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  1. WSOP bracelet winner Jason JCarverSomerville is on the forefront of poker players using the video streaming site Twitchto broadcast online sessions to fans in near-real-time. The 27-year-old Hold'em specialist believes the site offers an engaging experience that most mainstream poker shows can't match. Check out Somerville's Twitch stream. "It's hard to make poker content fit in hour-long blocks that are meant for an older audience that doesn't quite get it," Somerville told PokerListingsin an interview. "It's not a good fit for television. Twitch and live-streaming on the internet is the platform that poker needs to live." Twitch gives users the ability to create their own channels and stream their game play to a wide audience. During the action, streamers can interact with followers directly through a chat box while viewers talk amongst themselves. According to Somerville, the experience creates a sense of community, while at the same time, users become emotionally invested in the streamer. "You are engaged as a viewer on Twitch," he said. "You're not as engaged as a viewer on ESPN." Recently, while in the Bahamas for the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, Somerville continued to broadcast to his nearly 51,000 followers on the site. "I've been in the Bahamas for, I don't know, six days now, and I've streamed every single day," he continued. "My fans know what I've been up to every single day this trip because they talk to me every single day, you know. So they're invested and asking, 'Are you playing the $25K tomorrow? You doing this? You doing that?'" Twitch users are clearly interested in watching poker. Somerville has only been streaming since October and has racked up over three million views to his channel. Fans can watch for free or subscribe for $4.99 a month for an ad-free experience. The most popular streamers have built up such a large viewer base that they can make millions of dollars per year through such subscriptions. At the moment, Somerville isn't making much from the site and is focused on developing a loyal following. He is well on his way to achieving that goal; his channel receives around 300,000 views per week, with fans watching for an average of 45 minutes. "It's very hard to get someone to watch a video for even four minutes," said Somerville. "But because of the engagement on Twitch, where you can literally type and talk to me and we can engage and chat with you, people get invested." As one of the first online poker streamers, Somerville has had to work out the kinks of broadcasting real money play to an audience. One obvious issue was the fact that his opponents could simply watch his channel during a session and see his hole cards. Initially, he decided to cover his cards and reveal them at the conclusion of the hand. "It creates kind of a fun, I know what I have, the viewers don't know what I have dynamic," he said. "And the players at the table are often watching, so it's almost like I'm playing live poker with my cards face down." Eventually he found that uncovering his cards and running his stream on a four-minute delay was enough to thwart opponents from gaining an unfair advantage. Somerville believes many casual poker players are turned off by the way poker events are covered on television. "I've heard WSOP executives say, 'What's the point of a live stream, it only works for the hardcores; only hardcores care about live-streams.'" In Somerville's opinion, the exact opposite is true: "That's what happens when you run it like a CardRunners video," he said. "You can't put in the ingredients for a recipe and then get mad when you make the recipe." Through streaming, the 27-year-old connects with a market of casual poker players who simply want to "hang out" and have fun. "I wouldn't be surprised to see the majority of poker content be streamed through Twitch or living on Twitch to some degree by the end of the year." Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  2. In the past few years, the video streaming platform Twitchhas exploded in popularity, and while most users broadcast computer games like World of Warcraft and Counter-Strike, others have begun streaming their online poker play. But, as these first adopters have realized, playing poker live for a wide audience comes with its own challenges, one of which is the security risk of showing your computer screen to thousands of viewers. In his very first time streaming, poker pro Charlie "Epiphany77" Carrel found out the hard way how vulnerable streamers can be after a viewer hacked into his PokerStars account and transferred $1,000 to himself while Carrel took a short break. The incident, captured on video, took place on poker coach Evan "Gripsed" Jarvis' Twitch channelwhile Carrel 12-tabled several Sunday majors. When Carrel stepped out of the room during a scheduled pause in the tournaments, someone with the screen name Kiree11logged into the streamer's TeamViewer account, where he pondered transferring $10,000 and then changed his mind for a seemingly less noticeable amount of $1,000. The theft was caught almost immediately by some of Gripsed's 5,100 Twitch followers and Jarvis quickly contacted PokerStars' security department. Staying calm throughout, Carrel continued playing his tournaments while he spent around 30 minutes on the phone with support. In fact, by the end of the session, the younger grinder cashed for around $7,000. Speaking to PocketFives, Jarvis explained how the perpetrator pulled off the hack. The pair had planned to meet the night before the broadcast so that Jarvis could set up Carrel's laptop for optimal streaming, but the two never got the chance to link up. "Early in the Sunday session when he only had seven tables, I got him to open TeamViewer on the break so I could configure xsplit for him," Jarvis said. "It took us about 20 minutes and it was quite funny trying to set it up between tables popping up." Unfortunately, in the confusion, Carrel didn't realize that he had forgotten to close TeamViewer, and since he was on his laptop, he had not partitioned the screen to separate his poker play from his personal information. At one point during the session, Carrel's TeamViewer information popped up on the screen for a split second, which "hacker" Kiree11 promptly wrote down. With Carrel's ID and password at hand, Kiree11 was able to use the remote control feature to take control the poker pro's screen and transfer the money. Carrel's and Kiree11's account have since been frozen by PokerStars security while the incident is being investigated. According to Jarvis, Carrel will have his account reopened on Friday and hopes to find out over the weekend if all of the cash will be returned. Jarvis began streaming on Twitch in 2012, but was kicked off the site several times due to the fact that poker was against the company's terms at the time. When he found out that Twitch would no longer ban the game, he came back to the site last February and has since amassed over 240,000 views to his channel. Jarvis uses the platform to promote his coaching and video training website, Gripsed.com, and has begun to allow his coaches to stream on his channel as well. Initially, the pro only streamed once a week, but added another day in the summer and now has programming scheduled for three days of the week, with guest pros streaming whenever they like. The fact that Jarvis has gained such a large audience while only streaming a few days a week is a testament to the hunger for online poker content on the platform. In just one year, Jarvis has built up the third-largest following of all poker streamers on the site. Check out streaming poker content from PocketFives TV! Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  3. Late last week, professional poker player and insanely popular online streamer Jason JCarverSomerville (pictured) was announced as the newest member of Team PokerStarsPro. It was not the most shocking of news, but it was still a welcome decision, especially after Somerville was unceremoniously dumped by Ultimate Poker. He kept streaming his online poker sessions, though, and this weekend began his first broadcasts on Twitch under the PokerStars banner. View his channel. To a poker outsider, it might not seem like much. After all, Somerville has streamed for quite some time and is just streaming some more. But airing his Run it Up show on the new PokerStars Twitch channel is a leap forward. Somerville will still be viewed by a niche audience, but it has a chance to be a much larger niche audience with the marketing power of the world's largest online poker room. This past Sunday, Somerville began his streaming on the PokerStars Twitch channel, promising 70 straight days of broadcasts. He won't be streaming live 24/7, but has said he will devote at least four hours per day to grinding. The news of both his sponsorship and the new PokerStars Twitch channel have been universally applauded in the poker community. Somerville is as well-respected of a poker player as they come, but what he adds to his streams much more than the vast majority of those who try to do the same thing is entertainment. Many poker streamers gear their broadcasts towards more seasoned players, but Somerville has understood from the get-go that poker is not mainstream. It's not that he does not use poker terms in his streams, but he has been more than happy to try to appeal to a wide audience. In a recent interview with Flushdraw, Somerville explained his success: "It's not about starting with good poker content and then trying to squeak it out to be tolerably watchable… I want to make it mainstream, you know? It's not the majority of my viewership, but there is a section of my audience that didn't know prior to watching me what a button was or what an ante is. To draw those types of people in, you have to be entertaining and have broad content." He added that he still needs to strike a balance, though, as he can't drive away more knowledgeable players by making his shows "too simplified or too silly." Somerville's impact on the poker community has certainly been felt in the past year. He was nominated for a GPI American Poker Award for Poker Media Content of the Year for his Run it Up show and, though he did not win, his contributions were duly noted. He was also a nominee for the Best Ambassador Award, which ultimately went to Daniel Negreanu. During his acceptance speech, Negreanu acknowledged Somerville, saying, "I always thought he had the engaging kind of personality that embodies what a poker ambassador is. What he's done… is taken playing online poker and made it fun and exciting... He's engaged a totally new spectrum of poker players more so than anyone in the world today, as far as I'm concerned. The poker world is in good hands with Jason Somerville." Somerville's streaming platform also got some much deserved credit at the American Poker Awards, as Twitch won Poker Innovation or Initiative of the Year for "opening its doors to live streaming poker." In his acceptance speech, Scott Ball, Twitch's Poker Partnerships Lead, thanked the poker community, saying without it, Twitch Poker "would really be nothing." He also said that it was "humbling" to win the award, as the initiative was only started as recently as this past year. Somerville is off to a great start on the PokerStars' Twitch channel. At 2:00pm ET, there were nearly 5,000 people watching him live; his broadcasts have received 3.3 million total views. