest wave of poker vlogs you’re thinking to yourself, “Hey, I can do that!” Indeed you can and we’re here to help. Before you rack up thousands of views and spend hundreds of hours editing, you’d better take a look at some of the basics of what it’s going to take to catapult you to becoming the next vlogging sensation. Get A Camera And Press Record This is obvious, right? You need a camera to record your adventures and poker musings. But what kind? Practically everyone nowadays has a camera in their pocket (on their smartphone) but is that good enough? “Smartphone cameras are great. So you can get started using your smartphone. The one thing that you will quickly hit is that the low light sensors on smartphones are horrible. Since most people play during the night, getting shots outside of you talking to the camera would be very hard.” says Jaman Burton, created of the poker vlog The Drawing Dead. So clearly, one not only can use their smartphone, they may really need one to get those close-to-the-table shots. But what about when you want to “up your game” and get some really good looking shots? One of the most prolific poker vloggers, Andrew Neeme, understands that sometimes it’s not the camera but what you do with it. “Your phone can do the trick. Having some proper equipment is beneficial to the viewer's experience, but what's even more beneficial is being entertaining, providing useful information, or telling a good story,” Neeme says. But if you do want to get a fancy camera, it’s not going to break the bank necessarily. “The camera that I use, Trooper (Tim Watts) uses, Andrew uses, Johnny Vibes uses…it’s like $500 at Best Buy. So it’s not super expensive, that’s not where the big cost is,” Burton says. When you do get that fancy camera, don’t forget a handheld tripod! And Action! Now that you have your camera, it’s time to record. Plot out a little about what you want to talk about and show. Is it going to be random thoughts, your daily routine or a poker session? Put some thought in ahead of time to what you’d like the finished product to look like (even if it turns out differently) so when you shoot, the editing process won’t be so difficult. A couple of areas to think about when recording: * Lighting - make sure there’s ample lighting and, unless going for a dark effect, put that light source in front of you so your viewers can see the delight on your face as you talk about how you were all in preflop against the table bully and you “had Aces!” * Sound - not all cameras have amazing built-in mics. You may need an external audio source (during his intros and exits vlogger Brad Owen uses a Blue Yeti USB external mic). Also, make sure the environment is conducive to picking up your voice. There’s a reason some vloggers wrap up their sessions in their cars as opposed to standing outside in the wind. One trick many vloggers use is to record video with their nice camera while recording the audio on their phone and then sync it up in post-production. * Authenticity - You don’t need to be completely authentic, but it sure helps. Yes, there are “personalities” who vlog and they can be a fun watch, but the rising stars in the genre seemingly have an honest approach both in how they conduct themselves as well as their sessions. Something to consider before you put yourself out there. Putting It All Together That was fun, right? You put in a winning session and talked about how good the Forester pizza is at the Aria and you can’t wait for people to check it out. Well, there’s a good deal of work still ahead. You need to edit all the footage together, find some music, sync it with your audio and add whatever graphics you may want. Here comes some serious time commitment. First, you’re going to need a video editor to dump the footage in. There’s a few to choose from including the basic iMovie to some more advanced options like Final Cut Pro X and Adobe Premiere. “I probably do things the most basic way out of all the vloggers. I do everything on iMovie and I spent about two hours looking at tutorials before I made my first one. Which is not really very much time at all…and I think that it shows,” says vlogger Brad Owen. There’s a lot to learn but don’t let that deter you, there’s plenty of help available out there. “I'm using Adobe Premiere Pro which has been pretty solid. There are tons of features that I'll likely never know how to use. The basics took me a couple days to figure out. There is a YouTube video out there for every question one has, whether it's about video editing, gardening, auto maintenance…,” says Neeme. Time To Upload You’ve done it, after hours of filming, editing, placing overlays and choosing the right music you’re ready for everyone to see it. Well, you've got upload it to a video hosting platform and it’s no secret that YouTube is the king of online content. Sure, you could use Vimeo or go direct to Facebook, but in general, YouTube is easily the platform that gives you the most linkable, shareable bang for your time (not buck, because it’s free). Try to think of a clickable title that best describes what your video is about, something like “Poker, Pizza, Profit - All In With Aces!” Tell The World There it is. Your first vlog in all its glory. Tens of hours of hard work and currently 13 views, 10 of which were you checking it out on different computers in different browsers making sure it looks as good as you think. Time to get the word out and promote your latest film. So what’s the best way to grow your fledgling channel? Vlogger Andrew Pieper takes to social media, "Collaborating with other vloggers and promoting through other social media (Twitter and Instagram). I wrote a few articles and saw some channel growth from there.” For Brad Owen, he puts himself out there on-screen and lets word of mouth do the rest. “I don’t promote it. I just don’t like the idea of doing that kind of thing to be honest. I like the whole natural growth and if it does grow that’s great, because it’s fun to watch numbers go up. It’s something that I pay attention to a little bit, a little more now but in the beginning, I really didn’t pay attention to it at all. I want to make sure that the channel is still growing and if it’s not I need to reevaluate different things that I’m doing to try and make it better.” Have Fun Vlog one is in the books. What's next? Keep working on it and perfecting your vision. In time, your audience will come. By all accounts, vlogging is very hard, but rewarding, work so perhaps the most basic tip of the “Basic of Vlogging” is to remember to have fun while you're doing it.
