The power of Twitch
When I started out in poker, I used to be active in an old mIRC chat full of Magic and poker players who mostly knew each other personally. It always felt very productive to talk (or rather chat) poker there, discuss strategies or hear about both the others' success and failure stories. I guess I don't need to mention that most of us also took their turns telling bad beat stories, venting or whining a little - but that was totally fine and everyone understood that once in a while it would help blowing off some mental steam and get one's motivation up again.
In 2008 I joined Intellipoker where I started blogging about my poker life and hosting live training, in 2010 I added PokerSchoolOnline to my "online homezone," and in 2013 I began building an even broader community with my Grinding it UP! YouTube project. The interaction with the community has always been astonishing and inspirational to me. Sharing poker and non-poker stories, successes and discussions has not only helped continually pushing my game but also kept me motivated and somewhat balanced as online poker can be a somewhat lonesome and repetitive sport at times.
After Grinding it UP! had become a bigger success than I would have ever imagined and given it had developed a little bit of a special interactive dynamic with its viewers, I started moving over to Twitch.tv to stream sessions or lessons live on my schedule whenever I was feeling like it. By now, instead of grinding home alone in front of my computer or iPad I will host a fun live stream session showcasing my own game, the game of one of our subscribers, or our homegames while talking or chatting with viewers, adding in some contests, giveaways or free hand analysis for them. This has taken the community part of my "job" to a completely new level that leaves me mind-blown by the support and feedback I have been getting for it - and I would not want to miss it anymore now.
But the highlight of it all is yet to come. Apparently it's not only me who derives motivation and ambition from being socially active in this way. A lot of people who follow me on Twitch do not simply view my stream like a poker show for consumption, but feel motivated to play a lot themselves while watching me play. I can relate to that first-hand as I usually enjoy watching the EPT livestream while grinding on my own as it keeps my poker mind focused and motivated.
During some of my most recent streams we had two major incidents: Two of my loyal viewers - one of which also visited me at my office in Cologne - made it deep into a tournament. The #grindingitup energy both on stream and in the office seemed to have motivated them to bring their A-game while staying calm and focused. When they hit the final table I immediately brought up their tables live on stream and together with all the viewers we cheered them on to take it down. Everybody was rooting for our loyal subscribers 'BRINGTHENUTZ' and 'ZehnNeun' to happen and it was a big thing around our community - it certainly was a huge thing for them as they now were able to share it with so many likeminded people!
'BRINGTHENUTZ' shipped a $55 Knockout week tourney:
Here's the final screenshots:
'ZehnNeun' shipped the Big $16,50 quite recently after tweeting this:
being Chipleader in the Big16,50 22 players left is much fun. whil that watching the stream of @xflixx on twitch— Pascal Muller (@PMuller1985) March 31, 2015
I did a little German review stream together with 'ZehnNeun' a while after his big score on Twitch, but even if you don't understand German you might be able to catch a couple of lines from this one:
I find it truly amazing that it's possible to create and develop something that enables you to reach out to people you don't personally know yet but share such a big interest with. Turns out it has become a big +EV spot for so many of us by boosting our motivation and producing great results!
If you would like to get a better idea of what I am writing about here don't hesitate to join us for one of our free live streams at Twitch or live trainings at IntelliPoker.de & PokerSchoolOnline.com - we will be happy to welcome you over there.