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  4. Earlier this year, Jason JCarverSomerville (pictured), now a PokerStarspro, began 70 straight days of live-streaming online poker on Twitch. We caught up with him on Day #60 of his campaign. You can catch him on Twitchseven hours a day live from Canada. However, now that he's just a week away from Day #70, what will happen next? And what does he see as the future of the game on Twitch? Read how Somerville has pioneered poker on Twitch. PocketFives: Thank you for joining us. How have you been enjoying playing poker on Twitch? Jason Somerville: It has been going great. I'm happy with how it has gone. Things have taken a different feel than I thought, but it's my first time doing a dedicated season. I haven't played this much poker against good players in years. I've basically been playing poker in Nevada until now, so this is a whole new world. I'm up $30,000 over the last 60 days. We've had two million unique viewers come through the show in the last 60 days. My goal is to break a quarter of a billion minutes consumed by the end of May. I'm at 160 million right now, so to do that would be insane. PocketFives: You mentioned the show has a different feel than you anticipated. What do you mean by that? Jason Somerville: When I was in Nevada, I was streaming four or five days a week. I was by myself. I was alone streaming on WSOP.com and testing things to see what would work. I didn't have a lot of time to plan or plot before the PokerStars deal came together. There had already been guys like PokerStaples streaming while I was negotiating, so I was eager to jump in. I thought I'd have more time to pivot and see what was going on, but I've had to get used to riding the flow every day and focusing on making each show the best it can be. I didn't think it would be exactly like this, but I'm proud of what I've done. PocketFives: You streaming regularly has seemed to cause other players like Daniel Negreanu(pictured) and Griffin Flush_EntityBenger to do the same. What do you think of those guys starting to stream? Jason Somerville: There are a lot of people who will watch Twitch and I think it's nothing but awesome to see my poker brethren embrace the platform. Twitch is a great base to interact with users. It's amazing for poker as both an entertainment and educational engine. It's awesome to see other people acknowledge that. It can only be good for me to have Daniel Tweet about his Twitch stream 15 times a day. Hopefully some of his fans can find me. PocketFives: What is the future of poker on Twitch? Jason Somerville: Poker is a much better fit for the internet than TV. Poker tournaments breathe in a longer space. It's hard to fit in a tournament into an hour TV broadcast, which is even shorter after commercials. Poker is a lot better fit on the internet. There is a recipe for successful gaming on Twitch and poker resonates well with a big segment of the Twitch audience. If you're a professional gamer, you're playing your heart out, grinding, and improving your skill. You'll maybe get a sponsorship deal. In poker, if you out-think your opponent, you're getting paid cash. Cash is how we keep score in poker and I think that has resonated well with the Twitch crowd. Poker has a vast appeal to people that has almost been forgotten. PocketFives: We have heard you talk several times about eventually ending up in New Jersey. Are you confident that will happen? Jason Somerville: I think I'm intentional and hopeful when I say I want to end up in New Jersey, but I don't know anything more than you guys do. Uncle Baazov doesn't give me the info, but there's no reason Stars can't be deployed in New Jersey. I have a lot of experience working with regulated online poker sites since I was with Ultimate Poker. I know the New Jersey market well too. I lived in New York all my life and New Jersey is one state over. I would love to be deployed to New Jersey. I'm a willing soldier. If Stars has a place there, I can bring the newfound enthusiasm and excitement to New Jersey. I think we'll drive thousands of players on Twitch to PokerStars. However, I still don't know anything more than you about when Stars will enter the state. PocketFives: Do you think you'll lose much momentum moving away from your daily scheduleon Twitch given you're headed to Las Vegas and elsewhere? Jason Somerville: I had to have a conversation with myself where I realize that if I left streaming to go the WSOP, I might lose momentum and let other people with streams close the gap. At heart, I am a poker player who streams, not a streamer who plays poker. I love the WSOP; I love the summer. My results have always come during the summer. There's a chance I might lose some of the momentum I've built, but I'm excited to go to the WSOP, to bring back stories and hand histories and hopefully another bracelet. I'm as interesting as I am because I've been immersed in the poker world for the last 10 years. I don't think I'd be a happy person if I streamed six days a week for the next year. I wanted to do this in seasons so people would know when I'm on and where to find me. I've sold something like 500 Run it Up hoodies. The Run it Up legion lives and I want to fight the battles with them in person. It's more than just an online thing. I want to make sure I'm doing the best I can to keep me happy and passionate and that, to me, is playing in the WSOP this year. Visit Jason Somerville's Twitch channel. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  5. On Tuesday, Daniel Negreanu (pictured) took the world of Twitchby storm. Negreanu, camped out in Toronto, attracted a whopping 150,000 views in his first Twitch session. He Tweeted beforehand, "Thanks again to @jaimestaples for helping me set up @twitch and @JasonSomerville for making this platform cool. That was fun! More to come." Check out Negreanu's Twitch channel. Negreanu, predictably, only streamed his play on PokerStars and said on Twitter that setting up his channel required a little assistance: "This kid @jaimestaples is a freaking genius lol. I have no clue how these kids figure out how to do this tech stuff. Twitching." Staples was announced as a Friend of PokerStars a week ago, while Somerville joined Team PokerStars earlier in the year. Negreanu's Tweet about his play money session, which you can view below, generated a bevy of responses. Christian charder Harder was the first to respond, saying, "Good work, Daniel. I was entertained." Staples added, "It was pretty sick good. 4,400 peeps watching play money." Negreanu saluted Somerville, who like "Kid Poker" is very energetic and seems to resonate well with the masses, by saying, "It was fun and I can see why @JasonSomerville seems to enjoy it so much." Negreanu's dog (pictured) made an appearance at one point in the stream. He's up to almost 5,800 followers on Twitch and could easily get many more, as PokerNews explained, "He confirmed his intention to head back to the site for new streaming sessions in the near future." He told Bluff, "My plan [on Twitch]is to do some high-stakes Eight-Game and possibly the Sunday Million." Somerville helped pioneer poker on Twitch, a live streaming platform traditionally used for video games. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  6. According to his Twitter account, the boisterous ChicagoJoey(pictured) will be live-streaming PLO on Twitch for 750 straight days. Yes, that's more than two years. A week ago, he Tweeted, "Will be streaming some form of PLO on @Twitch for the next 750 days straight (no joke)." No joke indeed. He added that most of what he'd be playing was "as Level 1 as it gets." On March 27, last Friday, ChicagoJoey Tweeted, "Day 4 of 750 straight day challenge is in the books. Thanks to the hardcores for making it fun! Back tomorrow." Monday is Day #7. He did an interview with NutBlocker and said of the current state of PLO streaming, "I do not see many players who play 1/2 and up streaming and giving out high-quality strategy while doing it." He added, "I want to help get the wonderful game of PLO out there to as many people as I can. I think it is such a fun game and many others will feel the same about it." As for why he'd want to tackle 750 straight days of streaming as opposed to a more rational number, ChicagoJoey told NutBlocker, "I was motivated to do it because I saw guys like JCarver and Jamie Staples putting in some really sick work ethic when it came to streaming, and I pride myself on being one of the sickest grinders in poker when it comes to work ethic." JCarver, aka Jason Somerville (pictured), recently signed with PokerStarsand started 70 straight days of streaming poker on Twitchfrom his base in Canada. He helped in part to pioneer poker on Twitch, which had been traditionally used for video games. If you're not familiar with ChicagoJoey, he has released a series of highly entertaining and informative poker-related podcasts with guests like Brian Hastings, Dan Cates, Daniel Negreanu, and Todd Anderson. He often sits, sometimes for hours, and shoots the breeze with his guests in a very relaxed fashion. This author met him at the American Poker Awards in Los Angeles and he was quite a character. Visit Joey's Twitch channel. