For a while now, Twitch has been making waves in the streaming universe as it is ranked as one of the highest-trafficked websites in the world, especially during peak hours, coming in closely behind giants like Netflix, Google, and Apple. Gaming continues to grow in popularity and it would not be surprising to see Twitch.tv climbing the traffic rankings even higher in the near future. Numerous poker pros have jumped into the fray and started streaming their online play on Twitch. One such pro, who you may not yet have heard of is the German pro better known by his online poker alias neverfoldq5. While he has had plenty of scores in the poker realm, his transition to Twitch streaming also opens up another new potential source of income for him.

Manuel "neverfoldQ5" Zapf
NeverfoldQ5 | Image credit: irishpokeropen.com

How a Streaming Career Works

To make any realistic monies from Twitch streaming, a person first needs to become a Twitch partner. For this to happen, you need to demonstrate a sincere commitment to the platform. As with many things in life, consistency is key here. Your average viewership needs to be more than 500 people, and you should be able to stream no less than three times per week. If you’ve already built up an audience for yourself on YouTube and wish to migrate over to Twitch, you can become a partner by showing you’ve got more than 15,000 views per video and over 100,000 subscribers.

There are numerous advantages to becoming a Twitch partner, a couple of which are:

  1. You get the ability to incorporate a broadcast delay (critical so that you can entertain your audience while not worrying that they’re at the tables with you and seeing your hole cards while you play).
  2. You can start getting paid subscribers. Normally, partners get to charge $4.99 per month, part of which you get to keep, the other part of which goes to Twitch. In return for these subscription fees, subscribers get extra emoticons to use in chat, private chats, bonus content/video access, and anything else a streamer might come up with as added value items.

Although how new streamers like neverfoldQ5 monetize their channels is not fully detailed anywhere, usually most revenues are generated from subscribers. Some streamers also have websites of their own that they monetize to help supplement their income. Naturally, poker players who stream on Twitch also hope to be winning money while playing poker. Often that represents their main income.

For new Twitch streamers like neverfoldQ5 to start making a living exclusively from streaming ad revenue, they’d have to put in around 200-250 hours each month having at least 2,000 concurrent viewers. That means that they’d have to work at least 60 hours every week, which is about 20 hours more than the average full-time job requires. In other words, it’s not really possible for a full-time Twitch streamer to have another full-time job.

So, in a nutshell, it is actually possible make a good living from streaming poker play on Twitch. The only downside is that it is not easy. NeverfoldQ5, for example, would need to devote a lot of time and attention to building an audience. Typically, this would mean harnessing the power of other social media channels to direct followers to a Twitch channel as well. This type of effort is not something that most casual gamers have. Such casual gamers who spend perhaps two hours every day playing poker and streaming it live or casually managing their accounts certainly cannot make a living from Twitch streaming alone.

READ MORE: Is Twitch Streaming Worth the Security Risk?

How to Stay Calm When Playing a Long, High Stakes Tournament

The other challenge that new Twitch poker streamers like neverfoldQ5 have is that they’ve got to remain entertaining to and engaged with their audiences while simultaneously playing poker to the best of their abilities, in order to try and win at the virtual tables. This can be especially difficult when playing in long tournaments for high stakes. Here’s how neverfoldQ5 explains how he can remain calm: He tries to not focus on the fact that it’s real money he’s playing for and instead tries to focus on making all the right decisions based on their potential value. To that end, he visualizes every spot independently from hand to hand. He sees the game as numbers (kind of like a video game) instead of constantly thinking of how much money he stands to win or lose with each decision he makes at the poker tables. Overall, and perhaps most importantly, he never gets emotionally invested… after all, it’s just a game, right?

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