Doug “WGCRider” Polk took down Sunday night´s $750,000 guaranteed “Kilimanjaro” tournament on PokerStars while live streaming his action on Twitch.
By picking up $162,000 for his win in the $700 buy-in tournament, Doug Polk set a new record for the largest win by a player live-streaming the action on the virtual felt – trouncing the previous best of almost $125,000, set when Rupert Elder chopped the Winning Poker Network´s Million Dollar Sunday last September.
Unfortunately, Polk´s victory was witnessed by just a handful of viewers due to his Twitch channel only being available by subscription. Those who did see the win commented that the subscription was worth the money in entertainment value alone – the entertainment mostly coming from the banter after Polk had flopped the best hand eight times in a row.
Twitch Becoming the Go-To Place for Poker Training
Although viewers of Doug Polk´s historic victory will not have learned much about his endgame skills, Twitch is rapidly replacing books and online schools as the go-to place for learning poker strategy. A number of top flight online players are regularly live-streaming their action and, even if players only have the live stream on to break up the grind on an evening´s session, there is still the opportunity to pick up plenty of tips.
The best live streamers are entertaining, educational and interactive – for example Jason “JCarver” Somerville who, at the last count had more than 45,000 subscribers. Somerville (Twitch.tv/jcarverpoker) has been described as the Michael Jordan of live poker streaming for his “Run It Up” series of twitch broadcasts in which he explains the fundamentals of online poker as he goes along.
Other popular streams that enable players to pick up tips from the pros include:
- Jaime Staples Twitch.tv/pokerstaples
- Griffin Benger Twitch.tv/shaGuar_poker
- Liv Boeree Twitch.tv/livboeree/
- Fedor Holz Twitch.tv/crownupguy
- Mario Ho Twitch.tv/mariaho
Sites Also Getting in on the Act
It is not just individual pros that are using Twitch to improve their profiles and attract followers. PokerStars and 888Poker have their own Twitch channels that usually broadcast action from their live poker events, while live venues themselves are introducing their own broadcasts or playing them through the channels provided by Poker Central.
One of the most recent and high profile organizations to use Twitch.tv as a marketing vehicle is the Global Poker League. The league started broadcasting its matches last week and attracted 290,000 viewers on its first day – many more watching the video highlights provided on the channel. Not only was the GPL live stream hugely entertaining and educational, many observers commented that it was the best live poker stream they had ever seen – so, a good place to start it would appear if you are only just starting to watch poker on the Internet.
A New Record – But For How Long?
It may have taken seven months for a new record to be set for the most valuable win live-streamed on Twitch, but that record is likely to come under threat in the next couple of weeks. Next Sunday (April 17) PokerStars is hosting a special fifth anniversary Sunday Storm with a $1 million guaranteed prize pool for a buy-in of just $11.00. With the increased number of players live-streaming their online action, it is almost certain that at least one will reach the final table.
If the record does not get beaten this coming weekend, on April 24 the Winning Poker Network will be hosting its next Million Dollar Sunday event – providing an opportunity for all American online streamers to demonstrate their skills. Although the field is unlikely to be as large as that playing in the Sunday Storm, there is also likely to be one or more players making it to the final table who have their cameras turned on.
Exciting times to be watching online poker on Twitch.tv.