PokerStars is celebrating its 20th Anniversary: 20 years as the best known and most trusted online poker site. Here at PokerStars Blog, we are looking back year-by-year on those two decades, noting the landmarks and remembering all the remarkable moments, fitting them into the wider landscape of poker’s sensational development.
Today we go back to 2017 when PokerStars made the arguably questionable decision to sign a rag-tag pair of up-and-coming Twitch streamers who went by the names Fintan “easywithaces” Hand and Benjamin “Spraggy” Spragg.
Here, in their own words, Fintan and Spraggy tell the story of how they went from rising stars to heavy hitters in the Twitch poker landscape. We’ll also hear from the likes of Lex Veldhuis, Parker “Tonkaaaa” Talbot, Arlie Shaban and more about their first encounters with the dynamic duo, and how they’ve influenced a new generation of streamers.
Part 1 – The Early Days: “Surprise, surprise. I was being an idiot.”
In the mid-2010s, Fintan and Spraggy were both professional poker players looking for something to light a fire in them. Then Twitch poker emerged.
Parker “Tonkaaaa” Talbot (Twitch streamer and Team Pro): Fintan and I have been friends since we were just a couple of small stakes bros battling it out in the $3.30 rebuy. We met on the interwebs long before the days of streaming poker and I’m sure we connected pretty quick.
Fintan “easywithaces” Hand: I remember playing the Big $11 on a Tuesday evening in 2012 and I got second place for like $9,800, which was my biggest score ever. A bunch of the lads, including Tonkaaaa, were all on Day 3 of EPT Berlin so me and my good friend Kevin Killeen decided to fly over and watch them on Day 4.
I was living with my dad and I just left him a note saying I’m going to meet my friends in Berlin. I got to know Tonkaaaa really well on that trip and he agreed to come live with us in a house in Dublin for three weeks.
Benjamin “Spraggy” Spragg: I’d been playing poker full-time since university and, honestly, I think I’d become disillusioned with the game. My results hadn’t been good for the few months prior and my heart just wasn’t really in it anymore. I was taking a lot of time off but then I saw that people had started to stream poker on Twitch.
Fintan: Before any of us started streaming, Jaime Staples had been badgering me, Tonkaaaa and a few other people about it. We were all super close from way back when I was 18 or 19, having met on poker forums, and later we were all in a Skype group chat together. Jaime had seen the success that Jason Somerville had and he was saying we should try it. I’d never watched Twitch–I didn’t know what it was–and I didn’t really have any interest, but Jaime went off and did his thing.
Spraggy: I can’t remember the first poker stream I saw but it was probably Jason Somerville. I saw it as something different to do rather than just playing on my own and grinding day in and day out.
Fintan: I’ve always enjoyed playing poker and on top of that, I would consider myself to be confident and happy to make a fool of myself on the camera. I decided to give streaming a go in 2015.
Spraggy: When I first started I had really bad internet and a really bad old webcam, I just thought it would be fun. But because my internet was so bad I never really got any momentum.
Fintan: I loved streaming from the very first moment I did it. I honestly wish I still had the content from my first stream.
Spraggy: A few months later I decided that I needed something to do so I thought I’d start streaming again, this time with a $100 bankroll challenge. I was playing at a lot bigger stakes, but that’s really where my stream started.
I was quite lucky at the start because the directory was a lot smaller then. You had Jason Somerville, Jaime Staples, and a few other folks in there, but it was only just gaining popularity. When I first started I was playing up to $5/$10 cash games on stream when I was probably one of the only cash game streamers, so that got a little bit of early attention in the directory.
Fintan: For my first stream, I was probably playing 15 tables because I come from a sit & go background where I was playing up to 30 tables at once. But I couldn’t react to any hands or anything in the chat the way I do today. I started playing relatively low stakes on stream, but not really low, probably up to $215s and some shot takes at $530s.
