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Last week, the first ever American Poker Conference preceding the American Poker Awards took place in Los Angeles. A four-panel agenda featuring some of the brightest and most visible minds in the industry led to a few takeaways, which I wanted to share. Live Streams Are Mandatory If you're running a live event, a live stream isn't optional. As DeepStacks Poker Tour's Chris Torina put it, "A poker room should never run an event without social media and a live stream." A live stream results in players and viewers marketing the event for you. Free marketing ftw! Similarly, having commentators who can relate to the audience is critical. As Twitch streamer extraordinaire Jason Somerville put it, when "poker coaches" commentate on live streams, what results is complex analysis that's not relatable to the masses. Read more about dumbing down poker television and live streams. Somerville is an absolute master at relating to the general public. Integrate Live and Online If you don't already know, the World Series of Poker is holding an online bracelet event this year. Across the Atlantic, Dusk Till Dawn has partnered with PartyPoker for an 18-starting day tournament taking place both live and online. These two examples illustrate how you can successfully integrate online poker with land-based casinos. As bracelet winner and longtime PocketFiver Jon Friedberg (pictured) put it during one panel, "Ultimate Poker is an example of what happens when you don't utilize your land-based customer base." The site failed in not one, but two states despite being connected to UFC and Station Casinos. Moreover, integrating live and online poker will bring in new blood, similar to the boom of a decade ago. As conference organizer Alex Dreyfus summarized, "The best tool to acquire new players at a live casino is online poker." Be Careful What You Wish For We've all been clamoring for regulated online poker in the US. And while that's already occurred in three states, regulators have slowed the process of development and promotion rather dramatically. As illustrated by Jeffrey Haas of bwin.party, "overly strict" regulations in New Jersey have made the process of rolling out software updates and bug fixes exceedingly difficult. Giving players what they want can take months due to needing regulatory approval. Haas said New Jersey regulators "care about everything," which is "fantastic for consumer protection," but suffocates software development time. Neil Johnson of the European Poker Tour explained that creating a multi-country tour, which would be similar to creating a multi-state tour in the US, was anything but simple: "You have to work with each regulator to explain live and online poker." So, while we're all pulling for regulated online poker, we should be wary of over-regulation. Stop the Rebuys The final panel of the day in LA featured four high-profile players discussing their vision for the future of tournament poker. One of the main topics discussed was the impact of rebuys, with Somerville saying that the more rebuys a player is allowed, the more the event favors pros. The consensus overall was that being able to buy in once per day, as opposed to unlimited times per day, was optimal. At one point, Daniel Negreanu (pictured) reminded the audience that he once bought in 50 times to a $1,000 rebuy at the WSOP, illustrating the advantage he has due to his deep pockets. Multi-entry tournaments, similarly, have become commonplace. Regarding quantum reloads, Mohsin Charania, who was on the same panel, explained that the reaction by players to Quantum Reloads was "mixed." He added, "For an amateur player it's not advantageous." California Could Take a While Finally, I wanted to discuss California, the holy grail of online poker markets in the US. When asked for the year in which we'd see the first hand of regulated online poker dealt in California, the responses by panelists were 2016, 2017, 2020, and 2022. By the time a bill is passed, sites are created, and regulatory hurdles are overcome, it could be many years before we're discussing regulated California online poker. Therefore, don't hold your breath. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
[caption width="640"] Jason Somerville is on his way to Calgary for the Deepstack Poker Championship[/caption] Poker pro Jason Somerville has amassed a huge following on streaming site Twitch, where he regularly broadcasts his poker play to thousands of viewers under his Run It Up brand. With his popularity growing steadily, the poker industry has taken note, and has been eager to work with the indefatigable pro and leverage the audience that he commands. With that in mind the DeepStacks Poker Tour is partnering with the 29-year-old, and will kick off its Poker Tour Championship in Calgary, Canada, with a special Run It Up tournament. The 11-day poker festival begins on November 25 at the Grey Eagle Resort and Casino and culminates in the C$2,500 buy-in, C$500,000 guaranteed Main Event on December 2. Somerville will stream the final table action live on his Twitch channel, while serving as an ambassador for the event. In addition to conducting Q&A’s and fan meet ups, the poker pro will be hosting a mixed game Run It Up tournament on December 1, one day before the Main Event. “I’m incredibly excited to finally bring Run It Up to Canada as part of the DSPT Championship series,” Somerville said. "DeepStacks Poker Tour shares my commitment to hosting modern, fun-oriented, player-friendly tournaments and I'm thrilled to be bringing the final table of the $2,500 Championship event to fans around the world December 5th on Runitup.tv.” Somerville, who boasts more than $6 million in live tournament cashes, made a name for himself on Twitch through marathon broadcasts where he simultaneously plays live tournaments, while reviewing hands sent in by viewers. To date the channel boasts over 183,000 followers and has received over 13 million views. DeepStacks’ interest in Twitch comes as no surprise. The company’s Emmy award-winning production team has embraced new technology to create broadcasts that feature, amongst other things, 360° live streamed tournaments, complete with live chat and event blogging. According to its creators, the DSPT was designed to reach a mainstream demographic and bills itself as the fastest-growing poker tour in the world. The organization holds events all around the globe and has already made stops in Malta, Canada and in several states throughout the US this year. DeepStacks President Chris Torina feels that partnering with Somerville is the perfect complement to the company’s brand. “I’ve been a huge fan of Jason’s for some time and have been actively searching for ways for us to work together,” he said. “Having Jason and Run It Up at the DSPT Championship gives us the chance to add one of poker’s unique voices to our event and allows us to showcase why DSPT has quickly become the premier mid-major poker tour in the world to a massive audience of poker enthusiasts.”