  8. You have a passion for poker and video. What better to combine the two than starting your own vlog? Playing poker is the easy part. Just find a casino near you. The hard end of the equation is finding the right equipment to film, produce, and edit the vlogs. All vloggers in the “Vlog, Turn, River” series had the same challenge on their hands upon starting and have recommendations for what is best to use. The preference varies from vlog to vlog with the same advice of “the story is the most important part.” Starting Off Small A smartphone is the best tool for filming at the table, according to most of the panel. Vlogger extraordinaire Andrew Neeme is of the mind that telling a good story for the audience is more important than what the story is shot on. Smartphone types range from an iPhone 6 used by Brad Owen to the LG Stylo employed in the hands Andrew Pieper. There is a secret to using a smartphone that Pieper enjoys. “There are drawbacks to carrying around a bigger camera. I can film stuff inconspicuously with my phone.” Pieper said. When at the table, vloggers prefer to keep things as simple as possible. The act of sitting and filming becomes cumbersome at times due to the limited available space. Taking it to The Next Level Jaman Burton takes the camera game one step up. The St. Louis-based vlogger has an army of toys at his disposal. When on the vlogging grind, Burton uses the combination of a digital camera, smartphone, action camera, and a drone. Outside of the cost of the assumed existence of a smartphone, Burton estimates that the added price of the other equipment runs up to $1,700. The toy army employed by Burton has different uses that allow him to bring an added flair to his vlog. “I use the Canon Powershot G7 Mark II,” Burton listed. “I also have an action camera, that’s like a knock-off GoPro that was like $70. I used to have that mounted in my car. That’s what I use for my car shots. Then a drone. I have a DJI Spark. Then there’s various tripods, memory cards and things like that that will run you another couple of hundred bucks.” Burton sets up his Samsung Note 9 when he films at the table. Making the Production Magic Happen Most of the vlogging action takes place on the felt and in a second location for hand reviews. The home for all the footage is on a personal computer. The preferred choice for this task is a MacBook Pro laptop. MacBooks host programs such as iMovie and Final Cut. These programs are the ones our panel finds most useful to make their vlogs. Matt Vaughan started using iMovie on his MacBook Pro and then made the transition to his iMac. From there, Vaughan enlisted Final Cut. Vaughan tends to vlog from home with his desktop. If he needs to take the show on the road, Vaughan has external hard drives on hand to assist with the excessive storage space needed. The Final Cut program adds a professional layer to vlogging that Jaman Burton, in particular, enjoys. Burton purchased a 2017 MacBook Pro for $3,000 and is reaping the benefits of having up-to-date software on his machine. “I use Final Cut Pro X. I bought some custom LUTs. It’s basically a cheap way of color grading. It puts an adjustment layer on top of my film to make it look a certain way,” Burton detailed. The PC crowd is represented by Tim Watts and Andrew Pieper. Using a Dell and Lenovo laptop, respectively, both vloggers utilize the built-in PowerDirector program. Andrew Neeme finds himself on an island with Adobe Premiere Pro. Worry not, the premiere vlogger says that help is only a few YouTube clicks away. “I'm using Adobe Premiere Pro which has been pretty solid. There are tons of features that I'll likely never know how to use. The basics took me a couple days to figure out. There is a YouTube video out there for every question one has.” Investing in Success The process of becoming a vlogger with thousands of subscribers comes with time and dedication. The panel agrees that there are ways to create a quality vlog without breaking the bank. The showmanship put on by Burton shows in his craft and others can choose to follow in that path. By putting the right amount of money in their vlogging future, the panel has a leg up on the next wave of competition.
  9. The notion of vlogging isn’t completely new, with some of the world’s most popular vloggers, like Casey Neistat, having turned the camera on themselves for the better part of this decade. But when it comes to vlogging in poker, it’s still a little bit of the Wild West. The growing genre is finding many previously largely unknown personalities now making a name for themselves by showcasing their on-the-felt (and off) adventures for all to see. But while many of the personalities that are drawing attention in the space are of the up-and-coming variety some of the biggest stars in poker have spent time vlogging letting their fans in on what they are doing and increase their reach. Daniel Negreanu Daniel Negreanu, arguably, one of the most well-known poker players on the entire planet occasionally turns to vlogging to bring fans inside his routine while playing some of the biggest events of the year. During the 2017 World Series of Poker Negreanu’s team produced 45 days worth of behind-the-scenes content of how Daniel prepares himself to play day-in and day-out. More recently, he fired up the vlog again in his quest to capture the Poker Masters Purple Jacket. He mentioned on his podcast that despite the fact that the WSOP vlog was a ton of continuous work, there’s a good chance that his over 166,000 subscribers will get a fresh batch of WSOP footage beginning this June. Doug Polk One of poker’s more masterful marketers, Doug Polk commands the attention of a legion of fans. Not just in poker but also in the world of cryptocurrency. Nowadays, he’s been more into the world of crypto news and, on the poker side, going in-depth in breaking down televised hands. But Polk has been known to take his audience for a ride along when he’s out doing things like…winning the 2017 High Roller For One Drop at the WSOP for over $3.6 million. Polk has always seemingly been able to jump between social mediums, racking up nearly 175,000 subscribers on his Doug Polk Poker YouTube channel, 100,000 Twitter followers and roughly 70,000 followers on Instagram. It’s been a while since he’s properly vlogged but should crypto take a nose dive and Polk needs to find his way back to the Rio this summer, there’s a good chance his camera won’t be too far behind. Matt Berkey High-stakes cash game grinder Matt Berkey helped produce the eight-part Dead Money documentary on his path to the 2016 Super High Roller Bowl. The episodes are available as streaming-content on PokerGo and Berkey has continued to chronicle his adventures in poker on his YouTube channel. In addition to being a promotional vehicle for his training site, Solve For Why Academy, the vlog focuses on Berkeley and his team as they do everything from detail hand histories from tournaments to recap live cash games. Berkey’s channel is still growing, with just over 6,000 subscribers currently, but Dead Money won an American Poker Award and so it’s likely he’s in the content creation game for some time to come. Jaime Staples As one of the most prolific poker streamers, Jaime Staples is also on a near daily vlogger. Staples documents his travels around the world, looking for places to eat, houses with the best wi-fi and, of course, providing updates on one of the craziest #ultimatesweat weight loss (and gain) bets the poker world has seen since Ted Forrest’s $2 million bet with Mike Matusow. The Team PokerStars Online pro has been gaining followers while shedding pounds. He has been steadily increasing his influence in the community through his 15,000 followers of his daily vlog and the near 50,000 that follow his poker highlights YouTube channel. Jeff Gross Jeff Gross was once dubbed a “professional best friend”, hanging around with the likes of Olympic Champion Michael Phelps, original One Drop winner Antonio Esfandiari and Streamboat Captain Bill Perkins. Nowadays, he’s hanging out with his viewers having secured a sponsorship deal with PokerStars, Gross spends his time streaming his Flow Show and dabbling in the occasional vlog when he’s playing live events. These are just a few of already established players who have taken to vlogging. Others like World Series of Poker bracelet winner Ryan Laplante, Team PokerStars Online pro Fintan Hand, and Poker Life Podcast host Joey Ingram all have taken turns breaking down hands, sharing their thoughts and peeling back the curtain of their day-to-day lives. With less than 100 days left until the World Series of Poker fans of poker vlogs can expect an avalanche of content from some of these popular poker personalities.