Lex Veldhuis (Twitch streamer and Team Pro): When I started streaming not a whole lot of people were doing the daytime schedule. Somerville had a lot of success in the evening, then Jaime and Tonkaaaa were also in that time, but there weren’t a whole lot of people that were streaming in the daytime. Nowadays Fintan and Spraggy both stream pretty late and can do marathon late-night sessions, but during that time I saw them both during the day a lot.
Spraggy: When people start out now with zero viewers they’re right at the bottom of the directory for poker. When I started, there were probably only 10 streamers in there on a daily basis so I actually got traction pretty quickly. I was probably streaming to 30-40 people on a regular basis and I never had a long period of time streaming to nobody. I always had something to bounce off which definitely helped a lot. It’s really tough now because there are hundreds of people doing it these days.
Fintan: New streamers today might only have three viewers but I was fortunate I never had that. I wasn’t a very well-known name in poker or anything but I had a lot of friends within poker so they would just tune in. I’d say I averaged 15 to 20 viewers at first and then it was a big deal when I got to a 100-viewer average. I think the poker community and the chat is amazing so I was never too fixated on numbers.
Felix “Xflixx” Schneiders (Twitch streamer and Team Pro): I’ve been watching Spraggy since his early beginnings on Twitch when he was still playing cash games. I always loved his dry English humour and genuinely enjoyed his Friday night streams after I was done streaming myself.
Spraggy: Because I came from a cash game background I was pretty stubborn at the start. Everybody else was streaming tournaments but I’d played cash games for so long and I decided to stick to my guns. Like most cash game players back then, I thought tournaments were easy and straightforward as there’s only so much you can do with 20 blinds. I very quickly realised that that was not the case. Surprise surprise, I was being an idiot. There’s a lot of nuances and a lot of strategy at different stack depths that I was just completely unaware of at the time, and probably still am now.
Fintan: I’m not overly excitable, so early on I probably reacted to nothing and was emotionless and robotic. I had to learn not to fake my emotions because you’ve got to be true to yourself and be who you actually are. I’d lived with poker players and it was a mortal sin in the house to moan about a bad beat. So on stream, I had to allow myself to let the emotion out a little bit more, not faking it or anything, but just trying to enjoy the moments.
Lex: I’ve always been really competitive so I was really trying to carve out my own space on Twitch. I was focused on making sure that I have my own natural tone and all that, so I wasn’t checking out too many other streamers. But Fintan and Spraggy would individually host me from time to time so that makes you check out their content. People spoke very highly of them in my chat so that’s how I got to know them.
Spraggy: After six months I caved to the pressure and started playing the occasional tournament. To my surprise, I discovered I actually enjoyed playing tournaments on Twitch as there’s a story and you can win bigger amounts of money relative to your buy-in, you know? You can buy in for $10 and cash out for $1,000, whereas in my bankroll challenge, a good day was buying in for $10 and only winning $40.
As I was doing a bankroll challenge at the start I think the first tournaments I played were like $5.50s and Bounty Builder $3.30s, things like that. I was playing really small because that’s where the tournament bankroll was for me at the time, and I think that was smart to do as my tournament knowledge was borderline nonexistent.
Tonkaaaa: When I first encountered Spraggy, I just saw a man on Twitch poker who needed some serious help, in every way.
Spraggy: I don’t really want to publicly say this but a big moment for me was that Tonkaaaa raided me early on. I was having a really bad 5 cent/10 cent cash game session and Tonkaaaa was huge at the time as he played really high stakes. He raided me and I still have the clip where my webcam is not set up properly and I was tilting because I was losing. Then Tonkaaaa sends a couple of thousand people over to me. It was nice that people were recognising I was putting out good content. It definitely helped.
Tonkaaaa: I think my mom actually told me to raid Spraggy at the time. I genuinely can’t remember but I think she enjoyed his content and then his internet cut out or the stream went down…there was at least some drama around it.
Fintan: That was some nonsense, I remember that!
Spraggy: Parker and I are now very good friends and talk every day, as we have done for years, but our first messages to each other are me saying ‘thank you so much for the raid, I really appreciate it’. It’s a really wholesome message, whereas these days obviously I know him and I would never dream of speaking to him so wholesomely. It’s the same with Lex too. I looked at some of our first messages back and forth not long ago and it’s really funny because we’re both like ‘I really like what you’re doing’. It’s very civil as opposed to the way we talk to each other now.