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  7. According to a post on Twitter, Jason JCarverSomerville (pictured) has signed a new two-year partnership with Twitch. Somerville wrote to his throng of followers, "Very excited to have signed a new 2-year partnership with @Twitch! Daily #runitup streams set to return August 16th!" Now we sit just eight days away from the return of Run it Up. --- Tournament Poker Edgeis the only poker training site dedicated exclusively to MTTs and features over 1,000 training videos, blogs, articles, podcasts and a dedicated strategy forum for members. Check Tournament Poker Edge out on Twitter. --- Somerville's Tweet received 121 re-Tweets and had been Favorited 556 times when we checked it out. He even took time to respond to several comments in the feed, including one asking whether his schedule would be as rigid as it was before. To that, Somerville replied, "I'm still gonna try to be consistent, but maybe with less 'rules.'" Run it Up will take place, as Somerville alluded to, every day. When asked whether he'll be doing it every day for 730 days, or two years straight, however, Somerville responded, "Might be a LITTLE under 730 days. That would be ultra-tenacity tho for sure." Somerville has been largely silent on Twitch in the last couple of months with the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. He plays on his home site, PokerStars, which is not regulated in the US and so is not available to US players. His last Twitch broadcast came on July 1 when he was interviewed in the halls of the Rio in Las Vegas. In March, Somerville began 70 straight days of streaming on Twitch. He has served as a pioneer of poker on the media platform and was nominated for an American Poker Award for Poker Media Content of the Year in February. Somerville's Twitch stream has received an incredible 7.4 million views and has over 105,000 followers. In an interview in May, the PokerStars pro told us, "Twitch is a great base to interact with users. It's amazing for poker as both an entertainment and educational engine." Somerville's presence on Twitch has caused, either directly or indirectly, other staples of poker to stream, including Daniel Negreanuand Phil Hellmuth. Check out Somerville's Twitch stream. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  8. [caption width="640"] Jason Somerville is bringing the Aussie Millions to Twitch[/caption] There's an entire generation that grew up playing or watching Where In The World is Carmen Sandiego? It was a game show and series of video games developed to teach kids geography as they took the clues provided and attempted to capture the criminal mastermind Carmen Sandiego. There's an entire generation of poker players and fans that are learning geography, but it's not a fedora-wearing, redheaded villain, but rather a 28-year-old poker-playing, live-streaming New Yorker who is showing his ever-growing fan base the world, one Twitch broadcast at a time. Just a week after taking his show to the Bahamas for the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, Jason Somerville finds himself Down Under as the sole broadcaster for the 2016 Aussie Millions, one of the premier events on the poker calendar. "I started talking to the Aussie Millions guys at the end of September," said Somerville. "They reached out to me saying they wanted to do something really special this year and that they had tried live streaming, I guess, in the past and it hadn't gone really great and they had seen what I had done on Twitch." While Somerville's existing audience was certainly a big part of the reason Crown contacted him in the first place, the enthusiasm he showed in pitching them his concept was what sold them on him. They knew they had the right medium, and after talking to Somerville they knew they had the right partner. "In 2016, Crown Melbourne made the decision to extend the global reach of the Aussie Millions and make the tournament accessible to poker enthusiasts where they consume poker the most," said Xavier Walsh, Crown's COO. "We are committed to providing the most dynamic, compelling, and relevant coverage possible, and it was crucial to extend the digital footprint to a new phase whilst including new channels in the social media space, namely Twitch.tv, allowing the world to enjoy the action as it happens." What Somerville had "done on Twitch" is now well known in most poker circles. Crown Casino still wasn't sure what Somerville would want to do. "At first, I think they didn't quite know what they wanted and then once I heard they were interested I pitched them on the full thing," said Somerville. "I told them, 'I want to come out there, we'll do the full broadcast, commentary on the $100K, $250K, Main Event, as much coverage as we can get every single day and let's showcase this event.'" Somerville debuted as an official partner on Twitch in October 2014 and quickly became the single most popular poker player on the live streaming service. The success of his Run It Up broadcasts have paved the way and set a template for the likes of Jaime Staples, Randy Lew, and Celina Lin to follow. But Somerville's Twitch broadcasts were originally built around his own play. People were tuning in to watch Somerville live stream his own play in PokerStars tournaments and cash games. While that proved extremely popular, Somerville had his eyes on bigger things, including live streaming from live poker tournaments and events around the world. In December, while Somerville was busy finalizing his plans for the Aussie Millions, the brain trust at PokerStars, where Somerville is a Team Pro, wanted to know what his PCA plans were. Sure, it was relatively short notice, but Somerville jumped at the chance to offer his legions of fans the chance to check out PokerStars' marquee event. Somerville didn't exactly take it easy – he jumped in with both feet. Over the course of the PCA, Somerville was on air for nearly 5,000 minutes – 81 hours. During that time, there was an average of 6,000 concurrent viewers tuned in, peaking at just over 13,500 for the Main Event final table. His efforts set a record for live tournament poker on Twitch. He's hoping to smash that record this week. "The shows are going to be absolutely awesome, with hole cards the entire time. That's one thing we heard consistently (during PCA) was people saying, 'I don't know what they have,'" said Somerville. During the PCA broadcasts, hole cards were kept hidden. "It's going to be the same kind of interactive broadcast as we had (at PCA). I'm going to be talking in the Twitch chat the whole time through and people can ask questions. I think it will be the most high-quality (poker) broadcast ever done." The PCA broke all the records, but it also gave Somerville a lot of notes on how to improve the product heading into the Aussie Millions. Being able to see hole cards is important, but that wasn't the only feedback he's using to take the product to the next level. "We've learned a lot of lessons about trying to minimize recycled break content, trying to always have something fresh and interesting and engaging to keep the viewers all night long, and I think they're going to be really compelling and interesting shows," said Somerville. While many poker fans might think of Twitch as a place to watch poker, the Twitch audience is much larger and consists largely of eSports and video game streams. Finding a way to get that audience is one of the challenges that Somerville most embraces, largely because he feels like he's a part of both worlds. "Twitch is used to a certain level of production quality for the massive eSports events that they have. We see Riot games run their League of Legends finals; they're getting hundreds of thousands of concurrent views watching a pristine, top-of-the-line, beautiful broadcast and many of the top games on Twitch present their games in that way," said Somerville. "Poker really hasn't done that too much yet. The live streams from poker have always been like, 'Oh, and let's live stream on Twitch,' instead of having a guy like me who can bridge the gap between the video game world and the poker world." [caption width="640"] The complete Twitch stream schedule for the 2016 Aussie Millions[/caption] The schedule calls for Somerville to be on air for eight straight days, not only talking poker, but also engaging with the Twitch audience. He'll have plenty of help, though, as some of poker's biggest stars will undoubtedly make their way into the broadcast booth to provide commentary and insight. Still, Somerville is going to find himself talking for over 80 hours. "Honestly, I don't drink coffee. I don't really drink soda or anything, I'm just a very... to me, it comes naturally. I'm just passionate about what I'm doing here and I find that it's easy to be energetic because we truly are showcasing one of the most premiere events in the poker universe and we're bringing it to an audience that has never heard of Aussie Millions before," said Somerville. "I feel like we're going to be delivering a broadcast that caters to Twitch. The production is oriented around what I'm saying and what I want to do." Somerville starts streaming on Sunday, January 24 at 8pm local time (4am US Eastern Time) with the opening day of the $100K Challenge, an event that will draw the biggest names in poker. Phil Ivey, Erik Seidel, Sam Trickett and Antonio Esfandiari are all expected to be in the field.