  10. You might have noticed somebody in your regular game sitting there with a camera - or two - in front of them. You may also have seen that player walk away from the table and start talking into one of those cameras. It’s all part of a grassroots movement that has beginnings from far outside of poker. Welcome to the world of vlogs. The poker community really jumped on the vlogging train in the last few years and poker vlogging has grown so much that the American Poker Awards added a Video Blogger of the Year category for 2018. Over the next seven days, VLOG / TURN / RIVER will take poker fans inside the world of poker vlogging with a focus on the people behind the vlogs and the ins and outs of what it takes to produce vlogs on a regular basis. So, what is a Vlog? There’s more than a few very good definitions of the word vlog, but for the purposes of VLOG / TURN / RIVER, we’ve created our own with the intent purpose of celebrating some of the players who have made a name for themselves just by vlogging. So as you read each of the following 13 articles, here’s a definition to keep in mind: poker vlog (noun) a self-produced video journal that chronicles a poker player's personal experiences, thoughts and opinions, which is published online. The Bigger Names Doug Polk, Daniel Negreanu, Matt Berkey and Jamie Staples are just a handful of the more established professional poker players that have taken to vlogging. The content that this group has created is certainly compelling and we’ll spend some time talking about them, but they won’t be the focus of VLOG / TURN / RIVER. The Vloggers Instead, VLOG / TURN / RIVER turned its attention on six players that have made a name for themselves just by vlogging. Each of them has taken their followers into poker rooms and on the road in an attempt to give them a real, honest look at the life of a poker player at various stages of their career. They are: Jaman Burton is a St. Louis, based poker player and the creator of the Drawing Dead vlog. His cinema inspired vlogs capture his cash game poker adventures playing $1/$3 and $2/$5. Andrew Neeme - a Las Vegas-based vlogger who many consider to be the godfather of the group. He regularly posts vlogs from $2/$5 and $5/$10 No Limit games in Las Vegas and other locales. Brad Owen is a professional poker player turned vlogger living in Las Vegas. He frequently chronicles the ups and downs of his poker sessions playing $2/$5 in the card rooms of Sin City. Andrew Pieper is a voluntarily homeless live cash game professional living in Las Vegas, NV. Pieper frequents $1/$3 and $2/$5 cash games across the strip and brings his camera with him to chronicle his journey. Matt Vaughan is a poker vlogger, grinder, and teacher. He splits his time between working with a training site, playing $2/$5 and $5/$10 cash games, and dabbling in the occasional live tournament. Tim Watts, known as 'The Trooper', is a poker-centric vlogger based out of Las Vegas. In addition to showcasing his on-the-felt exploits, he takes his viewers into his day-to-day life. The Features As well as profiling those six vloggers, VLOG / TURN / RIVER also provides insight into other key areas from the world of poker vlogging in an effort to answer some questions that readers and industry insiders may have as the genre continues to grow. What type of equipment players can use if they want to start their own vlog and what are some of the basic skills that might come in handy? Filming inside poker rooms, as most vloggers do, is a tricky subject that crosses into some privacy concerns for other patrons and legal concerns for the properties. What’s the best approach to handling this? As easy as it might seem, the time required to put together each episode of the vlog can get excessive. What are the best ways to manage their time and ways to make sure it doesn’t take too much away from their time at the tables? What does the future hold for the vloggers and the world of vlogging? What will it take for some of these vloggers to pick up a highly coveted sponsorship or ambassador position thanks to the audience they’ve built? As you'll no doubt learn over the course of the next seven days, vlogging is a lot like poker itself. It requires commitment, time away from the table to study and continue to learn ways to get better at your craft, and most of all, a passion for what you're doing. VLOG / TURN / RIVER might introduce you to an entirely new group of storytellers or it might even inspire you to pick up a camera and try doing it yourself.
  11. Andrew Neeme has never won a World Series of Poker bracelet, a World Poker Tour title, a European Poker Tour title and he’s most likely not going to be playing in the Super High Roller Bowl anytime soon. Yet he walks into poker room these days he inevitably runs into a fan. “When you go into a poker room, that you've never been into before, in a city you've never been in before, and someone comes up to and says that they watch the vlog and they really dig it, that's pretty cool,” said Neeme. Over the last 17 months, Neeme has become the Godfather of Poker Vloggers, building a YouTube channel with over 80,000 subscribers and inspiring others to take the leap and start vlogs of their own. It wasn’t his goal when he first turned the camera on himself, but knowing others have followed his lead is a great byproduct of his work. “One of the coolest results would be if you could inspire somebody else to give something a shot, try something new, especially something creative. So, I tried to encourage people to try do something that is on their mind, whether that's in poker, vlogging, or any sort of project that might be on their minds in life,” said Neeme, who won the American Poker Award last month for Video Blogger of the Year. Neeme has been living in Las Vegas for almost 10 years after leaving his career in the music industry to play poker professionally. All of that time at the tables ended up providing the inspiration for Neeme to start the vlog. “It was a combination of some external and internal factors. Internally, I think I was just a little bit burnt out from just grinding cards day in and day out. I felt like I could do something a little bit more creative,” said Neeme. He actually started on Instagram, challenging himself to post one thing a day for a year. That got his creative juices flowing and he eventually discovered video. “I felt like I could capture the low to mid stakes, the essence of the low to mid stakes poker grind. And share that with an audience and present it in a way that I thought they would get a kick out of,” said Neeme, who also includes some of the Las Vegas lifestyle stuff in his videos. When Neeme does meet a fan of his vlog, they usually find him to be very much like the person they see in the videos, with maybe one exception. “I think when people either meet me or they play poker with me when, and I’m obviously not talking into a camera, they're surprised I'm a little bit quieter than they suspected because when I'm on video, I’m obviously talking nonstop when the camera's on me, it'd be a little weird if I wasn't,” said Neeme. “When I'm thinking through poker hands or just chilling at the poker table, they get surprised that I'm not a chatterbox or something. So, I think I'm probably more introverted than having a vlog would suggest.” While the vlog originally gave Neeme a way to get his creative juices flowing, it’s also meant less hours actually playing poker. When he first started the vlog, he needed two full days edit each roughly 20-minute video. Now that he’s over 100 videos into it, he’s learned to refine the process and cut down the time each one takes, but still admits that the labor part of vlogging