Poker, in particular Texas Hold ‘Em, has been popular ever since it was first played in the frontier lands during the early 19th century. The fine balance that the game treads between skill and fortune has ensured its enduring appeal to generations of players throughout the centuries.
That’s not to say that poker is a game that has rested on its laurels though, in fact, it has been at the forefront of technological advancements. It was the first game that spawned slot machines and the first game to successfully migrate to the World Wide Web.
It’s therefore not surprising to see millions tuning in to streaming sites like Twitch and YouTube to watch their favourite stars or influencers play poker online. Poker streaming needn’t be confined to the professionals and celebrities though, it’s something anyone can do, even you!
If you’ve ever sat and dreamed of making money from your favourite game or building your own community of followers, read on to find out everything you need to know about creating your first poker stream.
Where to Stream
There are a number of sites and platforms that you can use to stream your live poker action, but the standout three are:
All three come with their various benefits and pitfalls, so ultimately the choice of which platform to stream on comes down to personal preference. To get you started though, here are some of the main pluses and minuses of each:
Benefits: The original and therefore best-known streaming platform has a range of unique features that make it the more technologically savvy choice. It’s also incredibly easy to use and has a tried and tested monetisation pathway.
Limitations: The downside, however, is that outside of gaming circles it is a somewhat niche platform so migrating non-gamers over there might be tricky.
Benefits: The algorithm on YouTube tends to favour smaller, newer streamers whereas Twitch usually backs the big guys so you’ll have more of a chance of getting seen early on.
Limitations: The major downside to YouTube however is the type of audience you’ll attract. Typically, YouTube viewers are far less engaged and interactive than their Twitch counterparts which could harm your growth.
Benefits:Try and move your friends from one end of the bar to the other and you’ll invariably lose one or two stragglers along the way. It’s the same when you try and get your friends, fans or followers to come from a large social media platform like Facebook to Twitch or YouTube; streaming live on FB cuts out the middleman and will give you a boost in viewers in the early days.
Limitations: A negative to look out for though is video output. This platform is a little more buggy and inconsistent than Twitch and YouTube, but is that a price worth paying for better viewing figures?
How to Stream
Now you know a little bit about the best streaming platforms, let’s take a look at some of the things you’re going to need for your first stream. As it’s going to take a little bit of time for your audience to grow and the money to start coming in, we’re focusing on the budget options to get you started:
Webcam: To start out we would recommend streaming the live action from an online poker site rather than in-person card games. Don’t worry though, you won’t lose the personal touch going down this route, especially if you invest in a webcam to capture your reactions for your audience.
Microphone: Gaming microphones are good for gaming but they aren’t necessarily good for streaming so you will need to spend a little bit of money on one. Don’t worry though, you needn’t break the bank with this purchase – decent streaming mics can be picked up on Amazon for as little as $50.
Photoshop: All of the platforms covered above have in-built software to help you edit your videos and create graphics for your audience to enjoy when you’re streaming. To entice viewers into viewing your content though you’re going to need to create clean and enticing social media images which is where a Photoshop subscription comes in.
Sign up for one that suits your budget, watch as many YouTube tutorials as you need and then start creating. Photoshop is the single biggest weapon in your arsenal when it comes to growing your social media channels and attracting new viewers.
NB. Before you get started, commit to extensively researching how to improve your social media followings.
How Much Money Will You Make?
Finally let’s answer the burning question on your lips, how much money do you stand to make from this streaming business?
Well… It all depends. It depends on what streaming platform you use, it depends on how many viewers you get and it depends how generous they are.
To give you an idea though, let’s take Twitch as a case study. The only way you’ll start to make money on Twitch is by becoming an Affiliate and to do so you need:
- Minimum 500 minutes total broadcast in a 30 day period
- Average of 3+ simultaneous viewers over the last 30 days
- Minimum 7 broadcast days in the last 30 days
- 50+ followers
At that point small streamers who average around 10 viewers can expect to make around $50 a month. If you can bump that number up to 100 you could make around $1,500 a month from advertising revenue and subscriber donations.
Not bad from just recording yourself playing your favourite game eh? What are you waiting for now? Go get your stream on.