How To Start Your Own Poker Stream
People stream games for multiple reasons; it might be they want to share their love of their favorite game, it might be to feel part of a community. For others, they see it as a way of making a little money or being the first step towards a new career.
However, no matter the reason, one thing is for sure: live streaming is definitely on the rise. In the first quarter of 2021, 8.8 billion hours of live gaming streams were broadcast online, almost double the figure from 12 months earlier, with each streamer giving their take on the experience. That’s where it’s different from any broadcasting platform; there are so many options, almost every game is covered, so no matter what your interest is, there’s always something there for you.
One of the most popular gaming niches is poker; the online poker industry is roaring right now. There are around 100 million who play the card game online, with the majority of those right here in the US; it’s been a boom time for the game on digital platforms. That growth certainly has been aided by the closure of casinos due to the pandemic, leaving players looking for a place to play and, crucially, interact with others.
These factors arguably mean there’s no better time to start a poker stream; while it’s not the easiest of undertakings, we’re here to help you get started.
Hardware and Peripherals
The first thing you need to do before you even consider what sort of streamer you’re going to be, any aspiring content creator needs equipment.
If you want to raise your game, we’d recommend something like an AMD Ryzen 5 processor partnered with an MSI Tomahawk gaming motherboard. These are a great base platform to build the rest of your rig around. 16-32GB of Ram and a solid graphics card such as AMD Radeon RX570 will do the job; however, a Geforce RTX 2060 would be a better choice if you can stretch a little further.
Two monitors would be ideal, one so you can focus on your poker table, the other to show all your streaming software and chat from your viewers to engage with the viewers. A webcam such as the Logitech G920 will allow the viewers to see you, and then a good performing microphone and headset from Hyper X would top things off nicely.
Content and Software support
We have already mentioned getting involved in a niche; you need to get something that sets you apart from others who also stream poker. After all, it would be challenging to retain viewers if you’re offering the same as everyone else. A poker stream doesn’t have to be you and friends playing the game; it could be on a range of subjects. You might be introducing a rudimentary beginner’s guide to poker, or something else from the wider poker world. The key here is to vary your content to make it attractive to fellow poker fans. Once the hardware and your content plan are sorted, that’s when you need to go online and get your software sorted.
While there are many options out there, we recommend you download OBS, which is free; this is the program you need, which is your broadcast studio. This is where the main work is done and what will push the game from your computer onto the World Wide Web. Once set up, you can see what output is coming from your game and your webcam to allow you to see what your viewers can. You need to set up an account on Twitch, or YouTube, which will be the online platform that people access to watch you take your turn at the table. This will be linked to OBS via a stream key which is accessible in the Twitch settings; it’s straightforward.
There’s no right way or wrong way to set up the software, it just takes time to perfect your look to suit what you want, and the good thing is there are so many free resources out there to get help.
The biggest obstacle to starting an online stream is yourself; while it can take some time to perfect your output, that shouldn’t put you off; there’s a fantastic community of people out there online just waiting for you. If you love poker and gaming, there’s nothing better than sharing your love of the game with others, and with the tech we’ve outlined above, you’ll be up and at it in no time.
Derek Tibbs is a keen poker player from Sheffield, UK, who came to the US in the nineties to find his fortune around the tables of Las Vegas. He didn’t make his million bucks, but he did find a niche writing about gaming on blogs. He now resides in Highland Park, Michigan, still writing content and enjoying a few hands of poker in his basement with his buddies. When he’s not dealing the cards, Derek likes to follow the Detroit Pistons, and sail on Lake St Clair.