Tonkaaaa: I remember Spraggy used to have a “Make Twitch poker great again” meme/emote and I was always very confused about how this 100-viewer Andy was going to make Twitch poker great again. At the time, I was one of the top dogs, if not the top dog of Twitch poker and it was already great. I just hated the meme. But after actually popping into the stream and giving him a gander it was a very acceptable watch.
Fintan: I probably owe Parker more than anyone else in the poker community. He was always extremely generous with his time, he coached me, he previously backed me. He just has one of the biggest hearts in the game, even if he tries to act otherwise. It might not always come across on his streams but he’s just a softie. He definitely played the biggest role in me getting to where I am out of any other person I’ve been close to in poker. If it wasn’t for Parker and that group of people I never would have been playing full time.
Xflixx: I always thought Spraggy was a class dude, a great poker player and an authentic entertainer – the kind of person you love to watch on Twitch.
Spraggy: I think the reason my stream grew was that I’d always told myself that I wasn’t going to be anything but myself. It’s very easy to watch other people stream and have success then emulate everything they’re doing. But I was always just going to be me and do what I thought people would like to watch, what I thought was funny.
Fintan: I’m clearly not the best player in the world and I’m not the best at streaming, but I was consistent. It’s not sexy or cool–I didn’t do this thing or that thing to get growth–I just turned up all the time and didn’t stop. It’s like being in a hamster wheel where you run and get momentum and things pick up and keep going faster. I don’t think it takes fancy new graphics or overlays. It’s all about being consistent and showing up.
Lex: They’re both self-made. Spraggy started playing 10 cent/25 cent cash games, Fintan started as a sit & go grinder. Neither of them had sponsor aspirations at the beginning, they just streamed because they wanted to make content.
In this day and age, I think a lot of people start streaming because they want a contract. But I think the best streamers start because they just want to be on the platform, and Fintan and Spraggy symbolise that journey and that trajectory.
Spraggy: Tournament players are famed for never being happy unless they win, but when you play on stream everything is amplified. Winning a tournament or having a deep run in a big event is always huge but when you do it on stream everything is 2X because you get to share it with your audience.
Fintan: What helps is that I play higher now than I did when I first started. People like to watch you play for a lot of money, and it’s been a gradual progression over the last three or four years for me to get to the stakes I play now.
Spraggy: I didn’t win many tournaments before joining PokerStars. I think I’d won a $7.50 PKO and I believe the highlight of me winning it is still in my intro countdown video today. Then just before I started working with PokerStars I chopped the Big $11 on a Sunday for around $9,000 which really catapulted the bankroll challenge and allowed me to start playing bigger games. It was great timing because people want to watch high stakes, so that score was a pretty big deal.
Fintan: I actually nearly quit streaming at one point because I noticed a lot of the streamers who were being signed were North American. I thought maybe I swore too much or my accent was a bit too thick and I wouldn’t fit into that.
Then someone who works behind the scenes at PokerStars–she’s still there–emailed me. She didn’t officially offer me anything, but she told me PokerStars were interested and hoped I continued streaming. Had I not got that email I may have packed it in. I wouldn’t say I only continued streaming for the chance of a deal, it’s just that I was playing lower stakes on stream than I was off and it was probably costing me money.
In the meantime, I was offered deals by other companies but I rejected them flat-out because I didn’t want to get tied into anything only for the PokerStars opportunity to then come along. It was PokerStars or nobody from the start for me.
Spraggy: Once I started streaming I didn’t think I was ever going to go back to playing poker not streaming. That’s changed now. If someone told me tomorrow that for whatever reason I couldn’t stream anymore, I would still play poker because this commitment to streaming and doing what I’ve done for the last five years has made me love fall in love with the game all over again. It sounds cliche but it’s true.
