The sun has shone on PokerStars Players No Limit Hold’em Championship (PSPC) and, as Nick Walsh told us, it’s fueling poker’s renaissance.
The PokerStars Ambassador, streamer, and commentator is in the Bahamas, so CardsChat sat down with him to talk shop. Walsh knows poker from every angle. He played full-time and carved out a living in relative anonymity before streaming his exploits to the world.
A $150,000 Spin & Go win, coupled with a strong following on Twitch, landed the American, who calls the UK home, a gig with PokerStars. He’s now putting his talents to use as a commentator when he’s not playing the biggest events in poker.
PokerStars Caribbean Adventure setting new standards
Walsh wasn’t going to miss the 2023 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) and, as we found out, flying to the Bahamas was a winning move, even if it got off to a damp start.
“We did have a couple of wet days in between the PCA and the start of the PSPC. Fortunately, the sun came out, which was amazing for us,” Walsh told CardsChat.
Do the thing!
— Nicholas Walsh (@NickWalshTV) January 31, 2023
With the sun shining, all was bright. Naturally, the PSPC shines brightest in the Bahamas, a fact Walsh can’t quite believe given that it’s preceded by a $10,000 event.
“The fact the $10,000 PCA is essentially a warm-up for the PSPC is completely crazy. It’s such a rare situation for any tournament series to have a $10K that isn’t the main attraction. It just goes to show how big this event is as a whole,” Walsh said.
Given the gravitas of the PSPC, the PokerStars Live team could be forgiven for missing a few loose ends. However, as I’ve written about this week, there haven’t been any, and Walsh agrees.
“I think everything has been organized really well. I think the energy from the players has been absolutely amazing,” Walsh explained.
Another renaissance for poker
The energy is reminiscent of the poker boom era when major events were a diverse mix of pros and qualifiers. That feeling has only been enhanced by the presence of famous faces from outside of poker, including Bruce Buffer. The UFC announcer opened the show with a rousing speech and, as Walsh noted, his words captured the vibe of the PokerStars Players No Limit Hold’em Championship.
“Bruce Buffer said that seeing Ramon Colillas win the PSPC in 2019 was like watching Chris Moneymaker win the WSOP Main Event. I would love for that to be true. It does feel that way here. I’ve seen lots of notable figures in the poker community saying they sense we’re heading for another boom,” said Walsh.
As for his own exploits, Walsh wears many hats. He’s a player. He’s a streamer, and he’s a commentator. These skills make him an ideal person to represent PokerStars.
“I will always be a poker player first, but my focus has changed a lot over the years. If you had spoken to me five or six years ago, I would have been playing poker full time and that would have been income. Therefore, I was about as professional as you can get,” Walsh said.
Not only can he play, he can communicate the nuances of poker to novices in an entertaining and accessible way.
“I transitioned to streaming and playing in front of other people. So, I became an educator as well as an entertainer. Now I’m all of these things, as well as a commentator. I think having a grounding as a player and streamer helps with my commentary work,” Walsh continued.
Streams keep poker flowing in positive directions
Talking to the masses via Twitch has become the norm in poker. Walsh, like his peers, has found a way to make the game something people want to watch just as much as they want to play.
“The fact [streamers] have a way to access individuals on a large scale allows us to run competitions and give away Platinum Passes. Streams also give creators a voice and, in turn, viewers ways to share what they’re doing with the streaming community,” explained Walsh.
Twitch is becoming a go-to medium for poker pros wanting to reach bigger audiences, but are poker streams having a positive impact on the game?
“I can say with almost complete certainty that they must be. I know lots of people who started watching my stream and are now subscribers. They’ve contacted me to say thank you. They never realized poker was a game that you can enjoy and potentially make a few quid playing,” Walsh told CardsChat.
Streamers like Walsh have made poker more accessible. This has given people the confidence to ante up online, as well as venture out and try live games.
“I’ve had people tell me they couldn’t enjoy poker because they didn’t understand the basics. Now they’re running home games. So I think [streamers] are bringing in fresh blood and we’re giving people the tools to enter poker in a responsible way. That’s a powerful thing and something we can use to keep the sport growing,” said Walsh.
How to win PokerStars Platinum Passes
Evidence for the power of streams and social media in general is all around us at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. Baha Mar is awash with Platinum Pass qualifiers like Nikhil Segel. He bagged a Platinum Pass in 2019 but, thanks to his love for the game, he got another one this time around.
Indeed, as Walsh told us, championing poker and helping the community grow earns you good karma points when it comes to Platinum Passes. With that in mind, we asked him what people can do to win a place in the next PokerStars Players No Limit Hold’em Championship.
“My three tips for anyone who wants to win a Platinum Pass are:
- You’ve got to be in it to win it.
- Good karma goes a long way. Being part of the community and helping to build poker is important.
- Take part in events when there is added value. In London, for example, we ran mystery bounty events and added platinum passes to the mix. If you’re not taking part in these events, you’re not going to win.
Basically, if you can become part of the PokerStars family, you have a chance,” Walsh said.
So, there you have it. If you want to improve your chances of winning a Platinum Pass, you need to be an active member of the community. Think about the bigger picture and how you can make poker better for everyone. That’s what Nick Walsh has done ever since he stepped onto the public stage, and that’s why he’s one of the best people to represent PokerStars at all levels of the game.