can be a bit much sometimes. “The editing is tedious at times. When I'm inserting all these hand histories, some videos have five or six hands, and you spend a couple minutes at least, with the video time, talking about each hand. That means inserting all the cards, community cards, all the different actions, and pot sizes, and all these things. So, there's not a whole lot of creativity that goes into that and that's just another grind,” said Neeme. Dedicating himself to that grind and the desire to regularly put out a high-quality product, means Neeme isn’t playing the Las Vegas No Limit cash games as much as he used to be. It’s a sacrifice he’s okay with though. “I think that when you start a vlog and you want it to be of a certain quality, you want it capture as much of your life or career, whatever as possible. Then that almost becomes either part-time job or your career in some fashion.So, I'm now part-time poker, part-time vlogger,” said Neeme, who appreciates what that means for some of the up and coming vloggers who aren’t playing the stakes that Neeme does. “I think it's especially difficult if you are trying to capture these things as a $1/$2 player because when you're a $1/$2 player if you have to put in so many hours to meet your income level, to be able to pay your bills, and to hopefully, eventually get out of $1/$2,” said Neeme. “I don't think people realize that when they are a little bit critical of some low stakes vloggers when they don't realize how much work goes into producing vlogs and creating a YouTube channel.” As Neeme’s audience has grown, it’s not just fans that are saying hello. Some online poker sites and some land-based poker rooms have also reached out, looking to leverage that audience in some way. It’s turned into a few overseas trips for Neeme that gave him the opportunity to produce content in places around the world, something that his audience gets to benefit from too. “There seems to be more opportunities to visit some of these poker destinations, these poker tours. As partypoker keeps their foot on the gas, ramping up their tour and 888 is doing their thing,” said Neeme. “It seems like there's some opportunities to work together that's mutually beneficial to everybody. And everybody including my audience because I think they get a kick out of checking out some of these different destinations.” Even as those opportunities continue to find Neeme, he’s not going to change much about who he is or how he lives his life. When he first decided to play for a living, one of the appealing factors was that he’d be his own boss and that continues now with the vlog. “The cool thing is, I don’t have to answer to a boss or someone else. It’s all on me. That’s pretty much the way I would want it,” said Neeme. “I think that’s ideal for my situation and my personality, just answering to myself and then having all the stress on my shoulders.”
  12. When it comes to storytelling, former underground poker dealer turned entrepreneurial vlogger Tim ‘TheTrooper97’ Watts, has no shortage of material. “I had a gun literally six inches from my chest.” If you ask Watts to tell you a story, he's going to tell you a good one. “I was at a game and it sounded like a fight was breaking out in the kitchen. There were houses that were rented just for poker,” Watts recalls and then goes on to describe the state of private poker games in Greenville, South Carolina in 2008. “They busted in, there was four of them…next thing you know that had [the host’s girlfriend] with a gun pointed at her head and demanded everyone to take their pants off. The reason they did that is because they knew that the dealers and different people had money in their pockets.” Luckily for Watts, he only lost $200 to the brazen robbers that day and today, the only thing he routinely has pointed at him is his DSLR camera - and that he holds himself. Watts is one of the poker vlogging pioneers, a rapid-fire personality with an all-in approach to life. His YouTube Channel has drawn in over 30,000 subscribers and holds over 600 videos, each one revealing his man-about-Vegas world to those who want to take a walk on the Watts side. “I basically just used to be a gambler. I loved everything gambling related…any kind of gambling.” Whatever there was to gamble on the man they call “Trooper” would throw down on. So when he was invited to a home poker game in South Carolina, where he was living, in the post-Moneymaker boom, he gladly took a seat. As the deal was passed around, Watts found he had a flair for pitching cards - one he picked up from dealing himself blackjack hands at home by himself, just to get a feel for some action. The guy who ran the game took notice and the next thing he knew, he was dealing on the Greenville, SC underground poker circuit. Making money in those same houses that eventually would be targeted by both cops and robbers alike. Watts would eventually leave the underground games and spend years moving to and from Las Vegas, making ends meet while still playing poker. He was hustling, trying to make things better for himself. It’s now January 2012 and Watts and his buddy decided to travel to Biloxi, MS to play some single table satellites for a poker series. “A few days before that I sort of discovered YouTube. YouTube had been around for a long time, but I really started to understand what was happening on there. People were creating channels and making money.” Making money sounded pretty good at that point. Watts, after seeing other vloggers on YouTube do their thing, took yet another gamble. He grabbed a camera, turned it on himself and started talking to it, allowing his larger-than-life personality to take over and be the centerpiece for whatever his young channel would become. “I like being silly in the vlogs. The vlog is an outlet. When I used to wait tables or when I was in high school, I was always the class clown. Always acting silly, cutting up, horseplay…and I was always the main character involved in all shenanigans.” Those shenanigans and quite a bit of poker content have helped Watts create a loyal community that follows his Vegas adventures, attend a weekly meet-up game at Las Vegas’ Westgate, decked out in Watts’ trademark “Go Gamble” gear. When you ask Watts what he thinks his own vlog is about now, almost four years into making his vlog a near daily pursuit, he seems to be torn. “The purpose for me and the purpose for the viewers are two different things,” Watts said. “I think some people like to watch the vlog because they love Vegas and they get to go to Vegas for ten minutes every day.” But for Watts himself, the one-time potential money-making scheme of turning views into ad revenue has evolved a bit. “The purpose for me is to demonstrate that you have one life and you should do what you want to do. I would like to be more successful at whatever the hell it is that I am doing today. But I’m a lot happier doing what I am doing right now, like 100 times happier.” While poker and vlogging have resulted in a pretty good gig for the one-time waiter, he’s indicated that this is not all there is. His obsession with Starbucks and coffee, in general, may be the clue to what comes next for Watts. His vlog has afforded him many opportunities, awakening his entrepreneurial spirit and allowing him to travel to parts of the world he may have never gone, but he insists that even though he’s been recording his daily routine for nearly four years, it’s just the beginning for him. The story as it’s currently being told certainly is a good one, but he understands that at some point it will have to change. So what’s the end goal for Watts? “The goal has always been to build a better life, whatever that means.”
