Imagine yourself playing poker. If you’re reading this blog I hardly reckon it’s going to be difficult for you considering as you are probably already a poker player. Ok now imagine yourself multi-tabling 5-6 tables. Again, if you are a certain type of player it’s not that hard. Now imagine doing that with over 7,000 people watching you. It’s practically impossible to imagine, let alone to do.
Jaime Staples, aka Pokerstaples is one of the most notorious Twitch streamers, with audiences often reaching four figures. His highest audience to date was during a livestream of the Big $109, during which 7,000 people tuned in to see if he could take it down. And maybe also to see if he could knock out a certain Isildur1 at the same time!
Jaime busted in 9th place and I asked him what it was like playing poker in front of 7000 people. “I wasn’t able to put it in context really. The most viewers I’d had before was 4,000 and that was just crazy. But this time my viewers were jumping by about 1,000 people in thirty seconds. It was more after the session where I was like that’s a small stadium! I still don’t know how to conceptualise how many people that is.”
Jaime says that being on the front page of Twitch helped to grow his audience. “The front page brings you a whole new demographic of viewers. Instead of finding you on the poker listings, they found you on the front page. They might not have known who Isildur was but they were excited and that made me excited”
Jaime started playing poker around five years ago. He credits the Zynga poker leaderboard on Facebook for his drive and passion towards becoming an even better poker player. “My brother was playing on it (Zynga) and I saw that he had more chips than me. I obviously set out to get more chips than him and succeeded. Then I eventually found my way slowly but surely over to real money sites and just started playing poker constantly.”
“I think being open about not just what I’m good at but what I suck at means people can grab on and see me sort of struggle through that and improve.”
Five years later Jaime’s Twitch channel now has over 1,000,000 unique views, but he’s not sure why people watch him. “I think it’s about what I am as a person. I don’t exactly know. In a way they get to participate in a journey, and they can be a part of a community. It’s not like I put on a show, it’s like you’re part of the show, that’s the idea.”
He says that his streaming started with him being in the right place at the right time. “I saw the likes of Jason Somerville streaming and I thought ‘That’s cool, I want to do this!’ I was like why not? I play poker every day anyway and I’d love to talk to people and get to show them what I do.”
Even with the success Jaime is having with the Pokerstaples channel, he still gives credit to Jason Somerville, not just for inspiring him to get into streaming but for what he continues to do with his stream. “He’s owed his due and I still consider him to be the head guy in the industry. In the past month while he’s been away getting settled it’s been different for me. I’ve got to meet a lot of cool and interesting people who I had looked up to in the poker world previously who are now talking to me as equals.”
However, Jaime believes that his future lies off-screen as well as on. He plans to travel to Europe in the end of the year. “I just want to experience a bunch of different cultures, meet different people, so I was thinking somewhere like Prague would be a decent place to start, around next December. I’ve been in just one country for too long in my life, I’d just like to experience a few more things and I’m definitely looking forward to that.”
“I’m aiming to go at the beginning of the EPT season, but we’ll have to see how the bank-roll is doing in terms of participating in those events!”
In the short term Jaime’s main hopes are what every poker player aspires to do: keep improving. “I want to try and become the best tournament player I can be, and get to the top of the game. I want to compete in the biggest events online and live. But at the same time I don’t want to just be a player, I sort of want to make sure that I participate in the industry and that was a big part of it for me.”
“What’s happening with Twitch and poker is really great and we have a whole bunch of new people who are finding the game and becoming interested in it. I’m really excited that people seem to be adopting the format and giving it a chance. I think it’s a really great thing for poker.”
Be sure to follow Jaime on Twitter @JaimeStaples and to check out his Twitch channel: www.twitch.tv/pokerstaples