You may have heard of Twitch, but what is it? Twitch.tv started off a Justin.tv – a general-purpose streaming video platform where content was divided into categories. However, the site soon become most popular for watching people play various video games. The video game portion of Justin.tv was split into a separate site named Twitch.tv, and soon became more popular overall than its general-interest father site. As of 2014, it became the fourth-largest source of all internet traffic. This garnered the attention of Amazon.com, who bought the site in September of 2014.
What makes Twitch.tv different from Youtube is that video can be watched as a live broadcast in addition to watching past events in an on-demand way. This gives much of the content an “event” quality – people can look forward to watching an online event happen live. They can also become part of the event via a chat interface. The live event then gets recorded and saved for later, on-demand viewing.
What makes Twitch.tv popular?
Is watching other people play video games fun? It can be. Many of the broadcasters are excellent players in their respective games, and it can always be interesting watching an expert-level person performing at a high level. Many of the broadcasters also give running commentary during their play, allowing you to learn about their thought process and improve your own play in the game. But almost more importantly is that some of the players/streamers are damn entertaining.
What does Twitch have to do with poker?
Online poker is just a special type of video game, right? If we can watch someone play Counter Strike online, we can watch them fire up PokerStars and play a multi-table tournament just as easily. And we might be able to improve our own game along the way. Many online pros have already created twitch.tv channels. Here are some of the most popular.
Account of WSOP bracelet winner Jason Somerville. Somerville is making great use of the twitch.tv platform, with over 51,000 subscribers watching his content! He is also using it to promote his online site which includes a store and training opportunities.
Another online professional, Jaime Staples, with over 11,000 twitch.tv followers. Jamie’s content requires a monthly subscription. He also offers poker coaching.
(A segment from one of StickyRice1’s Twitch sessions)
StickyRice1 plays several other video games besides poker on twitch.tv, but he caused a sensation in early January with his over the top antics while playing a $1-2 cash game online. Seeing his insane, can’t stay in his seat” excitement along with his running commentary caused a “break the internet” moment and made him famous enough to become guests on podcasts and even some cash games.
Can I broadcast on Twitch.tv also?
Twitch.tv is for the masses! If you want to set up a channel and broadcast your sessions, you should be able to get set up with very little problem. You will need a competent PC (most modern PCs should be fine), a webcam, and some broadcast software that sets up the stream. Open Broadcast Software is a popular (and free!) option. Once you have your channel set up, you can also customize your twitch page using their special markdown language, and also make your chat experience easier through the use of a helper bot. (an example: many questions that your viewers have will be asked many times – you can set up the answers to a hotkey via the chat bot).
If your game is good and/or entertaining enough, you may even find you can make some money using the platform.
The future of Twitch & Poker
Twitch TV for watching poker is really just getting started. We expect many great players to find their way to the site, giving you a much more fun and interactive way to watch them play. And make sure to follow Red Chip Poker as well, as we explore this exciting medium and stream a variety of games/formats over the next few months!