Fintan: The first time I ever encountered Spraggy was when he had been given $1,000 by a viewer to play $100 Spin & Gos. I had never seen his stream prior to that. Someone told me there was this British guy who was just losing his mind because he was on his eighth Spin & Go and hadn’t cashed a single one. I then watched him brick all 10.
Spraggy: When I first encountered Fintan it was a similar situation that I had with Tonkaaaa. We were both streaming poker and sending raids to each other and hosting one another, so we ended up chatting. It was nice to have someone to share that with because Fintan was at a similar stage to me. When you start talking to people you can quickly realise if you’re on the same wavelength. We would chat about all of our ideas for streaming and we aligned on what we wanted and didn’t want to do. We also both love football and have a lot of shared interests. We’re just too similar lads really and there’s a friendship born out of that which made it even better when PokerStars came to us.
Fintan: I think Spraggy is incredibly likeable and he’s one of the best streamers in the poker directory, that’s not up for debate. I would say he was more similar to me than anyone else in the directory at the time too in the sense that he’s from the UK, I’m from Ireland, he’s into football, swears a little bit, not as clean cut. I felt he was very authentic and being himself on the stream at all times so I just warmed to him straight away and we got on very, very well for years.
Lex: The best expression for the way I looked at Fintan and Spraggy is just the lads, you know what I mean? I felt a lot of similarities with them as they talked about going to drink beers, watching football, Fintan was talking about UFC a lot (when Conor McGregor was still good — shots fired). They talked about topics that I really liked so I enjoyed that, and they seemed to be doing some stuff away from the stream which I liked. That creates a bond.
Spraggy: I don’t think you can ever really plan for something like streaming to be long term, especially not back then. Nowadays with things like Dare2Stream the path looks a bit more viable. I was just in a fortunate position with my poker bankroll as I’d lived out of it for three or four years and I never went broke. So I could say to myself, give it six months and see what happens.
Fintan: We were both grinding the nighttime schedule and afterwards, we’d both sit up until 6 am playing video games. We thought maybe we should do something a bit more productive so we did six episodes of a podcast called Off the Rails which is still on YouTube. It’s just us chatting absolute nonsense at the early hours of the morning. I think PokerStars saw that we had good chemistry and could bounce off each other well. It’s not like they randomly picked the two of us and hoped it would work.
Spraggy: I finally had my stream to a point where I felt I could potentially do it long term, then PokerStars entered the picture.
In 2017, Fintan and Spraggy teamed up and were signed by PokerStars to host a co-stream on the central Twitch channel. They had one rule: they were not going to change.
Lex: It’s important for me, when you’re on a team, that it makes sense. I would have a lot of trouble joining a team of streamers if I don’t gel with the other streamers. I hadn’t talked to them much when they signed, but I thought we’d click and that’s what happened.
Spraggy: When PokerStars first contacted me it was really exciting. They had already signed Jaime Staples and Kevin Martin so it was always in my head that maybe this really unattainable, far-flung idea of being on Team PokerStars could actually happen one day. But I wouldn’t say it was my end goal. I never streamed with the sole intention of getting on Team PokerStars, I just streamed because I enjoyed it. But it was certainly super exciting. I would have jumped at the opportunity to do anything with PokerStars. They offered me…I think it was a two-year contract, and just before that was when I started talking to Fintan. That’s how the whole thing came about.
Fintan: It was pretty cool. When I got the email that there was potential for an offer then that’s what I began working towards, but the directory was quite competitive. When I got an offer it wasn’t completely unexpected, but…I don’t know if I should use the term life-changing, but maybe it was.
Spraggy: Pete Simm [Community and Content Manager at PokerStars] reached out to both of us and we all got on a Discord call and played Rocket League and started talking about streaming and things like that, feeling out whether we might be interested. Obviously, we were both really keen and it just went from there.
Fintan and I then met at the PokerStars offices in London and there we mapped out what working together would look like. The only thing we said to PokerStars was that we were not going to change who we are, as both of us are quite direct at times and speak our minds. We wouldn’t say awful stuff but we also wouldn’t hold back when talking about poker hands and things like that. We both told them we were just going to be ourselves and, credit to PokerStars, they said that was great and that’s exactly why they were signing us.
