Jaime “PokerStaples” Staples is the future of poker.
That’s what it feels like anyways as Staples and fellow Twitch.tv streamers like Jason “Jcarver” Somerville have given the poker industry a giant adrenaline shot in the arm with their insightful and entertaining live broadcasts of online poker.
It’s a form of content that didn’t exist five years ago but these days millions of viewers are logging in, some of them to watch online poker for the very first time.
“I was surprised at the beginning but now I think it’s going to continue to grow,” said Staples while on break from the 2015 WSOP Main Event.
“It just works really well for the format. It shines a human face on online poker, which is something that was needed.”
The everyman quality of Staples feels eerily similar to Chris Moneymaker who kick-started the poker boom in 2003 by winning the WSOP Main Event for $2.5m after qualifying via a $39 online satellite.
Staples: Online Poker Needs Fans
Jaime "PokerStaples" Staples
Staples believes that online poker needs fans and Twitch.tv is able to bring them in a more dynamic way than was ever possible before.
“It’s a very positive community,” he said.
Prior to Staples and Somerville’s streams Twitch.tv was known more for video games than online poker.
The lines between video games and online poker has gotten very blurred, however, as numerous video game players have been crossing over into poker via Twitch.tv.
Twitch.tv has also allowed relatively low-stakes players like Staples to gain notoriety in the poker world despite the fact he hails from the far north in Lethbridge, Alberta.
While living in a city with a population of just 83,000, Staples has single-handedly beamed his stream to into the homes of poker players around the world.
From Lethbridge, Alberta to Las Vegas
The Godfather of Twitch.tv poker Jason Somerville
Amazingly Staples has been streaming little more than a year.
“I saw Jason Somerville’s stream and then I saw a post on a forum by Scott Ball, who runs the poker community on Twitch.tv, and I was like, ‘I kind of want to do this,’” he said.
“It synched up with me going full-time poker pro so I gave it a go and people seemed to like it so I kept doing it.”
At first it was a challenge for Staples acts somewhat like a radio personality while actually playing real-money online poker.
“I was super self conscious about speaking and my game,” he said. “I took a leap of faith and got over the scariness in the beginning.”
Fortunately Staples got some positive feedback, which isn’t a given on Twitch.tv, and started to improve.
“My poker game has gotten better because when I’m broadcasting I’m talking about what I’m doing and why and when there’s a spot where I’m not exactly sure what to say I know I have to work on that part of my game.
“It’s a learning process but it’s been quite helpful.”
PokerStars Gets Involved with Twitch.tv
Jaime Staples streaming
The Twitch.tv revolution has not gone unnoticed by poker giants like PokerStars, which signed Somerville to Team PokerStars Pro and worked out a deal with Staples to become a sponsored friend of the company.
Staples has literally lived the poker dream this summer by playing WSOP events while rubbing shoulders with poker legends like Chris Moneymaker and Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier.
When it comes to Twitch.tv, however, Staples is the one teaching the various poker stars. He regularly gets approached by poker fans who follow him on Twitch.tv.
“I’ve been having a great time,” said “Honestly just meeting the people that I interact with day in and day out on Twitch.tv has been the best part.”
There are times when it does feel a little strange to Staples though.
“I’ve realized that I am 'that guy' to a certain selection of people,” he said.
“It’s awesome to meet them. At the same time it’s a weird feeling. You lose a little bit of humanity going through that process but it’s cool to put some faces to names for sure.”
Staples: Twitch.tv Poker is Just Getting Bigger
Even Chris Moneymaker is streaming these days.
Staples doesn’t believe the relationship between Twitch.tv and poker will be slowing down any time soon.
“I think we’re going to see more big money move into the space,” he said.
“You’re going to continue to see PokerStars sponsor streamers — like they did with me — and some live poker shows are going to move into the space. I think we’ll see more people giving it a go as well. I mean it’s free to try. If you’re a grinder you can just fire it up.”
Staples has learned a lot about the Twitch.tv process and had a few pieces of advice for people just getting into streaming. His first suggestion was to just fire it up and start streaming because that’s often the hardest part for people.
“I think consistency is important in that people know when you’re gong to be on so they can plan around it,” he said.
“Also be honest about it. The best thing about Twitch is that it’s actually reality. It’s not 'produced' reality. This is actually my life. Be yourself and I think people will dig that.”
At this point the only thing missing from Staples extraordinary summer is a deep run in a World Series of Poker tournament.
“Maybe I’ll make the November Nine,” joked Staples.
To learn more about Twitch.tv and poker be sure check out our guide to the best poker livestreams on Twitch.tv.