  9. It would appear that Jason Somerville’s quest for poker world domination is taking him - and his ever popular Twitch stream - Down Under. Somerville, the most popular poker player on Twitch, has partnered with Crown Melbourne to stream the 2016 Aussie Millions Main Event on RunItUp.tv from January 24 – February 1. “‘I’m extremely excited to be teaming up with Crown Melbourne and PokerStars to bring the 2016 Aussie Millions to poker fans around the globe,” said Somerville. “The Aussie Millions is a marquee event on the international poker calendar and this year. I am honored to play a part in showcasing the action as the Aussie Millions transitions exclusively into a live-streamed online broadcast.” The 2016 Aussie Millions schedule has 24 events including the AU$10,600 Main Event. As part of the Asia Pacific Poker Tour, players can qualify for the Main Event on PokerStars.com. In an effort to put the Aussie Millions brand in front of as many poker players as possible, Crown Melbourne sought an established partner for an online broadcast. “We are committed to providing the most dynamic, compelling and relevant coverage possible, and it was crucial to extend the digital footprint to a new phase whilst including new channels in the social media space, namely Twitch.tv, allowing the world to enjoy the action as it happens,” said Xavier Walsh, Crown Melbourne’s Chief Operating Officer. While the Main Event draws one of the biggest $10,000 buy-in fields of the year, the highlight of the schedule each year are the high roller events, the AU$100,000 AU Challenge and the LK Boutique AU$250,000 Challenge. Phil Ivey has won the $250,000 Challenge three of the last four years and he is expected to be in attendance this year along with John Juanda, Sam Trickett and Erik Seidel. Even though big buy-in events are the marquee events, there is still a number of Championship events for players with a smaller-than-Phil-Ivey bankroll. Eleven of the 24 events on the schedule have a buy-in of AU$1,150. Along with a full slate of No Limit Hold’em events, the schedule also includes Pot Limit Omaha, HORSE and 8-Game Mixed events.
  10. It's a hot, humid April Sunday afternoon in Augusta, Georgia. Millions of people from around the world are tuned in to their televisions to watch the final round of the Masters. As the final pairing head to the 18th green, thousands of fans in attendance are in an all-out sprint to get to a spot where they can see the final, championship-winning putt. A three-foot tap-in putt should be the final stroke of the tournament. Up by two strokes, the leader just needs to tap the ball just right to earn the green jacket that comes with one of golf's majors. The ball is struck and rolls gently, eventually dropping out of sight and into the hole. Jim Nantz, the voice of the Masters known for his over-the-top witticisms as the tournament ends and a new champion stands tall, is prepared for the moment. "A New Staple of golf's elite. Jaime Staples, Masters Champion.” That's the world a 14-year-old Jaime Staples imagined for himself growing up in a family that loved the game of golf. * * * It's a rainy Friday night in November in a random major metropolitan city. Thousands of people are sitting in a concert hall waiting for the evening's entertainment to take the stage. As the lights go down and the velvet curtains begin to open they see a Steinway grand piano sitting alone in the center of the stage. The silence is broken as the audience applauds politely as the Canadian pianist they've paid to see walks from stage left toward the piano before a soft-spoken voice over the loudspeaker introduces the man. "Ladies and gentlemen, Jaime Staples”. Staples takes his seat and smiles at the crowd as he begins to play the opening notes to Beethoven's "Für Elise”. The crowd falls silent again. That's the world Susie Staples imagined for her teenage son who was growing up as the offspring of two people who had dedicated their professional lives to teaching music to the world. * * * Today, Jaime Staples is not in contention for the Masters – or any other pro golf event for that matter – and while he can still play a bit of piano, he's not filling concert halls with fans of his ivory tickling. But he's does have fans around the world - tens of thousands of them in fact. The 24-year-old has had what can only be described as a meteoric rise from relative obscurity in the online poker world to one of its most beloved stars. Today, Staples is one of the most popular and successful poker players on Twitch, the live streaming service that puts poker players onto the monitors, tablets and phones of poker enthusiasts around the world as they play. "I think it's just the most connected community I've ever been a part of. It really feels like you all share this common interest, which is poker or gaming or streaming or whatever it is, and you get to hang around and interact with like-minded people,” said Staples. "You get to do that from the comfort of your home. It's a great feeling to have that many people gathered in one place, and with live chat it's like something completely different than we've seen before.” The Twitch community has readily accepted Staples and helped him become a star. He recently crossed the 3 million views milestone. * * * Susie Staples is proud of her son and what he's managed to accomplish so far but when he was a little kid running around the house, he was doing so only after having put in the practice hours on the piano. "He was a really nice pianist. Both his Dad and I are musicians. I teach music at a high school and my husband is a retired university professor that taught music,” said Susie. "So he was certainly raised in a musical environment and he played in the school band and he took piano lessons and he did some writing as well.” While music was important to the Staples family, they also played golf. Not just Jaime and his parents and siblings though. The passion for the links came from the top. Grandma loved the game. Mention that the Staples grew up in a Southern Alberta city and most will picture a snow-covered tundra and not an ideal place to play a game best suited for warmer climates. The truth is though that Lethbridge, Alberta has some of the best golf courses in Western Canada. The entire family played the game, but it was his cousin Mike Mezei who introduced Staples to the game and the possibilities it presented. Staples was young and Mezei was making a real run at becoming a professional golfer. The impressionable Staples was fascinated and after getting out for just a couple of rounds with cousin Mike, Staples decided knew where he wanted his life to go. "My cousin was a professional golfer for around 10 years, with moderate success. He took me out to the course when I was a kid, really loved it, and decided yeah, that's about it,” said Staples. "I'd say maybe nine, ten years old is when I sort of said, ‘Okay, let's do this'." His interest wasn't just some pre-teen phase though; Staples got into golf in a big way. While his parents made sure school was still the priority, he was golfing nearly every day, working with private coaches and doing everything he could to get better at the game. "I think (Mike) was a really large influence on him. Also, most of the people in our family golf, and his grandmother was an avid lover of golf. So he was raised in an atmosphere where that was something we did. He really liked it actually. That was what he did before poker,” said Susie. Even as hard as we was pursuing the pro golf career, there eventually came a time where Staples recognized that it probably wasn't going to be where he ended up. He was working a part-time job and taking some university courses when he found poker and made a life-changing decision to drop golf and turn all of his dedication to poker. "Golf was pretty stagnant, and it was becoming a reality that I wasn't going to make it. I was sort of losing some of that naivety and was like ‘Okay, this isn't going to happen',” said Staples. "I watched some poker TV shows and thought it was really cool. I thought being a poker pro would be amazing. Compete with your mind and live this glamorous lifestyle as a card player.” The highly edited TV poker shows he was watching made the game look easy and flying around the world to play for millions of dollars looked exciting. Like nearly every other player his age, Staples jumped online in search of poker. First he found play money sites and then started entering freerolls and eventually started playing for real money. "Well, when I first saw the game, I was like, ‘Wow, I can do this', just because I was really arrogant,” said Staples. "I guess the first thing that made it a little bit real was I got fifth place in the $3 rebuy on PokerStars.” That finish was worth $2,700 and at the time that was more money that Staples was making in a month at his part-time job. Which, unsurprisingly, was at one of the local golf courses where Staples had made enough connections to get a job. But Staples wasn't fitting guys for new spikes in the pro shop or driving the cart picking up the balls duffers had launched on the driving range. "At the time, I was working as a cart girl at a golf course. Typically a female job, for whatever reason, in the golf industry, and I somehow got the job,” said Staples. "(The golfers) weren't expecting me, but I'd play into it. I'd drop a button (on my shirt) and then play it up and do my best.” Despite his ability to make the duffers laugh, the wages and tips didn't add up to a lot of money and even though he was living at home with his parents and siblings, he still had bills to pay. "I was living paycheck to paycheck. I was in debt a little bit to my brother for golf training that he paid for,” said Staples. "So yeah, I quit my job when I won that $2,700.” The golf cart gig wasn't the only thing Staples stopped doing. Whatever energy he had been directing towards his pursuit of a pro golf career, he turned towards online poker, but it meant he'd have to drop out of school, something not exactly music to his parents' ears. "I remember a few years ago when he said ‘mom, this university thing is not me' and, of course, my reaction is what you'd expect any high school teacher to have,” remembered Susie. "Our whole life has been based on education and setting our kids up for their future, so I said ‘I never want you to come back and tell me that you shouldn't have let me do that or whatever'.” Momma Staples wasn't going to stand in the way of one of her adult kids making a decision to pursue something they were so passionate about. She knew she'd have come across as a bit of a hypocrite had she put up any real resistance. "The thing is we've always told our