We were given creative control and in five years of working with PokerStars I’ve not had one message telling me I can’t do this or they didn’t like that. There’s a degree of trust that was established early on, they trust us to not go over the line while being free in our expression.
Fintan: PokerStars always gave us the freedom to be who we are and the support has been massive over the years. We’re still the same chaps that signed to PokerStars a few years ago. We’ve just been ourselves.
Spraggy: I remember there were maybe six people in the meeting and someone said they wanted our launch stream to be the biggest and grandest and they had all these ideas for little skits we could do. But Fintan and I were both like, we’re just going to stream and play poker. It’s going to be two guys and two cameras on two tables, that’s what we’re good at. I don’t think it needed any more bells and whistles.
Lex: We all became good friends through PokerStars visits and going to Twitch Con together. I liked the way they supported each other.
Xflixx: It was a natural thing to see them join Team PokerStars after seeing how much of an influential asset they had become to the Twitch Poker community. I was really excited and starstruck meeting them for the first time in person at Twitch Con.
Lex: I was super happy when they joined the PokerStars team because I felt like we had a lot of similarities and the fact that PokerStars loved what Fintan and Spraggy were doing gave me more confidence in the direction I was taking.
Arlie Shaban (Twitch streamer and Team Pro): I watched their co-stream on the PokerStars channel all day, every day. They have such a great dynamic, just played off each other really well. They had an epic balance between the two of them without talking over each other. They really figured out how to put on a brilliant show.
Georgina “GJReggie” James (Twitch streamer and Team Pro): I always used to tune in to their duel streams. I just loved the dynamic between the two of them, the banter, the needles, and the laughs. You could tell they were just friends having a good time chatting and playing. It never felt too serious and they made the poker fun.
Spraggy: I believe on the very first stream I did with Fintan, our first dual-stream together, I played the Hot $7.50 and won it.
Fintan: Honestly, I really struggled to get results when Spraggy and I started streaming together. There’s a lot of work that goes into a duel stream. You’ve not only got to entertain and play poker but you’re constantly having to search for the other person’s tables and get them open. I just didn’t do well and it took time to find the rhythm.
Lex: When I was travelling with my now wife, I would always have the stream on before I went online because it was their evening already. Whenever I had Fintan and Spraggy on, it was like hanging out with friends. Super comfortable. Super natural.
Xflixx: I loved the banter and enjoyed it when they anti-railed one another just as much as supporting each other. Their poker discussions about hands were so productive and inspirational. You got to hear two opinions about the same spot.
Fintan: Being on a parallel schedule with someone is very tough but those were some of the most fun times that I’ve ever had in my life. Spraggy was the person I was closest to in life because we would just talk for 30 hours a week without a single break. I’m not sure there’s any other profession where two people talk together more. Radio hosts play songs and air traffic controllers talk to lots of pilots. We were just talking all the time. Spraggy is very funny and an enjoyable person to be around so I loved it.
Lex: I think they really benefited from each other. They had really good cooperation. Spraggy was somebody who loves Twitch and also happened to like poker. Even if he stopped playing poker I could see him continuing on Twitch. Whereas Fintan was just hardcore grinding poker and playing sit & gos, but then also liked Twitch. I feel like they really complimented each other in that sense.
That made for an excellent show as well because Spraggy would express something about Twitch–a meme or something–and Fintan would be more hardcore about studying poker. Over time it was cool to see them grow towards a level playing field. Fintan started streaming a lot more because of their partnership while Spraggy started studying and taking poker more seriously, also because of it. They’re very similar now in that regard.
Tom “Majincast” Hayward (Twitch streamer and Team Pro): I watched the Fintan and Spraggy streams quite a bit. It was a good vibe, just nice and chill and with the occasional bit of good bants back and forth. I had a lot of respect for the show they put on.
Lex: Growing up is perhaps the wrong way to put it–as if I’m old and they’re toddlers or something–but we’ve seen them mature on the platform and it was really cool to see that during their co-streams.