  13. The poker calendar was in full swing by the time March came around with plenty of headlines fueling the fire of the late winter months. In addition to all of the news and results of the month, the world of poker vlogging took center stage on PocketFives in March. VLOG/TURN/RIVER Early in 2018, poker vlogging had hit a fever pitch and the PocketFives in-depth series VLOG/TURN/RIVER put the spotlight on the ever-groaning poker content created by the poker player for the poker player. We conducted in-depth interviews with some of the mediums most popular personalities including Andrew Neeme, Jaman Burton, Brad Owen and more. Additionally, PocketFives drilled down on the art of vlogging. We tackled topics including how to get started vlogging, the tools of the trade and how to grow an online audience. Take a look back at the entire VLOG/TURN/RIVER series: Profiles: Andrew Neeme Andrew Pieper Brad Owen Jaman Burton Matt Vaughan Tim ‘The Trooper’ Watts Inside Vlogging: A Primer On Starting Your Own Vlog Inside The World Of Poker Vlogging Learn About The Tools of the Trade Growing A Vlog Audience Requires Commitment Vloggers Still Hoping For Endorsement Windfall Negreanu, Polk Among Big Names on Vlog Train World Poker Tour Crowns A Pair of First-Time Champions The World Poker Tour wrapped two of their Season 16 events in the month of March as a pair of first-time champions were crowned. In the first week of the month, Dennis Blieden, playing in his very first WPT event defeated Toby Lewis heads up to claim the title of 2018 Los Angeles Poker Classic Champion. Blieden, who had a total of roughly $22,000 in total recorded cashes before the tournament, walked with a cool $1,000,000 first place prize. READ: First-Timer Dennis Blieden Wins WPT L.A. Poker Classic, $1M The very next week Bay Area grinder David Larson bested the 440 runners at WPT Rolling Thunder at the Thunder Valley Casino in Lincoln, CA. Larson, who stone-bubbled the satellite to win a seat, bought in and turned his $3,500 investment into a $295,128 payday and a ticket to the WPT Champions Club. READ: WPT - David Larson Wins Rolling Thunder While Larson walked away with the title, it was runner-up Ian Steinman that had everyone talking. In one of the most talked about hands of the year, Steinman made one of the biggest folds the poker world had seen in some time when he let go of a set of kings against World Series of Poker Main Event Champion Joe McKeehen when McKeehen went runner-runner into the nut straight. Watch the amazing hand below. Matt ‘OLD TIME GIN’ Stone Wins Sunday Million Before he made his way into the worldwide top 10 in 2018, Canada’s Matt ‘GINS FINEST’ Stone picked up a massive score when he took down the PokerStars Sunday Million. Stone defeated a field of 5,971 to bring home the $161,237 prize just days after winning both the Sunday Warm Up the weekend before and the PokerStars $1,050 Super Tuesday in late February. After his March heater, Stone continued to grind straight through to the summer and beyond. He entered the worldwide top-10 for the first time and climbed to a career-high ranking of #3 in the world. He eclipsed the $5 million mark in 2018. READ: SUNDAY MAJORS - Matt 'Old Time Gin' Stone Grabs Sunday Million Win partypoker Hit With Server Issues Increases Sunday Guarantees Many months before the partypoker 2018 MILLIONS Online set the record for the largest tournament in history, partypoker announced that they were ramping up their tournament offerings and guarantees on their Sunday schedule. In the middle of their March 4 tournament schedule players experienced significant downtime and technical problems causing partypoker to postpone and even cancel some of their tournaments. The site addressed the issues head-on, dealing with player complaints on social media. Finally, in a bid to make things right with their customer base partypoker added $2 million worth of guarantees to their schedule the following weekend continuing their campaign of going “All In.” Read: partypoker Increases Sunday Guarantees In Wake Of Server Issues Sweden’s ‘C Darwin2’ Wins Monthly PLB Title, Stays #1 In The World There was no stopping Sweden’s ‘C Darwin2’ in early 2018 and at the end of March not only did he capture the monthly PLB title, but he had spent the entire calendar year as the #1-ranked player in the world. On March 4, ‘C Darwin2’ finished as the runner-up in Event 70 of the PokerStars Turbo Series ($5,200 NLHE Eight Max High Roller) for a mammoth $161,411 score. However, this would not be his largest payday of the month just weeks later, on March 20, he won PokerStars High Rollers #7 ($10,300 NLHE) for $267,406, his current career all-time high payday.
  14. Poker vloggers let their audiences ride shotgun on their journey but keeping up to date on them can be a bit of a challenge. Each week, PocketFives brings you a selection of the very best so you can watch them all in a single session. Marle Cordeiro Wants Five Minutes of Your Time In case you've ever wanted to crack the code on what it takes to win at the low stakes cash game level, Marle Cordeiro has the answer to that question in this week's vlog. She also talks about a recent trip to Austin, Texas for her very first Meet Up Game. Brad Owen Takes on Hollywood Remember that scene in Rounders where Worm goes into a bit of a monologue while subtly asking Mike for a stake? Brad Owen and Andrew Neeme basically lived that out while in Hollywood. Owen and Neeme both bust a tournament at Hollywood Park Casino and Owen was a little short of the buy-in for a $5/$10 cash game. We'll let Owen take it from there. Live at the Bike Doesn't Go So Well for Johnnie Vibes Everybody has a rival. Johnnie Vibes is no different and this week he gets into the growing rivalry he has with Live at the Bike regular Francisco while also providing some analysis on the hands he played during the session. Things don't go well for Johnnie. The ALL IN Poker Vlog Heads to the Wynn For the past seven months, the ALL IN Poker Vlog has been going to different Las Vegas poker rooms to give fans at home a look at how each one is different. In this episode, he heads off to the Wynn Poker Room for the first time. This is definitely a vlog you're going to want to subscribe to if you plan on going to Las Vegas for the World Series of Poker this summer. The Godfather Goes to Reno and Goes Quads vs. Quads Sometimes poker vloggers struggle to get good hands to talk about in their vlogs. Sometimes though, they win with quads over quads on a live-streamed tournament at Run It Up Reno. And of course, that happened to Andrew Neeme this week. To be honest, though, we're not entirely thrilled to see somebody losing with pocket fives here. It's still definitely worth watching.
