There has been a lot of movement in the world of sponsored poker pros over the past few weeks.
High profile streamers Jaime Staples and Jeff Gross left PokerStars for new ventures, with Kevin Martin the latest Stars pro to announce his departure from the company. In total that group has over 256,000 Twitch followers combined.
Elsewhere, Unibet Ambassador Alan Widmann—another Twitch streamer—announced that he would be leaving the online poker operator after 2 years.
Partypoker said goodbye to one streamer IT5PAYDAY before announcing the signing of Matt Staples as part of its newly created Team Online roster and overarching streaming strategy.
- Largest player base in the world.
- Home of Spin & Go, Power Up and lots of other unique game variants including 6+ Hold’em.
- Biggest weekly tournament schedule around.
Partypoker announced that its Team Online would be headed up by the Canadian, who in addition to being known as a poker Twitch grinder, is also known for his Ultimate Sweat Challenge in 2017 with brother Jaime.
With over 3 million views on his channel and 52,000 followers, Staples’ Twitch channel is continually growing as he grinds out the content—something that partypoker will definitely want to maximize over the coming weeks, months and potentially years.
Staples is the first signing for Team Online, with more announcements expected later in the week.
On day one as a Team Online pro, Matt Staples finished 12th in the $320 partypoker Gladiator event for $2253.
“I am incredibly excited to be entering into a sponsorship with partypoker,” Matt Staples said in the partypoker blog post. “Becoming a sponsored pro is something I’ve aspired to for a while now, and I couldn’t be happier about the partnership. There’s nothing I like more than streaming tournaments on Twitch and I’m pumped to have the opportunity to showcase and help grow partypoker and their Twitch community.”
Speculation is rife that Parker Talbot (who has been part of the 888 roster and is currently on a streaming hiatus) will be joining partypoker’s Team Online.
What we do know is that partypoker will be enlisting current ambassadors Fedor Holz, Patrick Leonard and Ludovic Geilich to share Twitch hosting duties and stream sessions on a variety of poker topics. What these topics will be and if the ambassadors will now form part of the official Team Online remains to be seen.
Matt’s brother Jaime Staples, who up until two weeks ago had been a Team Online sponsored pro for PokerStars, has a Twitch channel with over 120,000 followers—almost double that of his brother—and is currently sitting as free agent on the poker market.
Jaime has been sponsored by PokerStars for the best part of four years and was an advocate for using Twitch to create a community around poker—something that partypoker looks now to be focusing on.
A sponsorship deal with another operator—be it partypoker or someone else—is surely in the works as Jaime has a huge, built in audience, ready to be tapped into.
Notably, the day before Jaime announced he was parting ways with PokerStars, Jeff Gross—another Team Online sponsored pro—announced he was also leaving PokerStars.
The pair both stated they left the company on “good terms” and details remain vague about their next steps.
Partypoker’s Streaming Strategy
The streaming strategy will see partypoker focus on compiling “an elite team that will be able to stream entertaining and engaging content 24/7” as revealed by Managing Director, Tom Waters.
The Thirst Lounge is a streaming Twitch.TV channel that was set up by Perkins in 2016 to encourage people to “strive for 'bigger and better’ things in life”—basically selling a millionaire’s lifestyle as what the poker dream could be.
After a hiatus since 2017, The Thirst Lounge returns with ten streamers all with different strengths in order to create “engaging and unique” Twitch content. It is hoped that thanks to the broad mix of hosts, a new demographic of viewers and potential new players will get inspired to give poker a go.
Notably the streamers were picked via a competition run by ex-PokerStars pros Jaime Staples and Jeff Gross. The pair along with Kevin Martin were firm fixtures on the first Thirst Lounge back in 2016.
“Thanks to partypoker for putting their faith in The Thirst Lounge,” said Perkins. “We work with a fun, outgoing group. It will be a pleasure to watch them grow and develop The Thirst Lounge as well as their own brands. I am thrilled that partypoker is 'thirsty’ to come on board and support this exciting venture with us!”
You can follow partypoker’s Twitch channel here or below.