kids to be passionate, so I have to follow through with what I've said. I say it in my classroom every day ‘you find that thing you love',” said Susie. "I still remember Jaime saying ‘I want to work, I want to do this, mom. School might be there later in my life but right now this is what I want to do'.” Parents have a way of giving approval while also being cautious and concerned as they watch their offspring venture out into the real world and take risks. Staples knew his parents were okay with the transition, but also understood there was still some concern as he ventured off into a world completely foreign to them. "They didn't know anything about poker, so there was no difference between poker and blackjack originally to them. They were quite concerned in the beginning,” said Staples. "I think as I started to not have a job and eventually not need a job, to be able to buy whatever I want and pay whatever measly bills I ended up having, living at home, they were like, ‘Okay, we'll live with this,' and as I continued to make a little bit more every year, they were okay with it.” Staples was resolute in the path he was taking and now had a bankroll big enough to make some things happen. "I knew what I wanted to do, and that I wanted to chase the dream and it didn't really matter if I failed,” said Staples. "I just had to do it, school was just a placeholder, and I finally took the plunge." Around the same time that Staples was "going pro” another newcomer appeared on the poker scene, one that again altered the path that Staples was on. "Twitch just appeared, and it was just like a perfect fit," said Staples. Staples saw Jason Somerville stream a couple of times and read through a few posts on TwoPlusTwo about other players who were streaming on Twitch. "I knew I wanted to participate in the industry around poker and give back to the game if I was going to dedicate my life to it for at least the time being. I was like, ‘all right, I'm going to give this a go',” said Staples. "I didn't really expect anything, maybe I'll make an extra $10,000 a year or something, and it'll be a lot of fun, and I'll play better, and it grew to be a lot more than that.” Even an extra $10,000 a year seems like a lot considering that Staples didn't really have any idea how to make Twitch work. Rather than sit down and plan out how to build a following and ramp up his audience, Staples basically just turned the camera on and went to work playing, while letting the few that tuned in early get a glimpse of his personality. "Going back to the dreamer part of my personality, I had stars in my eyes very quickly, but from day one, day two, day three, I had no plans,” said Staples. "I really didn't think of it as a business or as something that needed to be managed when I got into it. I saw it as just people sitting down and playing their games and talking. I didn't really realize that there was more to it than that as the channel grows.” Staples, really an unknown commodity in the online poker world with limited big scores to his name at this point, started modestly. But things escalated quickly and he broke through the 100-viewer benchmark within the first week. "I sort of realized it was going to extrapolate into something bigger. I was taking it seriously then, but it wasn't the production that we have going now,” said Staples. "It's been a slow progression, but like I said, I like to project those things early and dream about them. This one was, I guess, attainable.” To the outsider, a Twitch stream looks easy enough. Fire up some tables, turn on the webcam and off you go. That's how Staples started, but as his audience and his chances to make money off of it grew, he knew he needed help. Staples now employs a handful of people to manage his stream and all of the ancillary products that go with it. "I have four people working for me full time doing various stuff, and that takes a lot of managing, but they're doing jobs that I, at one point, was doing all myself, and that time I now have back to produce more content,” said Staples. "There's a lot of stuff that goes on behind the scenes to try and grow the stream, to connect with the community and continue to grow the community.” That level of dedication to the product is a big reason why Staples was able to grow his audience so quickly. With so many eyeballs tuning in to watch him play, it was only a matter of time before sponsors came calling. In early 2015 that's exactly what happened – and it wasn't some small time company offering free gear or energy drinks – it was the biggest online poker company in the world. "It was the day after I won the Big $109 in March, which was my biggest score ever for $19,700,” said Staples. "(PokerStars) called me. I was in bed getting ready to stream and actually knew who it was on the phone. It was a guy that goes on the TwoPlusTwo Pokercast a lot, Steve Day.” Day was the manager of Team PokerStars Online at the time and it was part of his responsibility to recruit new members. Staples had a pretty good idea as to why Day was calling. Even though it came quickly, the call was the culmination of a lot of hard work and started the ball rolling on Staples completing what he thought would be a lifelong goal. "At the end of 2014, I was like, ‘Okay. This is going to happen one day. I'm going to be sponsored by PokerStars.' That's the dream. That's what I had wanted forever. That was the end goal for me when I got into poker,” said Staples. "I thought it would be a year later, not three months. I was totally unprepared and nervous. I hadn't really had very much sponsorship opportunity before that. I wasn't ready.” Staples had very little live experience so a spot on Team PokerStars Pro wasn't likely and Day wasn't ready to offer full Team Online status to Staples right away. He was made a ‘Friend of PokerStars' and told that if he could make Supernova Elite status – a requirement for Team Online members - he'd most likely be asked to join Team Online full time. "It was clear they wanted to work with me and they recognized me as a poker professional, but I sort of needed to prove myself to one of those teams to make that happen,” said Staples. "I set out with goal to make supernova status and made it on the last day that I set for myself, and then they accepted me to Team Online.” Even though he didn't have much live experience, his exposure on Twitch and as a member of Team PokerStars Online, opened up some opportunities for him that weren't there before. Last summer, Poker Night in America came calling and invited him to be part of a cast that included some of the biggest names in poker including Daniel Negreanu, Phil Hellmuth and Randy ‘nanonoko' Lew. The opportunity was something he cherished. "I wasn't nervous to play poker at all. I was a little bit nervous to meet some of those guys in that they're the ones, a couple years ago, that I really looked up to,” said Staples. "I remember going to the 2013 World Series of Poker, I believe, and seeing ‘nanonoko' in the halls and being afraid to shake his hand, like being afraid to approach him, and now I was playing in a game with him.” Opportunities to play live are a perk of the job, but Staples understands a bulk of his energy needs to go to his core product, the live stream and the supporting content. While many young players simply bury themselves in poker; playing, hand review, session study and Skype chat, Staples devotes a lot of his free time to making sure he's improving his product. "I only think about poker when I'm actively studying or playing. Other than that, it's 100% the stream, because it's new - it's like 2003 of Twitch poker right now,” said Staples. "It isn't a very efficient game yet, and it's just the Wild West. It's a rush to grow, to be better. So that's where almost all of my thinking goes throughout the day.” Being good at poker, winning tournaments and having deep runs is an integral part of the formula for success, but it's certainly not the most important piece. While Staples' early foray into golf prepared him for the competitive side of poker, his music lessons and performances taught him about the value of connecting with his audience, something Staples knows will be the foundation his career is built on. "It has to come down to caring about the people that are investing their time in you. Interacting with them on a real basis, trying to connect with them on social media and keep up with what's going on in their lives and answering their questions in chat and answering their emails and doing everything you can to be a good person, be a valuable person to them,” said Staples. Growing as a poker player and as a streamer are the two focuses of Staples' life right now, but he knows that if he continues to have success in those two areas, other doors will open for him. He's just not sure what those opportunities might be. "Streamer does not define it anymore. I would like to do a lot. I'd like to keep climbing the mountain, basically, keep improving in my life, and that's really sort of all I know right now,” said Staples. "Right now I'm focused on poker, hardcore streaming, YouTube, community. Where will that be in three years? I don't know, but somewhere where hopefully I'm continuing to improve and work towards my goals.” While his audience continues to grow by leaps and bounds as more and more poker players discover Twitch and more of the core Twitch audience finds poker, Staples has one viewer who's always going to be tuning in, no matter what. "I probably go in every day and listen to him talk just a little bit because he's in Calgary and we're (in Lethbridge) so we don't see Jaime that often,” said Susie. "So I have watched him, but I have to be truthful - I don't know how to play poker.” She doesn't play the game, but checks out the stream as a show of support and to watch her son put his passion for the game for the world to see. When something happens on the stream that she doesn't quite understand she relies on friends and colleagues to explain it to her. "Somebody who understands poker will tell me, ‘no, he didn't have a choice there, that wasn't bad play, those are the cards, he didn't do anything wrong',” said Susie. "Oh okay. As long as he didn't do anything stupid, that's all I want to know.” Even if he had made a bad play, she knows that Staples is making his own decisions now. The golf thing turned out to be a bit of a phase and the musician's life just wasn't meant to be for Staples, but Susie has known since her son was born that his destiny was really up to him. "The day he was born I remember his dad saying, he owns himself we just get to raise him,” said Susie. "And I still remember that day, the day he was born, and it really is true.”