  15. Andrew Neeme has, once again, taken his show on the road. The king of the poker vlogs has teamed up with 888poker to provide fans a weekend's worth of live streams from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. From March 28-31, Neeme will be hosting a series of live streams of both cash games and tournaments, while showing off 888poker’s brand new Poker 8 client. Neeme is no stranger to being in front of the camera. He’s made his mark in the game of poker through the production of poker vlogs and posting them to his YouTube channel, where he boasts over 112,000 subscribers. But this weekend, he's not on a vlogging expedition - he's planning on hours and hours of streaming. While some content consumers may lump vlogging and streaming into the same category, Neeme explains that there’s a considerable difference in the production. “The biggest difference between the two platforms, for me, is that vlogging takes at least two full days and sometimes much longer to share an experience with the audience,” Neeme said. “Whereas streaming happens instantaneously, and then it's done. “When I’m making a vlog, it usually entails covering a full poker session, plus some combination of lifestyle content and b-roll. Maybe the session in questions takes place in another state. Then you have to consider travel, too. Then, you have twelve hours of editing to do. So, you could be looking at a four or five-day affair required to put one vlog together." "These streamers don’t know how easy they have it. Joking…kind of.” It makes sense for Neeme to help 888poker expose their brand to a new audience, his appeal is worldwide and his travels have taken him all over the planet. But to put in the poker grind in front of thousands of viewers of over the weekend, he picked Calgary for a very specific reason. “Calgary AirBnB’s are quite reasonably priced and it’s only a one hour difference from Vegas and a two-hour flight. More important than that: Kevin Martin is here,” Neeme said. Kevin Martin, a former PokerStars sponsored streamer, is a fellow member of Team Run It Up and one of the most experienced poker streamers in the game. “Spending time with Kevin is always recommended, and when you are trying a poker streaming experiment in his country, it’s best if he’s a short holler away.” Neeme may want to make sure he’s able to spend time with Martin, but for fans all over the United States and abroad, spending time with Neeme and his fellow poker vlogger Brad Owen is what they are after. That has led to a movement in live poker in the form of Meet Up Games (MUGs). Neeme and Owen have been traveling all over the U.S. to host live cash games and the player reactions have been overwhelmingly positive. “One of the best parts about hosting the MUGs is just getting face-to-face with the people who make up such a passionate part of your audience. They’re just stoked that you brought the vlog to their spot, where they always play,” Neeme said.”They’re excited to play some hands together, to ask questions about the vlogging process and to play in what, basically, feels like a home game inside the casino.” As the Meet Up Games increase and their popularity grows, Neeme finds that in addition to the highs of interacting with fans, there are some challenges that come with going on the road. “We've been doing a ton of traveling this year so far thanks to the MUGs, where it's really toeing the burnout line,” Neeme said. “The pressure comes from trying to get everywhere and do everything. It's exhausting traveling somewhere, hosting an event, trying to play reasonably good poker, having a couple beers with people while also remembering to film it all, flying back, editing everything for 12 hours, then getting right back on the road to do it again. But it's such a unique spot that we're in right now with this experience, that you don't want to take it for granted. You want to keep the momentum going and get to all the spots where people want to be a part of a Meet Up Game.” Travel was again on the agenda for Neeme with the opportunity to play some online poker on 888poker in Canada. However, as he mentioned, Neeme's real grind has been on the live scene and with online poker in its current state in the U.S, Neeme knows he may be a little behind when it comes to an online grind. “Even though I started my poker career by grinding online, it's definitely not my specialty. There are many poker streamers that play better than I do in that arena,” he said. “So, even though my YouTube videos were never about, ‘Do what I do if you want to make a lot of money!’, it's still awkward in some spots. I don't want to play for too significant of stakes because I'll probably just get mopped up by the real online grinders of the world.” That said, he’ll be firing in plenty of tournaments over his weekend in Calgary. His intent is to put in long sessions, connect with his fans and see if he can’t take down a tournament or two. “My tournament game is great! That is, compared to someone who's never played a tournament before,” Neeme joked. “Compared to Kevin Martin's, my game sucks. But I can probably do OK in a lot of low stakes fields, and maybe very occasionally book a win if I put in the volume. But most importantly, my chat-with-the-audience game is fucking strong. I can simulcast on both YouTube and Twitch, and monitor both chat boxes, and do it like I've been doing it for years. And I can rock a solid playlist on Spotify, that's big too.” He may be kidding about the strength of his tournament game, but there’s no doubt his ability to generate excitement among his supporters is one of the strongest in poker. Last year, he took home two American Poker Awards, one for Video Blogger of the Year and also the People’s Choice Award for Poker Personality of the Year. He’s nominated once again in the first ever Global Poker Awards for Vlogger of the Year. When it comes to being nominated for a second year in a row, Neeme is both low-key and humble about his own nomination. He echos the sentiment that there’s room for both the category and the platform of vlogging to grow. “I guess it’s more important what other people, who have votes, think of my nomination and this content creation and the community building that’s been going on in poker over the past couple of years,” Neeme said. “I think there are some people with votes who will look at it all and think it’s pretty dope. And there will be others with votes who have no clue about it whatsoever. “A lot of the people probably remember my name from last year’s awards so they clicked it along with some other names they recognize. But not as a result of really paying attention to, what I think, is one of the dopest trends in poker. They don’t know that Brad Owen and Johnnie Vibes and Jaman Burton are out there doing the same thing and creating longform vlogs that are watched by hundreds of thousands of people.” “I think it would be great to see poker rooms, as well as some of the mid-major live tours, at least have a chat with some of these guys. Let’s get everyone on the same page about what’s happening, who is passionate about what and how their stories can amplify one another.” Neeme’s own story only continues to grow with opportunity from within the poker industry and the appreciation of those who follow his journey. His vlogging will continue and perhaps, after Calgary, he’ll be incorporating some more streaming into his routine “in the year 2055 when half the states have passed poker bills.” “Seriously, though, there will be some fun streaming projects in the very near future that I’m looking forward to experimenting with,” he said. “But when it comes to poker it’s tough when you have to rely on outside forces to get it together.” Follow Andrew Neeme on Twitter and watch his vlogs and streams via YouTube.
