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Andrew Neeme: “Vlogging Breathed New Life into Poker for Me”
You’ve grinded the poker forums, perused the blogs and even watched hours of Jason Somerville’s Twitch stream.
What about poker vlogs?
Andrew Neeme took the concept of a video blog, which has existed in poker for nearly as long as YouTube, and took it to another level with a high-quality, stylistic and startlingly genuine product.
His videos give viewers an inside look at what it’s like to be a mid-stakes grinder in Las Vegas. Neeme doesn’t pull any punches and posts the good along with the bad.
It’s a format that viewers responded to in a huge way and Neeme now has over 50,000 subscribers on his channel. Even Daniel Negreanu has incorporated some of Neeme’s techniques for vlogging.
PokerListings caught up with Neeme on a break from the 2017 WSOP Colossus, just after the money bubble burst, to learn a little bit more about his story.
PokerListings: How did you get into poker and Vlogging in the first place?
Andrew Neeme: I’m kind of a product of the Moneymaker boom. I was playing online but very recreationally. I was working in Los Angeles. I had a job in the music industry and was just playing poker for fun on the side.
The job slowed down as the economy slowed down so I was studying a little more here and there. One thing kinda led to another and I kind of fell into poker, as people do.
I always liked coming to Vegas when I was living LA. I was excited to make the move and hop into the live games.
PL: You’ve had a big impact on the poker Vlogging scene, what did you do differently?
AN: I think it probably takes me longer than most people to do the editing. I might be a little bit obsessive in how I want the final product to look.
I kinda took a mix of the high-quality Vloggers I was watching on YouTube that weren’t in the poker world and applied that to some of the poker strategy videos.
PL: What inspired you to do that?
AN: I wanted to do something a little more creative aside from just grinding at the poker table. I was maybe getting slightly burnt out. I needed something a little different in my life and some creativity I could share with an audience.
I also thought that the poker-watching audience might be into something on a more day-to-day poker grind basis. More like the $1/$2-$5/$10 games. It felt like most of the media that was covering poker was more into the high-stakes aspect than the every day grinder life.
PL: Did it help make the daily grind more interesting?
AN: Yeah for sure. It’s breathed a lot of new life into playing poker for a living for me. It’s cool to have the audience in mind when I’m walking into the casino and trying to capture different things. Vegas kind of lends itself as a really nice, scenic backdrop to it all.
It’s been a lot better than just showing up to the poker room and having to grind out the hours. The creativity has been a big help.
PL: What’s it like getting recognition from guys like Daniel Negreanu?
AN: Yeah it’s cool that the recognition has been across the board. It kind of speaks to the fact that the poker world could benefit from a high-quality product that kind of shows off the every-day grind.
It’s also cool to hear from the people who have learned from the strategy aspect of the videos. I also hear from people that just kind of watch it as an entertainment product.
And yeah it’s great to get props from a guy like Daniel who’s at the top of the industry.
PL: It seems like a lot of new Vloggers have been popping up that utilize your general format. Is that annoying?
AN: It’s not annoying at all because it’s not like I invented Vlogging. I don’t think it’s “my style." I just took a variety of styles and applied them to the poker world.
I didn’t invent carrying a camera around, capturing Las Vegas and the poker scene. Trooper97 was doing videos before I was. There were also general Vloggers like Casey Neistat.
It’s just natural for people to emulate other videos. Just as long as I’m being myself and its my own story its pretty tough for someone else to copy it.
PL: What’s the most difficult part of being a poker vlogger?
AN: Just all the hours that it takes away from the poker table. My videos average around eight hours as far as editing goes. So that’s a ton of hours that takes away from my income that is derived from grinding.
You have to look at the long-term picture rather than the immediate revenue stream, which is going to be very small.
PL: Is there a decent opportunity for revenue in poker vlogging?
AN: I think there are a lot of options once you experience growth. I think it doesn’t matter what you’re vlogging about or what you’re doing.
If you have an online audience there are going to be a lot of options for you to monetize that and take it in different directions, whether that’s through sponsorships or appearances or whatever.
The most important thing is to present something that’s interesting and build an audience. That will open up a lot of doors I think.
PL: What’s your experience at the WSOP?
AN: This is like my fourth or fifth time entering WSOP events. I’m not much of a tournament player. I’m more of a cash game grinder. My play is probably 96% cash games but once summer time comes around I’ll hop in a few of the tournaments.
They are a little bit like lotteries to me, especially these huge-field tournaments like the Colossus. You’d have to run like god to have a big score but its fun.
The atmosphere in these WSOP tournaments is very light and very fun so that’s always good. It’s always a good experience.
It seems like the WSOP is always making tweaks and they are always for the better.
PL: What’s it like vlogging at the WSOP?
AN: It’s tough to film at the table just because you can’t be on your phone at the table and stuff like that. There’s also the added difficulty of whether they want you filming in the tournament area at all.
There are a couple extra challenges but there are always different ideas and different things you can capture. There will always be hurdles no matter what. I’ll figure it out.
PL: How much do you think you’ll play at the WSOP this year?
AN: I kinda play it by ear. I have a handful of tournaments in mind and depending on how annoyed I get by busting out of the early ones will determine how many more I enter.
This is my first one and I’ve already cashed so I probably won’t get sick of it too quickly.