  11. [caption width="640"] Bryan 'bparis' Paris won a PocketFives Triple Crown while live-streaming on Twitch[/caption] Winning a PocketFives Triple Crown is hard enough. If you want one, you need to take down three $10,000 prize pool tournaments across three sites tracked by PocketFives within a week. Each tournament has to have at least 100 players and a real money buy-in. Satellites and qualifiers do not count. For Bryan 'bparis' Paris, winning his fifth Triple Crown was special enough. Only a handful of players have ever booked five of them, and for Paris, his fifth was also his second of the month. And as if all of that weren't impressive enough, Paris won each of his Triple Crown tournaments while live-streaming on Twitch. All of them. He wrapped up his fifth Triple Crown on Tuesday night with a win in the partypoker Heavyweight Weigh-In for $4,300. That victory came shortly after wins in the PokerStars.fr Night on Stars on June 25 and the Winamax XTASE one day after that. The latest Triple Crown bumped his career win total to 211. "It feels amazing," Paris said. "I've been aiming very high this month and I think setting goals has helped me achieve them. It was awesome getting to share it live with people too. After 10 years of doing this, I want to give back to the community. I'm in a somewhat unique position as an American player who can access all of the European sites and it seems like there is a gap for high-stakes action on Twitch. I plan on filling that gap and making America want to play poker again. Perhaps if we get popular enough, we can get some movement on the political front and get online poker legalized." Having an audience watch him roll through three Triple Crown qualifying wins helped push him along. And every cash is meaningful, as Paris is less than $50,000 away from overtaking Sebastian 'p0cket00' Sikorski for the second highest earnings total in online tournament history. Right now, Paris is at $9.41 million, while Sikorski is at $9.46 million. Whoever hits $10 million first will become just the second player ever to do so, joining Chris 'moorman1' Moorman. Also growing is his Twitch following, which stands at 748 followers and almost 5,000 total views. "To have this milestone already under my belt is great, mostly for driving interest and growing the stream as fast as I can," Paris said. "I wasn't intending to Triple Crown-chase on stream. I've actually cut volume quite a bit, but I'm happy everyone got to see it go down live. It gives me hope for more milestones and storylines to come." Grinding while streaming means a ton of positive feedback from viewers. Who doesn't want to watch the first Triple Crown ever unfold on a live stream, especially from a guy like Paris, who has been around the online poker community for a decade? "We have a lot of positive vibes in the stream chat," the five-time Triple Crown winner said. "Everyone is incredibly supportive and there are not a lot of trolls. It's a great atmosphere that seems to be conducive to success. I plan on doing it three to five days a week going forward, hopefully for a long time." Paris' stream also allows him to act as an ambassador for the game and, interestingly, throngs of Dutch poker fans have tuned in to watch him play. "There's a gap on Twitch for regular high-stakes action, and getting online poker entwined with the current boom in e-sports seems like a great way to build the game again," he said. "I'm passionate about poker and spreading it to as wide of an audience as possible. I think it's a fantastic game that deserves better than what it has gotten in America so far." With cashes on PokerStars.fr, Winamax, and partypoker in recent days, it's obvious that Paris isn't in Las Vegas chasing a dream of a World Series of Poker bracelet. In fact, he's an ocean away in the historic city of Amsterdam, where he's had his home base for the last three years. "I moved here for a combination of lifestyle, access to online poker, and a desire to travel the EPT grind," Paris said. "I've cut back on live travel since my wife's pregnancy began, but we still love living here. It's a fantastic place." His wife is due on July 14, which falls in the middle of the Main Event, and missing his son's birth probably wouldn't go over too well with the rest of the family. "I also didn't go to Las Vegas because of taxes and field strength," Paris explained. "I can only be in the USA 30 days out of the year to get a big tax write-off, and June is always my strongest month online because so many good regs are gone." And while he's busy playing tournament after tournament and hosting stream after stream, his sixth Triple Crown could be on the way in short order. In fact, he almost had a third Triple Crown in June, but ended up with two runner-up finishes and a win instead of three wins. "I'm hoping to get my sixth Triple Crown within the next month before all the regs come back," he said. "However, I know they don't come along super often, so I'm not going to call my shot or anything. I'm just going to keep playing my best and keep streaming. If I get there again, that would be tremendous."