  16. The upcoming launch of online poker in Pennsylvania could just a well be a boon to Pennsylvania’s live scene. What started out as a way for a handful of poker vloggers to interact with their fans has turned into an all-out poker movement as ‘Meet Up Games’ continue to pop-up all over the U.S. Notable poker personalities like Brad Owen, Andrew Neeme, Johnnie ‘Vibes’ Moreno and Tim ‘The Trooper’ Watts have brought their online communities out from behind the comments section on their YouTube channels and into the real world to congregate, socialize and play a little poker. For Owen and Neeme, the MUGs have blossomed into a rotating tour of poker rooms from their hometown of Las Vegas to East Coast properties like Maryland Live! and just about every imaginable stop in between. The duo has seen an explosion in their respective online audience in conjunction with the rise of the MUGs. In fact, Owen has recently surpassed his MUG partner Neeme in total subscribers, soaring to over 145,000 fans on YouTube. However, it hasn't always been easy to convince card rooms of the benefits of the MUGs. “Early on it was very difficult pitching the idea of MUGs to prospective properties without a proof of concept,” said Brad Owen. “Most poker room managers weren’t familiar with poker vlogs and didn’t see or understand the value in what we were trying to do. Now that we’ve had success in rooms all over the country, a lot of properties are reaching out to us.” [ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"][ptable zone="888poker NJ"][ptable zone="GG Poker"] With some sites seemingly ready to go live, Pennsylvania looks to be a natural fit for an explosion of future Meet-Up Games. The state, which legalized online gaming nearly two years ago, has always had plenty of live options. There are more than 10 properties in the Keystone State that offer live poker, many of which have partnered with a premier online brand to, eventually, roll out an online poker client. Any of these properties would seemingly make for an excellent landing spot for a new batch of online poker streamers to bring their audience out for a night of live gaming. “There are a lot of poker players in and around that area already so I think MUGs should do very well in PA,” Owen said. “Having online poker would open up some possibilities to interact with viewers in a few ways that haven’t been fully explored yet.” Owen and Neeme have a method of targeting locations for possible MUGs. Of course, it’s nice when they are asked by a property to visit or have an established relationship where they can return to, but if the duo is doing the groundwork they have some ideas of what makes for a ‘favorable’ location. “First, we’ll pick a city or region that we know has lots of poker players and vlog watchers. We’ll take into consideration demographics data provided by YouTube analytics as well as comments and message from our followers,” Owen said. “Andrew and I sometimes bring in 200-300 additional people on a weekday so the property that is hosting the event with us has to have lots of open tables and available dealers. This means that poker rooms that are extremely busy almost every night like Aria or Bellagio aren’t ideal since they don’t have much space for us. “A well-trained staff that is willing to let us play bomb pots and double-board bomb pots is also a big plus. Also, it’s a lot of fun to have drinks with everyone after the poker session so it’s nice too if the property has a bar on-site as well.” The casinos in Pennsylvania addresses many of the checklist issues mentioned by Owen. Another popular Twitch Poker streamer, Trevor Savage, knows the area well and is not only looking forward to the launch of online poker in PA, but the possibility of MUGs springing up there when it does. “There are some great places to play poker in PA,” said Savage. “I spent two years playing at Parx every day between 2011 and 2013 in between Black Friday and regulated poker starting in New Jersey. I still have a lot of contacts there and have been in touch with them in regards to getting a MUG going. They are going through the necessary steps with the commission to make this happen so hopefully, we will soon be talking about the first-ever MUG in PA.” Savage is currently living in one of the sweet spots for regulated online poker. He’s a regular in the online games in New Jersey but is planning on capitalizing when online poker in PA finally gets off the ground. “I love in NJ so I already have online poker here but I’m only 15 minutes or so from Philadelphia. When online poker goes live in PA, I may get an office in Philly and commute there a few days a week to play - if it’s only PA player pools and does not include New Jersey. A lot will depend on my schedule with the family and how I feel like things are going in my life more so than the state of the games in PA,” Savage said. The launch of online poker could be a boon for Meet Up Games and vice versa. Players like Owen and Savage could be turning their online audiences into live players and live players being converted to online grinders. “Getting online poker up and operating is huge for the growth of poker everywhere,” Savage said. “Online poker allows people to play in fair, regulated environments from the comfort of their home. Due to the availability of microstakes it decreases the barrier of entry and increases the number of people who can rise up through the ranks.” Savage notes that there may be some hangups by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board that is stifling the emergence of Meet Up Games due to fact that they are typically filmed and turned into content for the vloggers that organize them. A call to the PGCB legal department was not returned by the time of this publishing. However, if that hurdle can be overcome, Owen notes that MUGs in the Keystone State could become a reoccurring source of excitement for area players. “Once a property has agreed to host with us, the preparation is pretty easy. We ask that they property make the list available as soon as possible for people to add their names to it so that we’ll know how many people to expect and so that we can prepare accordingly. We mostly need to make sure that there will be enough dealers on hand than that there will be enough chips for everyone.” While not yet scheduled to appear in Pennsylvania, Owen and Neeme will be hosting a number of MUGs throughout the end of the year. 10/26 - Southpoint Casino - Las Vegas, NV 11/08 - Cadillac Jack's - Deadwood, SD 11/15-16 - Gratons Resort & Casino - Rohnert Park, CA (No. Cal) 12/10 - Maryland Live! - Hanover, MD 01/23-26 - Aspers Casino - London, UK
