If you want to become a great poker player, start live streaming your play. You will be forced to confront your biggest leaks. Your mental game will be tested. Your true level of confidence in your game will be exposed. Thanks to the critical eye of an internet audience, you will come face-to-face with your mistakes, but you will also strengthen your convictions by explaining your plays. Technical distractions aside, if you can handle the pressure and stay objective, live streaming can radically improve your poker game. Plus, it’s fun!
A true sign of mastery is the ability to explain a concept to a 5-year old. While your audience will certainly be older, a talented poker streamer has the ability to explain their decisions as if the viewers were all beginners. Breaking down your thought process about a hand while it’s happening is difficult. If you’re used to studying and discussing hands with advanced players, it can be even harder for you to strip away the jargon and simply get to the root of the concept. When you inevitably find a spot that you can’t explain, congratulations! You’ve just found a hole in your game. Now you know exactly what to study before your next session. At times, viewers will wonder about spots that are so standard for you that you forget why you do them. Explaining the basics strengthens the technical foundation of your game. If you can improve this one skill, your in-game thought process will be sharp as a tack. (Say goodbye to making plays without sound reason!) It will also make your stream more entertaining to a wider range of poker fans. Win-win.
The Challenges of Live Streaming
There is a learning curve to streaming that involves a lot of moving technological parts. Between the streaming software and your live chat, it can be distracting when you first start and your play will most likely suffer a little bit. However, over time, switching between tables, making sure your mic is unmuted after break, and deciding which comments to address in the chat will all become second nature. After sporadically streaming for the last few months, I still make plenty of mistakes at the table when I stream due to these distractions. My biggest issue is running out of time before acting because I was too busy explaining the decision. In my opinion, the downside of these technical distractions is far outweighed by the speed at which I’ve found leaks in my game.
In my experience, viewers like to discuss the mental game of poker. Downswings, bad beats, and coolers will always be the bane of a poker player’s existence. Having a platform to discuss how you’d like to deal with the tough parts of the game makes it more likely that in the future, that’s exactly how you will handle them. If you suffer from mental game issues surrounding tilt, fear, or confidence, those may be magnified while you live stream. There are two ways to handle these things being exposed: quit streaming or dive deeply into the core of your issue until it’s resolved. The latter will give you an advantage over your competition and longevity in this industry.
You don’t need to start a live stream to talk about your in-game thought process or to jot down your mistakes. But having a live stream leaves you with nowhere to hide, which dramatically speeds up the leak-finding process. Of course, you could choose to ignore all of your mistakes and all of the spots that you found difficult to explain. You could also ignore all of your viewers in the chat. (Although, I don’t recommend starting a live stream if you’re unable to tune out critics.) Streaming is not a magic wand that transforms your abilities once you click ‘go live’. The onus is on you to capitalize on what you learn while streaming, so you can live up to your fullest poker-playing potential.
For more tips on how to improve your poker game, explore CardsChat’s strategy guides.