  12. [caption width="640"] Randy 'Nanonoko' Lew's Twitch stream is quickly approaching a million views.[/caption] Some Twitch streams are drier than the Mojave Desert. Some are full of high-level cash game content. Some are full of high-level tournament content. Some are merely gibberish. Twitch is like a box of chocolates: you never know what you're gonna get. Enter Team PokerStars Pro Randy 'Nanonoko' Lew, whose Twitch stream is quickly approaching a million views. He's also at over 31,000 followers. And he's not stopping there. "I always thought the fans were what made me someone in the poker community," Lew said. "We don't really ever get to be able to speak to our favorite players. When Twitch came about, I didn't jump on the platform for at least a year, but I knew it was something I was interested in doing. It's just that getting high volume in as well means you can't say, 'Oh, I'm going to start tomorrow.'" This is the same 'Nanonoko' who made Guinness World Record history in 2012 by playing 23,493 hands in eight hours while turning a profit. The same 'Nanonoko' who once multi-tabled live in the Bahamas during the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. He's an action junkie. However, he can't mass-multi-table and manage a stream that's also informative and engaging. It's simply not possible. "Generally when I play online, I like to play 20 games at once, but I can't do that while I'm streaming," Lew said. "It's either that the stream gets worse quality because I can't answer people or my play gets really bad." "I saw the success that Jason Somerville had, andJaime Staples, and thought the platform looked pretty cool and could work," said Lew. "After trying it the first time, I realized that not only was it fun to interact with fans, but it was also a little surprising at times. You might stream five hours and think it's a long time to play a few tables at a time answering questions. But, it's surprisingly fun when the community actually gets built and I actually know people's user names." Lew travels to live poker events around the world in places like Las Vegas, Monaco, and the UK. After all, he's a PokerStars pro and needs to give the brand as much face time as possible. As such, developing a recurring stream has been a difficult task. "I know a schedule is important for streaming and I've been traveling a decent amount," Lew said. "I'm trying to get a good base to do it, and I want to stream five times a week. Traveling can be a little tough. I'm hoping I can stream more than poker. Sometimes you stream, then you go away for a month and people forget you exist and you have to start over. That's why I want to have other sources to keep myself present. Maybe I'll find another game that's fun to stream while I'm in the United States like Hearthstone." [caption width="640"] Lew has branched into streaming games like Hearthstone in addition to poker.[/caption] Somerville pioneered poker on Twitch and worked closely with the team at the streaming service to ensure any kinks related to playing poker on Twitch could be ironed out. Players like Staples, Daniel Negreanu, and even Phil Hellmuth followed suit, each putting a different spin. Poker tournaments, awards shows, and conferences have all made their way to Twitch as a result. "Everyone's stream is a bit different," Lew said. "I think Jason Somerville is one of the most entertaining guys out there for sure. I find that my stream is pretty good in that I educate pretty well strategy-wise. My stream is always the most relaxed and troll-y. People always like to make fun of me and I make fun of them. It's one of the most relaxed streams to be in because of all of the high-level content. I am not hiding behind a camera pretending to be someone. I just do what I do, try to make some money, and talk to fans." Anyone with an internet connect can tune into Lew and company on Twitch. You could be in the middle of the desert, miles from the nearest breath of civilization, with a satellite connection and watch him out-muscle the competition. "A lot of Europeans watch my stream," he said. "My audience is really all over the world. I always say, 'Hey, tell me where you're from' and I get all these fake answers like 'Antarctica.' I'll shout out every city or country that comes up, and there's a lot of them. UK comes up a lot." In March, Somerville became the first poker streamer to hit 10 million views, and he has since passed 11 million. Can Lew, Somerville, Staples, and the rest of the Twitch crew expect the platform to be around in five years? Ten years? Twenty years? Will it go the way of MySpace and AOL? Or will it weather the ever-turbulent technology storm? "Twitch does really well for all of the other games out there like Hearthstone and League of Legends," he said. "I think poker is here to stay on Twitch. It's going to make the YouTube videos and training websites obsolete. It's free content. More and more streamers are coming in. When poker first started on there, it was Jason Somerville by himself. Now, there are a lot of different choices. Streams cater to MTT players and cash game players. Personally, I prefer not putting my credit card on a training site and forget to use it or forget I did it. Twitch is free. Who beats free content that's actually good?" You can check out Lew's stream at twitch.tv/nanonoko.
  13. Later this week, the 2018 World Series of Poker will reach the halfway point on the schedule. While a lot of the schedule each year is focused on No Limit Hold'em, the fans of four-card poker will rejoice this week as Pot Limit Omaha events highlight the 17 events on the schedule. Big Buy-in Pot Limit Omaha The two biggest buy-in PLO events on the WSOP schedule both take place this week, but not in their normal order. Traditionally, the $10,000 PLO Championship has always preceded the $25,000 PLO High Roller. This year, thanks to ESPN needing to set up the main stage for the Main Event broadcasts, the $25,000 buy-in event comes first. Running June 20-23, that event brings out the best PLO players in the world plus a mix of a few businessmen who love the four-card game. James Calderaro beat out 204 other players last year to win his first WSOP bracelet and $1,289,074. On the same day that final table begins, the $10,000 PLO Championship event kicks off. Attendance in this event has been on the rise each of the last two years, going from 387 in 2015 to 428 in 2017. The three-day event runs June 23-25. Don't Forget the Button Clickers The live felt isn't the only place where PLO bracelets will be up for grabs this week. For the first time in WSOP history, players will be able to play PLO on WSOP.com with a bracelet on the line. The $565 buy-in event is a one-day event on Friday, June 22. 2018 WSOP Week 3 Schedule Day Event # Event Name Defending Champion Monday 37 $1,500 NL Hold'em Christopher Frank Monday 38 $10,000 Seven Card Stud Championship Mike Wattel Tuesday 39 $1,500 NL Shootout Ben Maya Tuesday 40 $2,500 Mixed Big Bet Jens Lakemeier Wednesday 41 $1,500 Limit Hold'em Shane Buchwald Wednesday 42 $25,000 PLO 8-Handed High Roller James Calderaro Thursday 43 $2,500 NL Hold'em Gaurav Raina Thursday 44 $10,000 Limit Triple Draw Lowball Championship Ben Yu Friday 45 $1,000 Big Blind Antes NONE Friday 46 $2,500 Omaha Hi-Lo/Stud Hi-Lo Smith Sirisakorn Friday 47 $565 WSOP.com Online PLO None Friday 6D $365 Giant Saturday 48A $1,500 Monster Stack Brian Yoon Saturday 49 $10,000 PLO Championship Tommy Le Sunday 48B $1,500 Monster Stack Sunday 50 $1,500 Razz Jason Gola Sunday 11D $365 PLO Giant Get Your Popcorn Ready for Streaming Madness The $50,000 Poker Players Championship event always attracts an amazing field and this year is no different. The final 12 players will be battling on Twitch with Phil Ivey, Michael Mizrachi and Brian Rast highlighting a storyline-filled penultimate day of action. Tuesday's final table moves to PokerGO in what promises to be an amazing showcase of some of poker's best playing a tough rotation of eight games. There are two other $10,000 Championship events (Seven Card Stud & Triple Draw) and the $25,000 PLO High Roller set for live streaming action this week. Date Time (ET) Event Outlet June 18 6:00 PM $50,000 Player Championship Day 4 Twitch June 19 6:00 PM $50,000 Players Championship FT PokerGO June 19 6:00 PM $10,000 Stud Day 2 Twitch June 20 4:00 PM $1,500 NL FT Twitch June 20 6:00 PM $10,000 Stud FT PokerGO June 21 4:00 PM $1,500 NL Shootout FT Twitch June 22 6:00 PM $25,000 PLO 8-Max FT PokerGO June 23 4:00 PM $2,500 NL FT Twitch June 23 6:00 PM $10,000 NL 2-7 FT PokerGO June 24 6:00 PM $2,500 Omaha Hi-Lo/Stud Hi-Lo FT Twitch  
  14. Ricky 'ratedGTO' Guan was recently announced as a new member to Team RIU, the group of streamers hand-picked by Run It Up Studios founder Jason Somerville. If you’ve played on a regulated poker site within the US, especially in New Jersey, you’ve likely tangled with Guan, or at least you know of him. "I've been a fan of Jason Somerville and Twitch Poker ever since the beginning of my poker career," Guan said when asked about how the opportunity came about. "Along my journey, I got to meet him a couple of times at different events and it was only until right before WSOP this year that I started streaming on Twitch myself. Then the opportunity arose over the summer where I got to meet up with Jason and talk a little bit about my potential career in creating content. That’s kind of how the whole conversation started." For many poker players within the US, the chance to stream online poker isn’t viewed as a great one, simply because online poker not as widely available in the US as it once was. For Guan, he chooses to see opportunity where others might not. "For me, I have a little bit of a competitive advantage, just because there are not too many streamers from the US that are streaming MTTs online, and especially the high stakes that I’m also playing," Guan said. Joining Team RIU is the next step in Guan's young career, but it’s a career that has already welcomed a fair bit of success. A native of Brooklyn, New York, Guan recently made the relocation jump to New Jersey to continue playing online poker. As of late October 2018, he’s won nearly $520,000 from online tournaments, plus he’s won nearly $300,000 in live tournaments. "I'm originally from Brooklyn, New York, and it was only earlier this year where my little poker group called 'the Young Wizards' decided to move to New Jersey where there is regulated online poker and I get to play on sites such as PokerStars," Guan said. "I thought it was very important for me to be able to do that, both in terms of being able to play different buy-ins across multiple sites and also for me to create content, because a lot of the big viewerships on Twitch are through platforms like PokerStars. For myself, I wanted to be able to continue to create content in New Jersey and also kind of be at the forefront a little bit of helping poker come back to America. I know Jason has very big plans for that in the near future and he’s been doing a lot of things to make that happen. With my partnership with him and Run It Up, hopefully, we can work together to make that kind of dream come true for everyone back in America again." Oftentimes in sports, you see a player play out of his mind before landing a big contract and becoming complacent. They fall off after they sign a new deal. Guan’s new deal will have him working closely with Somerville and Team RIU in hopes of producing high-quality poker content, but Guan wants a bit more from himself. He wants to challenge himself to be the best. "I've always been very competitive growing up — any sports I played or any games I participated in — and that's something that I saw in poker," Guan said. "That it was a game where it could potentially be solved and it was a challenge to become one of the very best in it. That's always been the goal for me ever since I began my poker journey — to study, work hard, and become one of the best players in the game. Through the hard work over the last couple of years, we’ve been able to progress really nicely and I'm very happy with where I am in my poker career as of right now." With a solid support system from his poker circle, a hard work ethic, and the guidance of Somerville, Guan’s poker career is set up for a lot of advancement, especially if regulated online poker continues to grow within the US. From speaking with him, Guan appears to be equal parts grounded, eager, and enthusiastic about his future. "There are always chances to improve in poker," Guan said when asked what's next for him in his poker career. "No one is playing perfectly or anything like that. For myself, I'm already playing some of the highest stakes that are available to me in the US, so it's just to continue to study and get better. Now, in this new chapter in my poker journey, it's to create content and give back to the community a little bit. I'm very comfortable with my abilities in poker and I want to be able to share that and help other people learn as well. I've also gotten into coaching and helping other students kind of live their poker dreams. That's something that I’ve done over the last couple of years, where I've helped some of the best young American players to rise to the top. That’s something that I look to continue to do in the near future."
