Twitch and Poker Education

Twitch and Poker Education

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Twitch looks like a mix of YouTube, Facebook, poker training video and webinar. And it is entirely free.

One could be worried, therefore, it could kill off the training sites, poker books and other forms of poker education. I don’t believe it will. In fact, Twitch Poker can only help them in my opinion.

First of all, the reason why training sites should be excited is the same reason why everyone else in poker should be excited. There is a whole new captive audience waiting to be converted to poker. Once they get into it, they will want to get better at it.

This may change as Twitch evolves, but right now the Twitch format is not the most optimal for learning. First of all, the audience is a mass market one, not hardcore poker players. The content therefore is a little dumbed down compared to the established training sites. So for that reason there is still a market for both.

Secondly, the dynamics of a Twitch stream is too busy for ideal learning. It involves a lot of surface level Q&A, rather than detailed questioning. The streamer has to manage playing, moderating the chat and the stream itself. It is also almost exclusively live play right now.

Training sites offer a much more formal curriculum style learning experience. You may be able to ask your favourite streamer what his 3-betting range is from the button, but you can do detailed in depth courses on an array of topics on a training site.

A change in the landscape

maxresdefaultI can envisage, however, Twitch changing the landscape of poker training. Just like anything in technology, we all want it quicker and more immediate. New poker players who discovered poker via Twitch will expect more instant gratification perhaps than the traditional poker audience.

As Twitch is completely free, I was initially concerned that it would set a precedent that all poker education should be free and premium content like books, coaching and training sites would suffer because of it. I am very surprised how that looks like it won’t be the case. In fact the Twitch audience seem more willing to pay than many hardcore poker players. Not only do they pay to subscribe and show loyalty to their favourite streamers, as well as buying merchandise from them, they even go as far as to give direct cash donations to them expecting nothing in return. People are willing to pay if they like what they see.

Perhaps the biggest way Twitch will impact training sites is with the coaches themselves. Just like the Kindle empowered fledgling authors to bypass publishers, Twitch might encourage poker coaches to set up one-man operations rather than producing content for a site. We have already seen that happen in poker a little over the last few years. I spoke to popular Twitch broadcaster PokerStaples this week who confirmed the same thing:

“In the long run Training Sites will be in competition with Twitch for coaches, because coaches will be able to make more money for themselves on Twitch with a partnership deal. You can save your recordings for subscribers-only for $4.99. In the long run we will see this open sourced channel by channel training for poker.”

However, I believe the depth of the back catalogues and the more structured learning environments will mean that traditional training sites and authors will be fine and potentially could thrive if they embrace, rather than ignore, Twitch.

For more Twitch insight check out my Twitch Poker Guide and sign up to my mailing list below: