WSOP 2016: Will the real Jason Somerville please stand up?

July 12, 2016

Jason Somerville is sitting as close to the World Series of Poker Main Event rail as anyone can. A fan with long arms could reach out and grab Somerville’s hoodie if one were so inclined. No one is going to, though, because there isn’t a soul watching Somerville play.

And that’s weird.

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If you are unfamiliar with Somerville and his Run It Up legion, it’s your own fault. By this point, anyone who cares about serious poker has at least heard of him. Millions of others have actively spent their free time watching Somerville play. His Run It Up Twitch channel is one of the most popular in the world. He’s a self-made man, a star, and a guy who literally has his own merchandising booth in the hallway of the WSOP.

The joy in watching Somerville play on his Twitch channel springs from his enthusiasm. His frenetic rat-tat-tat commentary is often spoken in a language only his true fans understand. They speak in code, modern hieroglyphics, and hyperbole. His average day is a reality show starring him and only him. One could easily believe that’s how Somerville acts all the time.

Turns out, that’s not true.

Over the past couple days of play, we’ve watched Somerville quietly grind at his table with often no words at all. A little while ago, he pulled his white hoodie up over his head and turned himself into an anonymous Jedi. If a fan could spot him in the crowd, it could be very confusing.

At first, the cognitive dissonance could be upsetting. Is it possible that this is the real Jason Somerville and that the one on Twitch is just an act? Is it possible that what we see on the screen isn’t real?

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As it happens, there are two Jason Somerville’s, and they are both real. This Somerville we see here is actually one who is on a break from the other one.

“I took six weeks off from streaming,” he said.

That break has largely been spent here at the WSOP where he’s seated on the Day 2 rail. “Hopefully for a while,” he said.

The WSOP grind is tough on anyone, and one would think Somerville should take a break after finishing up here. Turns out, he is taking one, but not a big one.

“Four days,” he said.

Why? He has to get back to the stream. He has a legion that’s waiting to see him play, and they can watch a lot better on their computer screen than they can from behind the stanchions at the WSOP.

For now, though, he’s hoping he has to put off that four-day break as long as possible. This part of the Main Event runs for another week, and both Jason Somerville’s want to be here for all of it.

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is the PokerStars Head of Blogging. Follow him on Twitter: @BradWillis. WSOP photos by


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