Seeing poker on television is not a new thing, but TV shows like High Stakes Poker and Poker After Dark are now only fond memories for poker enthusiasts. Televised poker is no longer receiving the investment it once did, except in cases of well-known circuits and big live events. There is, however, a new emerging market that has caught the eye of players and fans alike.
Twitch.tv is a hosting and broadcasting company that allows users to bot upload and stream content in real time. It reportedly has over 100 million users every month and was ranked fourth in peak Internet traffic in the United States early this year.
“Twitch is a social platform for gamers,” Scott Ball, poker partnership manager of Twitch, told CalvinAyre.com. “Basically, people can come in and watch livestreams of people playing different games and now, poker as well. It’s a great place to meet your favorite poker players, really.”
Watching poker on livestreams is nothing new, but Twitch is taking it to another level by allowing players to interact with their fans.
Take Daniel Negreanu for example. Ball said a fan might decide to fly half the world to meet the poker pro, but there’s a chance that he won’t be able to interact with Negreanu who might only have a 20-minute break.
“I think in the past, poker has been a very difficult game to be a fan of… when people have 20 minutes to hurry up and do whatever they have to do before they have to go back and play, [it’s] not really the best, and you can never talk to someone when they’re playing, it’s just rude. So no matter who you want to support, it’s hard to actually get a chance to meet them,” Ball explained.
But with Twitch, players and fans have a chance to discuss not only the game, but life in general.
“At Twitch, you can come in at Daniel’s stream and chat and say, ‘Hey Daniel, I’m a big fan,’ and ask him a question. And there’s a pretty high chance he’ll read your question, actually say hello you, acknowledge you and just answer your question,” Ball said. “I think the social platform of it is what’s making people so excited.”