PokerStars Festival Rozvadov: Jaime Staples on living in Europe, Kevin Martin's Big Brother chances and Bill Perkins' StreamBoat
Chances are you've already stumbled across a little viral video which surfaced online two nights ago, featuring PokerStars Team Online's Jaime Staples busting a few moves at a party with two pretty girls alongside him. If you haven't seen it yet, you can check it out here.
The reason we bring that up again (sorry, Jaime) is because it shows - in its carefree, joyous, YOLO swagger - just how much fun this young guy is having right now.
Yep, life seems pretty good for Mr Staples. The Twitch hero is here in Rozvadov for the PokerStars Festival; a short trip before he heads over to Panama for the PokerStars Championship. But if you hadn't heard, the commute to the King's Casino wasn't as long as you might expect. For you see, Staples recently decided to move away from his homeland of Canada for the first time, and headed to Europe, settling in Austria.
"I'm loving it. It's so amazing - very different from Canada, but at the same time that's what I'm looking for when I'm travelling," Staples tells me, just after Day 1C of the Main Event ended (Staples made it through, albeit with a less-than-starting stack, and sadly busted half a level into Day 2). "I'm really falling in love with the lifestyle that people lead there. It's a lot of fun."
Austria is a beautiful country, and Vienna - where Staples chose to live - an incredible city. I wondered how he'd adjusted to life as a temporary European.
"Day to day, everything is just a lot closer, and the city is a lot denser than what I'm used to. You don't have to drive, there's such good public transport. And when you go to the grocery store, things don't come in bulk at all; you can buy just four tomatoes or something," he laughs. "Whereas North America is very different. Things like that don't make too much of a difference, but when you add them all up it's a very different experience."
Moving to a different country can be a scary prospect. Luckily for Staples, he's not alone. It's an experience he's also sharing with not one but two of his brothers.
"Yep, both my brothers are with me. Matt Staples is the streamer, but we have another brother Chris who doesn't stream any poker or anything, but he's along for the ride too."
Wait a minute: there's a Staples brother who doesn't stream? What does he do when the Twitchers are hard at work then?
"He just got [to Austria], so he's kind of figuring out what he wants to do. Maybe he's going to work with us a little bit on production of the stream and things like that, or maybe he's going to get into it himself."
One big difference that Staples didn't mention is the obvious time zone changes. Has that had any impact on his audience?
"There's a slight change," he says. "Viewership numbers differ a little bit - y'know, it's a different audience - but that's one of the reasons we decided to move: to grow our global audience.
"It's different, but at the same time I plan on moving around. There are easily enough ways for my North American audience to find the stream when they want to."
Where is he going to live after Vienna?
"Croatia next!" he replies, excitedly. "What made me choose Croatia? Visa! I can only stay three months in each country, so as Croatia is right beside Austria it makes sense."
He might be here in Rozvadov right now, but Jaime Staples doesn't stay anywhere for too long. And with so many live events coming up, it seems like he'll be living out of his suitcase for a while.
"There's a lot of events, and which ones I'll attend is a bit up in the air. My tentative plan right now is to play quite a few. So Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Sochi, Marbella, and I'm heading to Panama right after this stop in a couple of days. So quite a few PokerStars Festivals and Championships if I can fit it in, they're so much fun. But I miss the Twitch stream, y'know? So it's a balancing act."
Staples doesn't neglect his Twitch audience when he's on the road though. You'll find him carrying around his camera, recording Vlogs and bringing fans a glimpse of his life on the road. Take his recent Vlogs from right here in Rozvadov, which you can see on his YouTube channel.
"This place is amazing. It's crazy!" he says. "You drive in and it's so inconspicuous, it's just a small town, and King's Casino looks like a little small building. Then you walk in and there's this huge poker room, literally built for poker. So if you're a poker player, you're going to love it here!"
When his Twitch audience isn't online watching his streams and Vlogs, they may well find themselves tuning in to Canada's version of Big Brother, on which Staples' fellow Team Online member, good friend and former roommate Kevin Martin will be a contestant for the second time.
"One of Kevin's biggest hobbies when we were living together was that he was really into his reality shows games," Staples remembers. "So we would talk a lot about how his first show went, what he did well, and then also the business end of really taking advantage of the opportunity. I know he's really prepared for it this time around!"
As for Staples, it's not a house he's going to live in with the cameras constantly rolling - it's a boat.
"I can't believe it's happening. It's going to be a lot of fun!" Staples says, referring to the Bill Perkins StreamBoat. Basically, a bunch of the best Twitch streamers will be living on Perkins' amazing boat, and streaming the entire thing while they cruise.
"Two qualifiers are coming down with us too to hang out on the boat," he says. "So it'll be myself, my brother Matt Staples, Jeff Gross, Bill Perkins, and we're just going to be hanging out on his boat and streaming a bit of poker here and there. Bill wants to do some lifestyle stuff, like karaoke and stuff, and I'm like 'Alright! I'm in!'
"I think we're just going to have a great time, have an experience and stream some poker!"
Yep. That sentence right there sums up Staples' life right now.