Mason “pyefacepoker” Pye (Twitch streamer and Team Pro): I used to watch their co-streams on the PokerStars channel quite regularly. I liked how they’d bounce off each other and would engage in discussions with the audience about the most random of topics. They also shared similar interests, especially around football. I’d always like popping into their stream on a Monday to hear their thoughts on the weekend’s games, less so when Arsenal lost.
Lex: Those were really enjoyable streams. I think it’s perfect that it finished when it did because I feel like they really came into their own styles. They met each other in the middle and developed their own streams further. They were both ready to go on their own, but I really enjoyed watching them together.
Tonkaaaa: The pair of them are insufferable as hell, especially in a live setting, my lord, but they were a great little team.
By 2019, Fintan and Spraggy’s co-hosting contract was up, allowing them to focus solely on their solo channels. They’ve since gone on to become two of the biggest and most influential streamers in all of Twitch poker.
Lex: Honestly, the best way for me to describe the respect that I have for them both is that I think they’re the gold standard of work ethic and stream ethics.
Fintan: You want people to watch your stream but it’s out of your control. If you’re constantly worrying about it, it’s going to lead to misery. You can only control how often you show up and stick to your schedule, and how much you’re working on your game which leads to better results.
Lex: I really respect their work ethic. Just look at the perseverance that Fintan showed when he had internet issues and had to fly around the world to be able to stream. Spraggy streams so often too.
Spraggy: I think there’s always going to be competitiveness with the way the poker directory is. It’s like a king of the hill structure, right? If you’re at the top of the directory people are more likely to click on your stream, so you’re going to grow. I think naturally as a streamer you’re going to keep an eye on your viewership and want to be competitive and want more people to watch you.
But I think the beauty of the relationship I’ve always had with Fintan, Tonkaaaa, Lex, and the whole PokerStars team is that I want all of us to do well. Genuinely. If Fintan is having a deep run then I would want him to make the final table and win the tournament, even if it means my viewership is going to dip. If 500 people are going to leave my stream to go watch his because he’s on a deep run, then that’s great.
Lex: It’s weird because we’re really good friends but we’re also super-competitive against each other, but then we host each other as well, you know? I really want to win when it comes to viewers and all that stuff and maybe they want to beat me and overtake each other, but we all want each other to have good runs and when we’re done I’ll host them and they’ll host me.
Fintan: I don’t think the Twitch poker community is a zero-sum game like poker is. Even though it is a king of the hill scenario, I think there’s a lot more room for collaborations and working with each other. I truly want to help other streamers and get them bigger.
If you look in the directory and see the top 10 poker streams, chances are not many people will scroll past that. It’s an issue, but if we make the directory bigger as a whole it will mean there are more eyes on everyone and we’ll all do better in the long run.
Spraggy: There’s competitiveness but there’s also a camaraderie, right? I think Twitch is best when the tide rises and lifts all ships. I want my stream to be as good as it can be but not to the detriment of anyone else. I want everybody to do well. OK, I want most people to do well. OK, I only want some people to do well.
Fintan: Some smaller streamers might think it would be better if Lex, Spraggy, Parker and myself would just leave as they’d have a free run at the directory, but it’s not the case. The eyes would dry up and then the numbers wouldn’t be there for them.
Tonkaaaa: As two of the proper top dogs of Twitch poker, Fintan and Spraggy are no doubt a couple of influential folks.
Pyefacepoker: They paved the way for new streamers who were not recognisable names in the poker world. They both started off playing small stakes and building their bankrolls whilst also building their channels. Their success on Twitch has definitely been an influential reason why so many streamers, including myself, are on the platform today.
GJReggie: They helped pioneer the duel streams and I think collaboration content is on the rise and even more popular now than it was back then. The Dynamic Duo was just a breath of fresh air compared to a lot of other streams.
Pyefacepoker: Their co-stream certainly lit the fire within me to start streaming. Before I went live for my first stream, I’d asked both of them questions about getting set up and pointers for having a successful stream–they certainly helped. Even now when I’m co-streaming with GJReggie, I remind myself of the times Fintan and Spraggy would present their co-streams and take a leaf out of their books.