  17. Nominations for the second annual Global Poker Awards were announced on Friday with popular poker personality Joey Ingram leading the way with four nominations. The Global Poker Awards, slated to take place at the PokerGO Studio in Las Vegas on March 6, celebrates the poker industry by recognizing the game of poker's top talent both on the felt and behind the scenes. This year, awards will be handed out in 19 different categories including two that are voted on by the fans. [ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"][ptable zone="GG Poker"][ptable zone="BetMGM NJ"] Multiple Nods Sixteen former award winners are back in contention this year with a number of them recognized in multiple categories. Poker personality and podcast/video producer Joey Ingram picked up nominations in the People’s Choice for Poker Personality of the Year, Podcast of the Year (Poker Life Podcast), Journalist of the Year and Media Content of the Year for his extensive work investigating the Mike Postle cheating allegation story. PocketFives’ own three-time GPI award winner Lance Bradley earned another three nominations for Journalist of the Year, Media Content of the Year, and Podcast of the Year for The FIVES Poker Podcast, alongside PocketFives own Managing Editor Donnie Peters. Daniel Negreanu, Jamie Kerstetter, Lex Veldhuis, Hayley Hochstätter and tournament director Matt Savage each earned two nominations. Alex Foxen, Andrew Neeme, Barny Boatman, Brad Owen, Bryn Kenney, Cary Katz, Joe Giron, Joe Stapleton, Kevin Mathers, Nick Schulman, and Paul Campbell join Bradley, Ingram, Negreanu, Savage, and Veldhuis as previous award winners who find themselves back in the running for even more hardware at the upcoming ceremonies. In addition to the 18 awards that will be voted on and the Global Poker Index Player of the Year awards, the PocketFives Legacy Award will once again be handed out to a PocketFives player who has shown success in both the online and live poker arenas. Previous award winners include Ari Engel, Cliff Josephy and Chris Moorman. 2019 Global Poker Award Nominees GPI BREAKOUT PLAYER OF THE YEAR Robert Campbell (AUS) Ramon Colillas (ESP) Ben Farrell (UK) George Wolff (USA) FINAL TABLE PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR Hossein Ensan (GER), WSOP Main Event William Alex Foxen (USA), WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic Phillip Hui (USA), WSOP Poker Players Championship Bryn Kenney (USA), Triton Poker Super High Roller Series Montenegro TWITTER PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR Barny Boatman (UK) Jamie Kerstetter (USA) Kitty Kuo (TAI) Kevin Mathers (USA) PLAYERS CHOICE FOR TOUGHEST OPPONENT Michael Addamo (AUS) Kahle Burns (AUS) Stephen Chidwick (UK) Ali Imsirovic (BIH) STREAMER OF THE YEAR Hristivoje Pavlovic (AUS) Benjamin Spragg (UK) Matthew Staples (CAN) Lex Veldhuis (NED) VLOGGER OF THE YEAR Jaman Burton (USA) Andrew Neeme (USA) Daniel Negreanu (CAN) Brad Owen (USA) PODCAST OF THE YEAR DAT Poker Podcast: Terrence Chan, Ross Henry, Adam Schwartz, Daniel Negreanu (CAN) Poker Life Podcast: Joey Ingram (USA) The Fives, a PocketFives Podcast: Lance Bradley (CAN), Donnie Peters (USA) The Grid: Jennifer Shahade (USA) INDUSTRY PERSON OF THE YEAR Phil Galfond (USA), Run it Once Poker Cary Katz (USA), Poker Central/PokerGO Paul Phua (MAS), Triton Poker Matt Savage (USA), WPT/TDA TOURNAMENT DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR Tony Burns (USA), Seminole Hard Rock Paul Campbell (USA), Aria Jack Effel (USA), World Series of Poker Matt Savage (USA), WPT/TDA EVENT OF THE YEAR PokerStars Players Championship Bahamas Triton London Million for Charity World Series of Poker Main Event World Series of Poker BIG 50 MID-MAJOR TOUR/CIRCUIT OF THE YEAR Road to PSPC RUNGOOD Poker Series WPTDeepStacks WSOP Circuit JOURNALIST OF THE YEAR Lance Bradley (CAN) Haley Hintze (USA) Joey Ingram (USA) Nick Jones (UK) BROADCASTER OF THE YEAR Jamie Kerstetter (USA) Jeff Platt (USA) Nick Schulman (USA) Joseph Stapleton (USA) MEDIA CONTENT OF THE YEAR: WRITTEN A Fight for Fatherhood: The Biggest Win of Jason Young’s Life, Lance Bradley (CAN) for PoketFives Kevin Roster Spread Sarcoma Awareness at WSOP, Wants to End Life on His Terms, Aleeyah Jadavji (CAN), Hayley Hochstetler (USA) for PokerNews Poker and Pop Culture, Martin Harris (USA) for D+B Publishing The Unabridged Story of The Hendon Mob, Paul Seaton (UK) for PokerNews MEDIA CONTENT OF THE YEAR: PHOTO Antonio Abrego (USA): Ryan Laplante in deep thought at the WSOP (PokerNews) Drew Amato (USA): Dario Sammartino folds at the WSOP (Poker Central) Joe Giron (USA): WPT Champion Frank Stepuchin is lifted in victory (WPT) Hayley Hochstetler (USA): Doyle Brunson and Jack Binion at WSOP celebration (WSOP) MEDIA CONTENT OF THE YEAR: VIDEO Investigating Mike Postle Hand Histories from Stones Live, Joey Ingram (USA) Legends of the Game – Stu Ungar (PokerGO) The Big Blind w/Jeff Platt featuring Mike Matusow, Normand Chad, Sarah Herring (PokerGO) Who Makes Money from Professional Poker, Sam Rega (USA) for CNBC PEOPLE’S CHOICE FOR POKER PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR Joey Ingram (USA) Jonathan Little (USA) Ryan DePaulo (USA) Lex Veldhuis (NED) PEOPLE’S CHOICE FOR HAND OF THE YEAR Bryce Yockey takes a historic hit against Josh Arieh in the WSOP Poker Players Championship Ryan Riess makes 10-high all-in call at EPT Monte Carlo final table Sam Trickett makes Stephen Chidwick fold best hand at Triton London 1M event Thi Xoa Nguyen folds full house to Athanasios Polychronopoulos at PSPC
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