Usually, when people watch gaming action on Twitch, they tune in to catch players give their all in games like Pokémon, League of Legends and Call of Duty, among other titles. However, pretty soon, they’ll be able to tune in to see a different kind of game unfold – poker.
According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, Twitch has already experimented with showcasing poker matches on its streaming site, with some channels testing the format as soon as last November. It’s apparently a beneficial move, as said channels have already reported audiences in the seven-figure digits.
Twitch recently streamed nearly an hour of poker during January 2015, and noted that, with this massive success, it’s only reached less than one percent of the overall video streamed for the site. Obviously, video games will continue to be the huge emphasis for its success, but it appears that there’s room for a few card players as well.
“Like videogames, poker is a game and we’ve grown that into a huge business,” said Scott Ball, the Twitch exec in charge of the project.
To keep matches fair, matches are broadcast with a four-minute delay, since cards are also shown to the audience to keep them involved in a match. (This would prevent them from reporting said cards to players who may be broadcasting the action on their own channel.)
With the help of several professional online poker players, Twitch could easily take on the likes of ESPN when it comes to poker tournaments and other events, which easily rack up millions of dollars in prizes and a fairly large viewership.
This move could easily boost Twitch’s audience numbers, which already tops more than 100 million monthly viewers. This is a tremendous increase from the 45 million it had back in the end of 2013 – thus prompting Amazon to make its move and purchase the company last year.
It’s a move that needed to be made, though, especially with Steam recently announcing that it would launch its own service, Steam Broadcasting, which is currently in beta. Well, it looks like that Twitch is certainly betting big – and has the poker team to back it up.