  15. Amid a flurry of recent news in the world of online poker ambassadorship, partypoker has announced the creation of their own “Team Online” and have revealed the first two players to be named to it. Online Twitch streamers Matt Staples and Hristivoje ‘AllinPav’ Pavolic are the first poker pros named in what is expected to be a series of announcements of new members to the expanding team. Matt Staples Matt Staples, younger brother of former PokerStars ambassador Jaime Staples, followed in brother's footsteps in becoming a full-time Twitch Poker streamers. From starting at the micros at age 18, Matt Staples, now 22, has come into his own as a full-time mid-high stakes regular tournament grinder. “Becoming a sponsored pro is something I’ve aspired to for a while now and I couldn’t be happier about the partnership,” Staples said. “There’s nothing I like more than streaming tournaments on Twitch and I’m pumped to have the opportunity to showcase and help grow partypoker and their Twitch community.” “Signing with partypoker ranks as one of my proudest achievements,” said Pavlovic. “I’m stoked to represent a company that has strong ethics at its heart, and I can’t wait to help build the great game of poker.” Pavlovic, also a regular MTT grinder, is known for marathon Twitch sessions and consistently posting his wins and losses on his Twitter feed. partypoker Tunes In It's clear that partypoker has decided to dive into the deep end when it comes to increasing their marketing efforts with regards to online streaming. Not only is it expected that their own Team Online will be growing throughout the next week, but they have also agreed to a sponsorship/partnership deal with Bill Perkins’ “The Thirst Lounge.” They also have plans to live stream a new online high stakes cash game. “We have been a bit behind the curve when it comes to streaming,” said partypoker Managing Director Tom Waters. ”We are hoping to make up for lost time by compiling an elite team that will be able to stream entertaining and engaging content 24/7.” In addition to their newly created Team Online, partypoker promises streaming sessions from some of their already established Team partypoker Pros including Ludovic Geilich, Patrick ‘pleno1’ Leonard and Fedor Holz.
  16. Hosted by Lance Bradley and Donnie Peters, The Fives Poker Podcast runs each week and covers the latest poker news, preview upcoming events, and debate the hottest topics in poker. This week on The Fives Poker Podcast, Lance and Donnie discuss whether or not the PokerStars "boycott" was a success or failure and what steps the players should take next if they really want to get the attention of PokerStars management. They also look again at the shrinking Sunday Million field and whether or not the buy-in should be moved back to $215. Other topics include the busy week that was on Twitch Poker with Kevin Martin, Matthew Staples, and Bill Perkins all finding themselves in the news. Lastly, the pair discuss the 2019 WSOP structures and how there actually is far more play this year than in years past. Subscribe: Apple Podcasts * Google Podcasts * Stitcher
  17. You’ve seen it in the movies: a group of soldiers sitting around dealing out a deck of cards, tossing some money in the middle and playing a little poker just to pass the time. It may be cliche, but for Germany’s Torsten 'Jektiss' Brinkmann that is a scene from his life. Torsten, then just 21 years old, was serving in the army when half-a-world away Chris Moneymaker was taking down the World Series of Poker Main Event. The poker boom that turned the game of poker into a global phenomenon reached as far as Torsten and his friends. The next thing he knew he and his crew started playing poker. “We were just playing for fun and nobody really had a clue what to do,” Brinkmann said. [ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"] But soon after his time in the army, as Brinkmann began studying economics at school he happened upon PokerStrategy, one of Europe’s largest online poker communities and strategy forums. It was then that he really started diving deep into the game and taking it seriously. “I got some free money to play with and ever since then I’ve been into poker.” That was nearly 15 years ago and a lot has happened to Brinkmann on his poker journey since. He’s been an online grinder and spent some time taking shots playing live. In 2011 he was featured as the runner-up in the European Poker Tour’s Grand Final in Madrid, where he earned a career-high cash of over $1.33 million. Since 2014 though, Brinkmann has turned his attention to grinding online. “I’ve played a lot of live poker and always tried to find a good balance between live and online. I liked playing live a lot but the biggest downside of playing live poker, except tournaments, is that the game starts very late and you have to spend long nights grinding," Brinkmann said. "When you play online you can make your own schedules and jump into the games whenever you have the time and you can do that from anywhere you want. The independence of online poker I like the most.” His love of playing online has recently led him to new opportunities as well. Brinkmann has found a love of streaming his online cash game sessions on Twitch, sharing his ups and downs with an audience. His dedication to streaming has led to him being named as one of GGPoker’s core members of their GG StreamTeam, helping to represent the online poker site. “What I enjoy the most about streaming is the community with other poker players. I love to share what I am doing and I also love to be part of that community from other streamers when I do not stream myself,” he said. Brinkmann's popularity has been building. He now has over 4,200 Twitch followers and his new ambassadorship with GGPoker is helping him expand his audience and share his enthusiasm for online poker while exposing players to the up-and-coming online poker site. “I was playing on GGPoker for a while before I joined the StreamTeam. Especially as a cash gamer you are always looking around for places with a variety of games running, consistent player pools, simple and stable software, and some rakeback. GG is doing a really good job on all these criteria and this is what the viewers are noticing too. People are showing more and more interest for the site which is great feedback and makes it even more fun streaming.” For Brinkmann, even after all this time, he's still finding ways to have fun playing poker. He's grinding online, interacting with fans and being sponsored by a site he respects - what could go wrong? “I think the biggest challenge when you stream poker is to keep spreading positivity when you run bad,” Brinkmann said. “I am really bad at this and maybe I need coaching for this, but most of my viewers know that and don’t take it too seriously if I keep crying and complaining. I try to be a little bit more sarcastic if I am running back to keep it at least a bit enjoyable.” Brinkmann’s stream continues to grow but he’s not overly concerned with what’s down the line. “I do not have any future plans in mind really. I am happy for any day that I can keep doing what I’m doing at the moment.” Catch Brinkmann streaming online on his Twitch channel.

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