Q: What’s your approach to Twitch poker?
JS: When I first started streaming there were a couple of ways I could have gone with it. One of the things you see on Twitch is produced reality shows, where people are actually putting on a show. I wanted to go for the approach, ‘Hey, this is me and this is what my life is.’ It’s actual reality. I just try to be open and honest about what it’s like to be me, trying to get to the highest stakes tournaments in the world. I just want to be honest with people about who I am.
Q: When did you decide to become a full time twitcher and what is your goal long term with that medium?
JS: I dropped out of school because I wanted to pursue poker, my passion, so I kind of just took a leap of faith. I figured it was the right time to stop hedging my bets and just go for it. One of the things I wanted to do, if I was going to pursue poker, was to become part of and participate in the industry of poker. I thought that was important to do to ensure that I could be apart of the game long term. That was the goal. Then, I found Twitch a couple of weeks later. I watched a few broadcasts, thought it looked fun, and thought I could do it. That goal just fit perfectly with Twitch, so I just started doing it. Once I started I just didn’t stop and the stream grew. It was a case of the right place right time and then a lot of work to make it grow.
Q: You’re live in front of anywhere between 2,000 and 10,000 people, especially if you run deep in a tournament. When you go deep that’s when the viewing numbers go up like mad?
JS: Oh, absolutely. It feels really bad when you bust tournaments. As a poker player you stop caring about the money so much but then you start to get those feelings again because it’s like, ‘Aw man, the stream’s about to end and the all the viewers are going to drop off.’ So, you have those feelings again, where it really matters, if you bust the tourney or not, because it affects things for sure.
Q: Has explaining your moves to the masses helped your overall game?
JS: There’s no question. Yes, for sure. Before, I would auto-pilot a lot, which I think a lot of people are guilty of. You know, you have Skype open, you’re browsing the web or thinking about other things. That’s just not possible when you’re streaming because I always feel like I want to represent myself the best I can to my audience. It keeps me very focussed and dedicated, and playing a lot of hours, and it forces me to be there because I feel responsible.
JS: I try to play 40 tournaments a day. The most difficult part is getting volume in because when I make a deep run I want to cut tables. Talking with the chat takes up a lot of time as well, so it’s tough to get volume in but I try to play 40 a day. I’m playing usually around $1,200 in buy-ins. If it’s a Saturday or Sunday, I’m looking at between $1,500 and $2,500 in buy-ins per day, depending on what's happening that week. When I started the stream I was playing small to mid-stakes tournaments, you know the Big $55 and under, and I’ve progressed to the point now where I’m playing almost everything. My long term goal is to be able to play the biggest tournaments there are, both live and online, and I’m in a good spot now where I can challenge a few of those fields now. So, that's my poker day.
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What's Your Table Limit?
Imagine it, early 80’s, Las Vegas, Nevada, Binion’s Horseshoe Casino on the Freemont Experience and downtown is hopping. There’s gambling in the air! A guy walks in wanting to make a $1 million wager on just one roll at the craps table. Well, it happened and that guy was William Lee Bergstrom, and that’s what he wanted, a big bet on one roll. So he inquired about table limits, a question Benny Binion, casino owner and founder of the World Series of Poker, had been asked before. Binion, a Las Vegas legend, both charismatic and dangerous, .was the first casino owner in sin city to offer no limit bets. And, of course, he had that horseshoe on display in the casino lobby, a glass horseshoe stuffed with $100 bills, a million bucks in all, to prove the house could cover. Binion would often answer such questions with quick, sharp wit “we’re a gamblin’ joint ain’t we?’ So Bergstrom left and came back a short time later with a suitcase full of cash, $770,000 in all, and laid it all on ‘Don’t Pass.’ After three tosses of the dice, the shooter crapped out and Bergstorm doubled his money. Over the next few years, Bergstrom made more big bets at the craps table, one for $590,000 and he won, another for $190,000 and he won, and another for $90 grand, which he also won! But, lady luck cast her spell in 1984, when he took his biggest gamble yet - a $1 million wager. This time, he lost and sadly, a short three months later, Bergstrom committed suicided.
What’s your table limit?
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We have spoken to some of the greatest poker players, gamblers, gaming authors and casino insiders in the world. Here, some quotes from former guests of the show; world champions, bracelet winners, Hall of Famers, live streamers and writers.
Jean-Robert Bellande - Full Audio of this Q&A HERE
When producers of CBS’s hit show Survivor came calling for its 15th season in China, Jean-Robert Bellande jumped at the opportunity. The way he looked at? A 1-in-16 chance at a $1 million.
“With a million dollars for first and $100,000 for second you have to figure out your equity going in. You know, it’s probably like $80,000 just to be involved. And then, if you figure to be better than the average player that number goes up. I had my equity at $140,000 just in Survivor, plus the fringe benefits, like television face time and sponsorships, that go with it. It’s a real opportunity.”