Anyone who spends just a few minutes in the company of Francis Menard will soon see that he’s as real as they come; a genuine man with a passion for poker and streaming. His audience can feel it, we can feel it, and for Frank this is what sets his stream apart.
FrankTheBeard, as he is known online, is actively participating in Dare2Stream, and for him the competition couldn’t have come at a better time.
“I was always trying to find a way to get myself out there, get my personality across and be inclusive and bring people together,” says Frank. “I’ve talked with a few streamers over the past few years, and then all of a sudden the timing of Dare2Stream happened. It was just the perfect storm at the right time.”
He may be new to streaming, but FrankTheBeard has already experienced exciting moments that he could only have dreamed of months before – like the time TonkaaaaP raided his channel, rapidly raising his viewership to a peak of 761. That evening, Frank finished 15th in the Big $2.20 and, after seven hours of streaming, closed the show with close to 100 viewers still watching.
“When you start these types of ventures you think, ‘I’m just a brand new streamer, I’m probably not going to be able to sustain this viewership’”, says Frank, “but when you finish a stream that lasts 7 hours with nearly 100 people still watching, you’re like, ‘Wow, I can actually be successful at this!’”
In a recent stream, FrankTheBeard used his well earned $109 ticket to play the Sunday Million, a tournament well outside his usual bankroll limits. After a deep run, Frank finished just a couple of hundred players outside of the money.
Frank has grown up with a disability. He doesn’t let this stop him from accomplishing his goals. Rather, Frank’s aim is to break down barriers and let his personality shine.
“Growing up, I knew my disability, Cerebral Palsy (CP), would force me to think outside the box to accomplish certain tasks or goals of mine towards independence, whether financial or otherwise. I constantly had to teach people that regardless of my physical limitations; I would be able to achieve intellectual goals for myself.”
“I think that’s what’s allowing me to appreciate more how people gravitate towards my stream, and I try my best not to take anything for granted.”
So, what can viewers expect when they tune in to FrankTheBeard’s stream? For the 34-year old from Ottawa, Canada, it’s all about the raw emotion that he brings to the table.
“People seem to have gravitated towards the raw emotion and the community involvement that I’m trying to foster. I always try to make my stream as positive as possible. Whether I win big pots or lose pots, you’ll have emotions either way… I think the emotions on stream are a lot of what people can relate to.”
It’s an emotion that’s palpable. I felt it when interviewing Frank, and his audience feel it every time they watch his stream. Take a look at last week’s Clip of the Week to feel it for yourself:
As he ventures deeper into the world of Twitch poker, Frank has particularly enjoyed the Dare2Stream community spirit. Mason Pye and GJReggie have both visited his stream and shown support, and Frank’s viewers have guided him through a journey to becoming a better player and more confident streamer.
“The community of Dare2Stream is amazing. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people around. Everyone has been very supportive considering it’s my very first kick of the can. I’m having a blast and people are very helpful. It has been a whirlwind of emotion and so surreal!”
“I can’t be grateful enough for the people who are liking my stream, who are willing to support me, and who are there to allow me to think of bigger and better ideas, because these are the people who are allowing me to think of this as a possible career. If it wasn’t for the community, I wouldn’t be able to do this dream of mine.”
This community spirit is, of course, a two-way street. For FrankTheBeard, engaging with viewers and staying active in the chat is just as important, if not more so, than the poker itself.
“My interactions with chat is something that I cherish. As a streamer, I understand that if it wasn’t for chat I would be talking to myself, essentially. So my interactions with people are sometimes even more important than the poker hands, and bringing in new players is what I’m more focused on.”
“For me, the chat interaction is the strongest part of my stream, and that’s what I’m trying to build myself around to bring the community together.
Frank also points out that the evolution of Twitch and the communities sustained there will have a positive impact on the future of online poker in general.
“There’s a lot of exposure that Twitch can bring, and making sure our communities are healthy – it’s just going to make poker prosper – the more we can build strong communities the more poker as a whole will thrive.”
Frank leads a busy life outside of poker, holding down two jobs and enjoying a weekly dance class. He’s keeping his doors open and seeing how things go, but would revel in the opportunity to take streaming to the next level.
“It’s so bizarre because at first, when Dare2Stream kicked off, I was kind of looking for things, but then everything happened all at once”, says Frank.
“I don’t want to take it for granted, so I try to keep my various doors open and see where it takes me. But if I were to win Dare2Stream or have the chance to stream as a career it would mean the world to me. That would be the absolute dream!”
I couldn’t finish the interview without asking one more pertinent yet fairly obvious question… Why FrankTheBeard?
“As you can see I can grow a very healthy beard. One of my neighbors back in the day would always call me Beardy. I don’t know if he just didn’t know my name or whatever, but he called me Beardy. So that’s how it came about.”
It’s a catchy name. The only problem is Frank now faces immense pressure from his audience – he must keep his beard long and thick to live up to his name!
So, what can we expect from FrankTheBeard going forward?… High quality, emotional, engaging content from an inspiring streamer who’s all about the community.
“Feel free to come and say ‘Hi’ and follow the stream,” says Frank, “because this is just the beginning, and we’ll make it that much better. People will see over the next few weeks and months how much the stream will improve, and we’ll have a great experience together.”
Check out FrankTheBeard’s Twitch channel here.