If rumors are to be believed, PokerStars seems intent to start staking Twitch streamers with big following. Since Jaime Staples, one of the best known PokerStars sponsored streamers is the main source for these rumors, the odds are there is at least some truth to them.
Sponsoring Twitch streamers to popularize poker
The guiding idea behind this plan, which was briefly revealed by Staples during this year’s TwitchCon, is to have popular streamers from non-poker related areas start streaming poker on their channels. In exchange for their time and efforts, PokerStars would supply a bankroll for these streamers.
While Staples didn’t go into too much detail, he hinted that the company will probably be looking into established streamers with a following greater than 10,000. That way, their audience would be exposed to poker for an agreed amount of time and, hopefully, some of them would take interest in the game.
More details revailed
A couple of days ago, Staples posted on 2+2 forums, revealing more details about this possibility. Apparently, it is open to anyone with 10,000+ Twitch followers and they are free to apply by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
As for the earning opportunities, these are twofold:
- Monthly bankrolls provided by PokerStars, presumably with streamers getting to keep whatever they win.
- Traditional revenue share model, where they are paid a percentage of the overall rake created by the players who sign up through their links
Staples believe, and I tend to agree, that the first option will be much more popular among the Twitch population, especially among those completely new to poker. These streamers will be given an opportunity to play risk-free, and if they happen to catch a lucky streak, all the better.
Can Twitch streams help poker economy?
This idea was actually met with an overall positive reaction from the poker community. Of all the things that were supposedly done to help improve the state of poker over the last couple of years, this one makes most sense. It would actually showcase the game for to a completely new potential players’ pool.
The question is: could these streamers keep the interest of their audience playing a game they are not so proficient at?
While we will have to wait and see the results to given a definitive answer, someone entertaining and with good charisma could take their audience down the path of learning poker together with him. It is definitely possible.
Fish or sharks?
Another thing to think of when trying to attract new players is: who is this audience the game is being pitched to. Staples shared some analytics, claiming that a majority of people frequenting Twitch streams belong to the 18 – 34 age group, with more than half being between 25 and 31 years.
If this information is true, and it might well be, this is a perfect target audience from the financial standpoint, i.e. they would be able to deposit and start playing if they fell in love with poker. However, as someone pointed out in the 2+2 thread, they might be the same type of players who are currently being pushed out.
I.e., winning players who would take the game seriously.
So, while the idea is fundamentally good, it may turn out that it won’t work in the long run. That said, anything with a decent potential to bring in new players at this stage can only be a good thing and this time PokerStars really seems intent to do something to increase the popularity of poker.
Yes, it will work out for well for them too, but at least existing players should get something out of it as well.