Why Twitch Is So Great for Learning Poker Strategy

Background Image of Live Twitch Poker Stream, Twitch Streaming Logo, Circles with Poker Initials
The poker world is filled with plenty of popular strategy resources. These include articles, books, coaching, heads-up displays (HUDs), and training videos.

Twitch, and live streaming in general, entered the fray in the mid-2010s. Many people have since discovered that Twitch is one of the best ways to learn poker strategy.

But what is it that makes Twitch such a good strategy tool to use for your next game of poker? You can find out as I discuss everything it has to offer in terms of pro players and content.

Twitch Allows You to Look Over a Pro’s Shoulder

Twitch started out as Justin.tv, a platform for people to stream their video game play through. The service has since branched out to other areas, including everything from cooking to talk shows.

Poker players have also found Twitch to be extremely useful for live streaming their sessions. Professionals can now broadcast their sessions via this service. Many amateurs tune in to watch pro players in hopes of improving their own games.

You can see how a grinder handles certain situations through Twitch, whether they’re 3-betting or folding. They often explain why they make certain moves, which gives you a better understanding of their mindset.

You can also ask them questions via the chat box, which creates an interactive element. They’ll normally respond when they get a chance.

Hundreds of poker pros now use Twitch on either a regular or semi-regular basis. Some of these players stand out among others, due to their high skill level and consistent streaming. Here are a few of the most popular poker Twitch streamers.

Jason Somerville (Run It Up TV)

Photo of Twitch Poker Player Jason SomervilleJason Somerville is the most successful poker streamer to date. He began his channel under his nickname, “JCarver,” before changing it to Run It Up TV.

The WSOP champ now has over 250,000 subscribers, a number that continues to grow every month. Somerville gives players an opportunity to play against him through Run It Up home games.

Jaime Staples (PokerStaples)

Photo of Twitch Poker Player Jaime StaplesJaime Staples has managed to garner well over 100,000 subscribers for his channel. He boasts nearly 300 videos and is one of the most active streamers.

The Canadian poker pro gained further fame for his channel when he won a $150,000 weight-loss bet with Bill Perkins. That said, Staples knows how to keep things interesting, whether he’s playing poker or making big prop bets.

Randy Lew (nanonoko)

Photo Twitch Poker Player Randy LewRandy “nanonoko” Lew is famous for his insane multi-tabling abilities. Therefore, many viewers like seeing the method to his madness through Twitch.

Lew doesn’t log as much volume as he used to. But nanonoko still plays up to 20 tables simultaneously, showing the skills that helped him set a world record with 14,500 hands in eight hours.

Lex Veldhuis (LexVeldhuis)

Photo of Twitch Poker Player Lex VeldhuisGiven that it’s both a popular video gaming and poker platform, Twitch was made for Lex Veldhuis. The Dutch poker pro started out as a StarCraft pro before turning to poker in the early 2000s.

He’s since found a great deal of success in both live tournaments and online cash games. Veldhuis streams his online tourney and cash sessions full-time, meaning he’s easy to catch on Twitch.

Parker Talbot (TonkaaaaP)

Photo of Twitch Poker Player Parker TalbotParker Talbot is no doubt one of the best online poker players who also streams his sessions. He’s earned over $3 million in profits from online cash games and continues to be a profitable player today.

Winning isn’t the only thing that makes TonkaaaaP popular. He’s also quite colorful during his sessions. Some players may not like his animated style, but Talbot has close to 100,000 subscribers, so he must be doing something right.

Enjoy the Entertainment Aspect While Learning

Watching poker pros through Twitch isn’t just about learning strategy. It’s also a fun way to study the game while being entertained at the same time.

The best Twitch streamers are not only good at poker but also at entertaining their audiences. They can explain strategy without being too dry and have interesting stories to tell.

You simply can’t get the same entertainment aspect when studying poker strategy through other means, such as articles, books, and training videos.

I’m not saying that Twitch poker streamers are exciting 100% of the time. But they offer an enjoyable alternative to learning strategy through other means.

Some even put themselves through difficult challenges in order to spice things up. For example, Arlie Shaban once streamed for 1,000 hours total in 25 days. Watching somebody in the midst of one of these challenges makes the experience even more entertaining.

Engage With the Streamers

Live Poker Twitch Stream by Lex Veldhuis
You can’t just walk up to poker pros and start asking them a bunch of questions without invading their personal space. Twitch, however, gives you the opportunity to chat with them in an appropriate arena.

Engaging with the pros is easy. You begin by creating a Twitch account and watching an active stream.

You’ll then be able to type questions/comments to the pro in the chat box. Poker streamers run on a delay ranging from 3 to 10 minutes, but they’ll likely get around to answering you at some point.

The only thing you need to worry about is asking relevant questions. As long as everything you’re saying is appropriate and relates to poker, then you have a good chance of interacting with pros.

You should actually push yourself to engage with them as much as possible. The goal is to get the most out of each Twitch session as you can.

You won’t get a lengthy one-on-one with the pro in question. But you might spark up a conversation between the other rail birds.

The best conversations lead to a strategy discussion that can help improve all of your games. This aspect also creates a sense of community, where players help each other.

