CardsChat was recently in Prague for another record-breaking PokerStars event. While we were there, we spoke to some of PokerStars’ finest ambassadors. With streaming more prominent in poker than it’s ever been, we spoke to one of the game’s most entertaining content creators, Fintan ‘EasyWithAces’ Hand.
Before we got into poker and streaming, Hand gave us a brief recap of his 2023. He told us that, along with some wins at the poker table, he celebrated a personal milestone.
“The highlight of 2023 in terms of poker was winning UKIPT Edinburgh. However, I actually played less poker than usual because I had a kid. So, I spent time adjusting to a new schedule. I kicked it up in the second half of the year though and had a good run. To run well and win a live tournament is pretty nice because, at least in my early career, I’d say I was predominantly an online player,” Hand said.
What makes a good streamer?
Winning a live event and becoming a dad were new experiences for Hand in 2023, but one thing that remained a constant was streaming. The Irishman hosts one of poker’s most entertaining streams, so we wanted to know what makes a good streamer.
“I think a good streamer is someone who’s just entirely themselves. Some people might dislike what other top streamers do but like my content. Conversely, someone might dislike my streams but love others. I think there are so many different personalities that it’s unfair to pinpoint one universal quality that makes a streamer good or bad,” Hand explained.
So, if there are different streams for different tastes, anyone with the right attitude could become a streamer?
“As long as someone can talk on camera, I think they’ve got they could be a streamer. If you’re going to sit in silence, no one’s going to watch. There has to be some level of entertainment and information. You have to let your personality come through and always be yourself. Then, if you’re good at poker as well, that helps. Playing high stakes will get you more attention. However, if you’re extremely entertaining and don’t play high stakes, you can still do well. Of course, if you’re entertaining and play high stakes, you can kill it,” Fintan Hand continued.
Get it right and streaming opens doors in poker
Streaming clearly has something to offer viewers if the person on camera has the right mix of personality, skill, and charisma. However, is there anything in it for the streamer, other than love from the poker community? Specifically, can streaming help you become a better player?
“I’m a better poker player now than before I started streaming, but I’ve learned a lot over the last seven years so it’s hard to know if it’s down to streaming or studying. What I will say is that streaming has given me opportunities that I otherwise wouldn’t have had,” Hand said.
“I’ve been lucky to work with some top coaches and players. I’ve also had the chance to play in some very big tournaments thanks to PokerStars. I think I would’ve gotten better at poker anyway, but streaming has definitely helped in other ways,” he continued.
OK, so streaming has the potential to open doors, but should novices use it as a way to move up the ranks in poker?
“I think it’s very hard to learn poker strategy and become a better player if you’re creating a lot of content. Streaming and posting content is like running a small business, so my advice would be to get to a certain level in poker before you start streaming. You could make both work at the same time if you want, but I’m not sure if it’s the most efficient way,” Hand told CardsChat.
Fintan Hand wants to kick it a notch in 2024
Fintan Hand’s knowledge of streaming is clear to see. Add to that the fact he’s been playing for more than a decade and it’s safe to say he’s experienced almost everything poker has to offer. We know that some players prefer to play online and others thrive in the live arena. Hand’s roots are firmly within the online community, not least because of his stream, but does he have a new love for live poker after winning UKIPT Edinburgh in 2023?
“I’ve always preferred playing online and streaming, but I’ve been going to a lot more live tournaments recently. Playing has been great and I’ve really enjoyed meeting the people who watch my stream,” Hand said.
“I’ve had so many people coming up to me saying how they watched me during COVID lockdowns and still tune in today. Putting faces to names that I’ve known online for years has been pretty sweet. If I had to pick, I’d probably choose online poker, but getting to meet people and enjoying the community aspect of poker at live events has been great,” he continued.
Hand’s newfound love for live poker has inspired him to get out on the road even more in 2024. However, that doesn’t mean he’ll stop streaming. With his family life in check and a desire to make even more content, 2024 is going to be a big year for the PokerStars ambassador.
“Winning another live tournament or SCOOP would be amazing, but they’re somewhat out of my control, so my main goal for 2024 is to work as hard as I can. I took my foot off the gas in terms of studying and playing last year. I want to double down in 2024 and get better as a player and streamer. I also want to experiment with some new content that I think people will really like,” Hand explained.