Majincast: They’re both masters of their craft and they will only continue to get better as well. Both of their efforts–just in terms of getting really good at poker–has been no small task, so building very successful streams to an elite level at the same time is really impressive and deserves our respect for sure.
Shaban: The Fintan and Spraggy streams influenced my desire to stream greatly. I was obsessed with Twitch poker and these two were signed by PokerStars living the dream. I looked up to those boys a lot back then before I was a streamer, and I still look up to them today. They’re out there blazing a trail for the rest of us poker streamers to follow so I was the happiest person in the world when PokerStars chose to sign me. The fact that I was getting called up to the big leagues with Fintan, Spraggy, Lex etc was insane to me. I am so grateful to be a part of the team and will continue to be motivated by the guys above me.
Lex: Their impact is massive. They are two people who stream the most and get the most viewers. I mean, if we’re talking about the best streamers of the last five years, those two need to be in there. It’s clear as day.
GJReggie: I’m not sure I would have started streaming were it not for watching both of them for so long. I always found their streams really engaging and it just always looked like a lot of fun! They had their own communities and their own styles of streaming.
Xflixx: I can’t think of Twitch Poker without them. Spraggy brings the dry British humour, Fintan brings the funky final table beats.
Pyefacepoker: When I signed with PokerStars it was almost as if everything came full circle. I was the one who was inspired by Fintan and Spraggy’s streams and would ask them questions about streaming. Then I start streaming myself, get signed with PokerStars, and now host a similar co-stream with GJReggie on the central channel. It’s crazy how things pan out like that. They’re obviously both top lads as well and have helped me a lot whilst I have been on the team which I’m very grateful for.
GJReggie: Joining Fintan and Spraggy on Team PokerStars was a bit surreal really. I followed them both for so long, so to then be working on the same team felt like a dream. The first contact I had with PokerStars was when Fintan sent me a message on Discord saying that someone from the company wanted to chat with me. I was at a pub at the time and had had a few drinks. I read the message and couldn’t believe my eyes. I replied straight away and just waited with bated breath.
I’d happened to meet Spraggy a few times before I’d officially joined PokerStars and I always thought I was really awkward around him because it just felt strange meeting someone where I knew way more about them than they did about me. When it was actually officially announced that I was joining the team, Spraggy was one of the first to congratulate me. He just sent me a screenshot of the Team Pro section of the lobby where my name was and said something like ‘welcome to the team’. I’ll be forever grateful to both of them, I wouldn’t have made it this far without their support.
Shaban: They are about as influential as you get. They are some of the biggest Twitch poker streamers in the world and they hold those positions for a reason. They have massive audiences and when they are online, that’s where the viewers are. They deserve all the glory, they have worked their asses off, mix that in with a couple of great personalities and dedication to their streams and their influence on this community is endless.
Lex: It’s fun to compete against them but it’s even more fun to be on the same team as them. With Tonkaaaa now on the team too, it often feels like we’re a group of friends that got signed to the same football team or something.
GJReggie: We’ve all got to see their evolution from pre-PokerStars to the duel streams to where they are now. Those two have worked really hard to make it where they are now and it’s just easy to root for them. Twitch poker wouldn’t be the same without either of them.
MORE IN THIS SERIES:
2016 – The poker community gives back
2015 – The rise of the global game
2014 – The art of the streak
2013 – Is this the best final table ever?
2012 – A look back at some of poker’s best (and worst) innovations
2011 – Isuldur1 and the nosebleed cash games
2010 – Poker as a TV and streaming spectacle
2009 – The live poker boom hits its highest point
2008 – Where future superstars cut their teeth
2007 – The changing face of the sponsored pro
2006 – How poker prize pools ballooned
2005 – Reporting on poker will never catch on…
2004 – The Year of the EPT
2003 – Chris Moneymaker wins WSOP, sparks ‘poker boom’
2002 – The year of WCOOP
2001 – Electronic poker before PokerStars