Jaime Staples: From Twitch Hype to (PS)TV Star
The advent of poker on Twitch has changed the way that poker content is produced. For the first time you don't have to have an army of cameras, an expensive set and a bunch of fluffy boom mics to produce entertaining and fun poker shows. Now all you need is a laptop, a PokerStars account and a personality to set up your very own Twitch poker channel.
While Jason Somerville is the undisputed poster boy for Twitch poker - with over 10 million total views and 163k followers - there is one other streamer following hot on his heels; Jaime 'PokerStaples' Staples. The 24-year-old Canadian started streaming on Twitch around 18 months ago and, since then, has amassed over 3 million total views, a dedicated fan base of nearly 60,000 followers and has risen from poker obscurity to become a member of the prestigious PokerStars Team Online.
Staples has also just begun an exclusive partnership with PokerStars.tv, which will house weekly video highlights from his Twitch stream. The first three episodes can be found here:
Watching these PokerStars.tv videos will give you a great introduction to Twitch poker and to PokerStaples. Make sure you check back every Wednesday when a new video will be uploaded.
The PokerStars Blog caught up with Jaime Staples to find out a little more about his fascinating poker story - and how you can get in on the Twitch action too!
PokerStars Blog: For those who don't know, can you explain what Twitch is and how poker on Twitch works?
Jaime Staples: Twitch is a live streaming website where streamers can broadcast themselves playing games. Poker made its introduction to Twitch around 19 months ago and the community of poker streamers and viewers has been consistently growing. Anything from poker strategy to just pure entertainment can be found in the poker listing.
PokerStars Blog: Why is it exciting for viewers to watch people playing poker on Twitch?
Jaime Staples: It's poker in a way that hasn't been shown before! When we think about poker shows, we think about TV. We think about EPT events, the World Series of Poker and the World Poker Tour etc. Now, for the first time, online poker has its own shows.
Just like the differences between live and online poker the broadcasts are faster paced and have more action than what you are going to find in a live poker broadcast. You also have a much wider selection of content. You can choose to watch someone playing 25 cent tournaments and get a feel for what their game is like. Or vice-versa, you can watch someone streaming the $1,050 Thursday Thrill (such as myself.) Whether it's cash games, tournaments, Spin & Go's, Sit & Go's, No Limit Hold'em, Omaha, mixed games and more. It's all right there to be watched any time.
PokerStars Blog: Can you talk a bit about your journey from starting out on Twitch to now?
Jaime Staples: It has been a very fast change in my life! I started out when I heard about Twitch on a poker forum and thought it would be interesting. I figured I would play a bit better because I had to explain my thought process, and also it might make the days a bit more social and fun because I would talk with other players. I thought I might make a bit of money on the side which was cool but mainly it was a way to make poker fresh and interesting to me. My channel really took off in the first few months and all of a sudden it was a full scale production. I have had to learn a lot about broadcasting, business, being an employer, the creative space, and more. That is the next step in growing the stream and being better at what I do. It has been a ton of fun.
PokerStars Blog: How did signing with PokerStars come about?
Jaime Staples: PokerStars took notice of my Twitch stream around March 2015 and reached out to me one morning, via a phone call! That was a weird experience.
I signed my original contract in April but started out as a Friend of PokerStars because I did not yet qualify for Team Online. I achieved Supernova status last year and after that PokerStars accepted me to Team Online in December. It has been such a great experience having colleagues that I looked up to for inspiration when I started playing poker. I am about to enter my second year with the company, and hope to do as much as I can to grow the game, and act as an ambassador for players.
PokerStars Blog: What do you specifically try and bring to the table on Twitch that others don't?
Jaime Staples: I think every streamer has bits and pieces of everything. What I try and do is be approachable and available for questioning as much as possible. I do my best to answer as many questions people have in the chat box and add value for people that choose to spend their time with me.
PokerStars Blog: Has Twitch improved you as a poker player?
Jaime Staples: Yes, I think so. Broadcasting has given me motivation that I wouldn't have without people behind me. The pressure to continually put on content is very high, and this forces me to stay focused and work hard on my game.
PokerStars Blog: What is the future like for poker on Twitch?
Jaime Staples: The sky is the limit! I tell my friends all the time, this is the 2003 of Twitch poker! There is so much room for us all to improve our broadcasts and I think we will continue to see that happening. We are seeing a ton of growth in the space with more and more streamers everyday so I'm personally excited to see what the rest of 2016 has in store.
PokerStars Blog: Do you have any tips for PokerStars players who might be interested in streaming their play? How can they be a good streamer and grow a following?
Jaime Staples: I think first you just want to get started. Download Open Broadcaster Software, open up a Twitch account and just try some things out. There are endless tutorials online that can help with the technical parts - I still use them to this day.
In terms of trying to grow a community, it comes down to providing value for the people that spend their time with you. If you are a streamer with ten viewers you have the ability to follow all of your viewers' Twitter accounts, rail their deep runs on PokerStars, check out their streams on Twitch, get into dialogue about poker hands and so on. These are things that big broadcasters can't do for everyone so it's a real opportunity to develop deep relationships. That's how I would recommend getting off the ground.