There are few elements of human history that have changed the world quite as much as the introduction of the internet. Over the last few decades, the world wide web has become an intricate part of our lives, with over 4 billion people, 54% of the world’s total population, using the internet on a regular basis.
How Poker Streaming Started
With every passing year, there is more to discover and more corners of the web to explore, but there are some staples that continue to thrive despite how quickly the internet evolves. One such staple is live streaming, which began all the way back in 2007 with the introduction of a platform aptly titled Livestream. While this specific website may no longer be quite as popular as it used to be, there are more live streaming platforms than ever including DaCast, Upstream, Bambuser and Showcaster. However, the two most popular live streaming websites are without a doubt YouTube Live and Twitch, boasting 315,000 and 800,000 active users on average respectively.
Of course, not everyone in these audiences is interested in the same subjects, which has led to a wonderfully diverse number of topics being livestreamed on a regular basis. On both YouTube and Twitch, PC and video games appear to be the leading genre that most people are interested in. That said, there are also communities centred on music, food, painting, dance, cosplay, knitting, paper craft, makeup, sculpting and almost any other hobby you could possibly imagine.
One genre that has been gaining significant amounts of popularity over the last few years has been poker. Anyone who was around at the turn of the millennium will of course remember televised poker, which began in March 2003 with the inaugural World Poker Tournament that aired on the Travel Channel. This was swiftly followed by the 2003 WSOP Main Event, broadcast on ESPN, and before we knew it poker was being regularly televised for all to enjoy.
Around this same time, online casinos were gaining attention and the iGaming industry was already born. Before long, playing online poker became a pastime that thousands of people around the world would enjoy, which is the situation we find ourselves in today. It made sense then, to introduce poker to the world of livestreaming – especially since platforms like YouTube and Twitch are now receiving as many daily viewers as leading television news channels.
This leads us to the topic of the day: which is better for livestreaming poker, YouTube or Twitch?
Ever since August 2005, YouTube has dominated the world of online video. However, while YouTube may have 30 million daily viewers, not all of these visitors are engaging in livestreams, which has enabled Twitch to become the dominant livestreaming platform. Still, YouTube Live has a lot of potential and with such a large audience to tap into it’s no surprise that poker has entered the fray.
To set up a livestream, all you have to do is set up an account and head to the stream option in settings. That’s all you have to do (assuming you already have the correct equipment and video know-how to set up in a livestream), and you simply wait for viewers to roll in. There’s not really a lot more to say about it. Many of the most popular poker live streams on YouTube are hosted by big companies, so it certainly may be difficult for newbies with no followers to gain any traction.
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With so many different categories already available on Twitch, it can be difficult for any specific genre to break out. Fortunately for poker, it is very much a game and there’s nothing Twitch users love more than watching livestreamed games. This may be one of the reasons why the Twitch Poker hub has grown by leaps and bounds over the last two years, swiftly becoming the go-to place for poker livestreams.
Poker professionals often tend to lean towards creating streams that are very similar to the poker we would recognize on television, especially if there’s a big company involved. They also tend to offer premium subscribers Videos on Demand (VoDs) – after all, they know how this business works. Take Parker “TonkaaaaP” Talbot, for example, one of Twitch’s hottest poker players, who recently partnered to stream with 888poker. As well as streaming poker at least five times a week on regular basis, he also offers numerous clips and VoDs to his dedicated subscribers who tune in to watch him play and explain Texas Hold’em on $20-$50 buy-in tournaments.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the poker chip, Twitch encourages newer potential poker livestreamers to join by offering the Twitch Partner program that helps you set up your account and even gives you access to Scott Ball, Global Head of Poker Partnerships. It appears that Twitch genuinely wants more poker livestreamers to use their platform and give newcomers all the help they could want and need, within reason. This is also great news for viewers as everyone wants to watch a happy individual or group enjoying themselves, who has been offered the best advice when it comes to video quality, direction and how they should go moving forward.
It appears then that both Twitch and YouTube have their own benefits when it comes to livestreaming poker, but we should also make it clear that they share the same downsides. Most importantly, if you’re a streamer there is a lot of competition on both of these sites which will probably make it more difficult for any new poker streamer to gather a loyal audience quickly. You could choose to go to a smaller site but as YouTube and Twitch do have the largest audience and so have the most potential. Viewers will experience a similar problem in that there is so much content to watch on both platforms it can be difficult to find the livestreams you will enjoy most. The simple fix for this is just to google a list of the best poker streamers and take it from there.
So, if you have the choice of just YouTube Live or Twitch, which one do we think is the best? We have to go with Twitch as not only do they support professionals, but they also give a lot of help to newbies looking to start their own channels. YouTube certainly has its positives, but we think the video platform is best suited for pre-recorded poker games that viewers can click and watch whenever they want.
What do you think? Do you agree with our decision, or does YouTube Live offer something that we’ve missed? Do you have a favourite poker livestreamer or a channel you’d like us to check out? Leave a comment below.