Of course, you do want to use some discretion during this process. Not everybody who comments on hands knows what they’re talking about.

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Furthermore, you also have to be aware that the pro will mainly be concentrating on their play. They don’t have time to give you an expert coaching lesson during the session.

A good way to get around this problem is by waiting until they’re done playing and have more time to address everybody. You can then shoot them questions about previous hands, and they’ll have more time to compose their thoughts/comments.

Learning Poker Strategy Through Twitch Is Free

Some methods for improving at poker cost money, including books, coaching, and training sites. The cost for books and training isn’t usually very expensive, but these options still cost money, nonetheless.

Coaching can be very expensive depending upon which pro you’re learning from. You’ll end up spending hundreds of dollars per hour to learn from the best.

Twitch Streaming Chat Icon, Text Reading Free Inside Purple Sticker IconTwitch, on the other hand, is completely free. You only have to spend your time to watch experienced pros grind online.

Of course, some Twitch content is only available through subscription. For example, you might have to spend $5 or $10 to watch a specific segment of a pro’s session.

But Twitch offers so much free poker content that you don’t necessarily have to pay for a subscription to anything. The pros already make money by sharing in advertising revenue with the site.

Tips for Getting the Most Out of Twitch Streams

You don’t need any specific plan of attack when watching Twitch streams. Instead, you can simply choose some well-known pros and check out their streams to pick up tips.

But you can learn so much more from Twitch by going in with a smart plan. Here are some tips for how you can get the most out of watching other poker players’ livestreams.

Watch a Variety of Successful Players

Every poker pro has their specific strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, you want to watch multiple successful players to get a full range of tips and advice.

Some pros are really good at preflop play, while others are excellent at post-flop decisions.

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Watching more than one player helps you get different ideas for how to handle each situation.

You especially want to differentiate between players who specialize in cash games, sit and go’s, and multi-table tournaments. While pros are usually good at all of these mediums, they likely excel at one type of poker over the others.

Take Notes

Black Composition Notebook with Twitch Logo, PencilYou can pick up lots of tips just by intently watching poker pros on Twitch. However, you’re likely to forget much of what you learned over time.

Rather than simply viewing these streams, you should take notes and be more active when learning strategy. Notes serve as perfect references for remembering what you’ve learned weeks or months down the road.

For example, you might see a pro make an excellent check-raise on the turn. You can then jot down each scenario and the explanation behind their decision. Even if you eventually become a pro poker player, there are some tips you just won’t want to forget.

Check Out the VODs

Twitch livestreams give you an opportunity to interact with a poker pro. You can therefore ask questions and make comments in the moment.

However, you don’t have to catch streams live. Many pros make their content available through video on demand (VOD).

VODs allow you to watch streams that have already played.

The advantage to doing so is that you can skip irrelevant or boring parts and go straight to the good stuff.

These replays are also excellent for when you want to re-watch a specific hand or series of hands. It’s easier to take notes when you’re able to view the same content as many times as necessary.

Be Entertained – But Also Serious

I’ve mentioned several times how Twitch offers an entertaining way to study poker strategy. You can see how pros play the game and even interact with them and other viewers.

Guy Sitting at Desk with Computer On, Thought Bubble with Poker Cards and Casino Chips InsideBut your sole focus shouldn’t be the entertainment aspect. You also need to keep a serious mindset about the matter.

Don’t just mindlessly watch a Twitch stream while casually observing how pros play. Instead, you should think about every hand analytically and what you would do in each situation.

Get the Most Out of Your Time

Twitch features so many different poker streamers that you could literally spend all day on this site. Of course, you eventually need to play yourself and put what you’ve learned into practice.

Therefore, you can’t spend all day watching others play poker and expect to improve.

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You instead want to make good use of your time and learn as much as you can within 1-3 hours.

Everything from taking notes to looking at hands analytically will help you get the most out of your time. You may even want to limit yourself to a specific amount of time while watching Twitch. Doing so creates a greater sense of urgency and helps you pay closer attention.

Conclusion

You can learn poker strategy through plenty of means, but you should definitely consider dedicating the bulk of your time to learning through Twitch.

This livestreaming service offers a number of advantages over other methods of studying poker strategy. First off, you can learn how to play better by watching real pros.

Many professional players now stream their sessions via Twitch. Their content is free and doesn’t require a subscription in the majority of cases.

Learning poker through Twitch is also more entertaining than other methods. Livestreaming gives pros a chance to tell stories and thoroughly explain their decisions. In cases like Parker Talbot, they can even showcase their colorful personalities.

You also have an opportunity to engage with the pros while they’re streaming. Just type questions and comments in the chat box and wait for their response.

Yet one more advantage is the fact that Twitch is free. You don’t have to spend anything to watch these pros, unless you feel like paying for the occasional subscription content.

You’ll pick up plenty of tips just by watching professionals through Twitch. However, you should go the extra mile to ensure that you get the absolute most out of your learning sessions.

Watching a variety of pros, taking notes, and checking out VODs are all ways to improve. You also want to take a serious mindset into each session, rather than viewing livestreams solely for entertainment.

I’m not saying that other poker strategy methods like articles, books, and training videos don’t have their usefulness too. But you should strongly consider at least trying Twitch if you haven’t done so already.