Why Twitch, and Jason Somerville, might just revolutionize poker
The signing of Jason Somerville to Team PokerStars is significant in much the same Daniel Negreanu's was when he joined the team back in 2007. Both have been innovative in their approach to the game, providing unique, game changing perspectives.
Negreanu remains the same icon he was when he first slapped a PokerStars patch on his arm, still writing eloquently and enthralling those who read or listen to his views on the game. Now he's joined by a player who is perhaps his biggest fan, and who is part of a vanguard of players set to tear up at least a few chapters of the rule book.
Somerville brings with him a new way to interact and communicate with players around the world. As he explained in an interview with Brad Willis on the PokerStars Blog, he believes it's something he thinks will revolutionise poker over the next ten years.
Behind it all is something known as Twitch. I'll be honest. I had to ask my seven year old what this was when I first heard about it. But if you don't have one of those handy, the detail is fairly simple.
Twitch is a live streaming video platform where e-gamers watch the best players at work, whether that's poker, League of Legends, Counter Strike or a variety of e-sports. They can even make videos themselves.
In poker's case it has changed the game into something barely recognisable a few years ago. Not content to just play, players can now watch people like Somerville on his Run It Up show, or ElkY playing the Sunday Majors.
So while the poker revolution will not be televised, it will at least be broadcast on Twitch, as Somerville explained.
"We're going to see the growth of internet as the platform for poker," he said. "It's such a much clearer route and more correct partnership to have internet streams. If you look at how EPT Live is done, I think that's the closest to the next generation of what poker content is going to look like.
"We're going to see an evolution in poker content... I think we're going to see a shift in the poker industry much more toward focusing on the recreational players and keeping it a fun, friendly environment. I think PokerStars is on the ball for all of those things, and I'm excited to be a part of that history that is being made."
Practically speaking you can check this out for yourself on March 1, 2015. That's when Somerville begins broadcasting every day for 70 straight days, playing on PokerStars for a minimum of four hours per show. Last year he did 50 shows in a row of 30 minutes each, so this will blow those numbers out of the water. As he put it, Run It Up viewers are going to be pretty happy.
It should be a fantastic series and one you can watch every day on the PokerStars Twitch stream, which you can check out here. Frankly, it'll probably take over our lives and the chances of any work getting done will be slim. Regardless, we can't wait for it to get started.
Stephen Bartley is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.