NICK WALSH has shared his top tips for banishing the anxiety of playing poker in person compared to the online scene.  

The PokerStars ambassador, professional and commentator is the friendly face that hosts streaming events on the company’s very successful Twitch channel.

In a hugely exciting year for the PokerStars community which includes incredible locations as part of the European Poker Tour, Nick Nick reckons poker has had a surge in popularity in recent years but that the game isn’t even close to have scratched the surface yet.

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His aim of creating ‘diverse’ content has served the site well by removing the barriers associated with the game – and has seeing their channel amass over 300,000 subscribers.

After time away for personal reasons, Nick is now aiming to take the content on further and hopes his educational approach will entice more into the game.

And he’s convinced the appetite for the game – evident through increased viewer numbers – is growing and he’s eager to capitalise on that.

Speaking at the recent EPT event in Paris, he said: “I don’t want to say I’m in charge of the PokerStars channel – as there’s people in more managerial roles than I am!

“But it’s probably true to say I’m the face of the PokerStars Twitch.

“I aim to create content that is more diverse on the central channel. I do a lot of Spin & Go’s which I always specialised in but I always wanted to do three game types per week.

“And moving forward this year I would like to try and continue that and play alternative formats at least one a week.

“As soon as I returned, I want to say it was an average-ish stream and getting relatively normal kind of numbers that I would expect to see on my own channel when doing independently.

“Since then, the appetite is growing and we’re hitting consistently 500-1000 concurrent viewers, which for the poker category is significant.

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“To this day, I still don’t understand how it’s just not more popular on Twitch.

“We have categories just smashing out 30,000 views on a Wednesday and you’re like ‘that’s so random, I just don’t get this at all.’

“I think my style of streaming is very informative and educational. Even if I’m wrong, at least I’m explaining what I’m doing and why.

“I think that’s what people appreciate. I don’t use the channel to flex and play huge stakes. I just want to create content that most people will appreciate, at stakes that most people play.


“The feedback I get is ‘I’ve learned so much from this stream that I didn’t know’ which is a format I’ll continue moving forward.”

With his streamed content coming online, Nick recognises the pressures of playing in a live scene compared to on a screen.

Thankfully, he’s experienced in both and admits anxiety still takes over him in a tournament setting.

So he has some good tips and advice for those who are yet to take themselves out of the comfort zone of online to experience the game in person.

He added: “For anyone going to play their first tournament, just go and play a cash game the day before. Go and dip your toes in the water!

“Jump in and remove that anxiety as the game is so anxiety-ridden, even for us!

“Even now, if I haven’t played for a while and I’m sat in a big hand I’ll still find myself shaking – even as a professional.

“You just need exposure therapy and go out and get involved in the game.

“But most importantly, you just need to remind yourself the live scene is so SOFT!

“You can sit down, playing against these huge guys that are very intimidating. Just remember they’re likely very bad at poker!

“There’s players who are worried they give off too much signal or facial expressions but are playing guys who sometimes forget what hand they’ve even got!

“The transition from online to live is really about reminding yourself of your fundamentals.

“Remind yourself that you can still play the game with no face value whatsoever and play the game without tells, body language etc – so just go back to that.

“When you know your hand and your chip stack and the person you’re playing’s stack, just put yourself in that mindset of online. Playing it as if it was just theory-based.

“And definitely don’t worry about the guy across from you who doesn’t know how to play the game!”

Despite that, he continues to feel the added pressure of being the face of the PokerStars brand and the expectation that comes with it.

His pride outweighs the pressure, but admits he’s now only starting to feel comfortable in the role and have the feeling of being able to be himself.

He continued: “Wearing the PokerStars badge and playing is actually even more anxiety-ridden!

“I have really bad imposter syndrome, so there’s automatically an expectation of me to be a certain way or not make any mistakes.

“I feel like this EPT in Paris is probably the first one signed I’ve been signed where I’ve actually felt comfortable.

“Of course, I’ve always worn the badge with pride but this is the first I’ve felt like I was making good decisions but I was always not afraid to be myself.

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“One of my favourite places to play is actually in Ireland as we all go together to have drinks and enjoy ourselves without any judgement. Win or lose, we have a good time and Paris has reminded me of that.”

With a considerable uptake of those watching live poker online and through PokerStars’ social channels, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Nick views his job as being done.

Instead, he believes he’s only just getting started and is keen to create unique PokerStars content to continue their own growth.

He said: “Honestly, I don’t think we’ve even scratched the surface yet.

“It’s something I want to do a lot more because when I was given this role with the central content, they obviously wanted more content to go here.

“But I just dived straight in and when I was here initially, in the boardroom at HQ I filled the place with ideas I wanted to do. Literally stacks of plans I had.

“I think I’m trying to find a format that hasn’t been done before and that people can talk about and it’ll become the most popular Twitch content for poker.

“It seems there’s a commonality that it needs to be high stakes, fun and engaging. I’m trying to find the balance between all of them where I create things that are unique and not conventional streaming.

“At the minute, we stream Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday so we’re looking at possibly doing more on the Friday that will be a variation like ‘Streamer Showdowns’ which are wildly popular and are successful but they’re not big enough currently as I don’t think we’re pushing it hard enough on social media.

“But there’s other formats I want to try. Some of the streams are just me sat myself which is nice as it costs nothing to run – and they’re the most popular.

“Then some with guests on which are great for me but don’t, at the minute, hit the same with viewers currently.

“As long as we’re making things people want to watch then I’m happy to continue doing so while searching for that golden format.”

With the roaring success of EPT Paris in February, the rest

They’re in Monte Carlo from shortly before the ever-popular EPT Barcelona in August 21, with Cypurs and Prague to come.

So it’s an exciting time to be part of the PokerStars community and Nick has his eye on one event in particular.

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He concluded: “I think everyone knows the EPT schedule now but in particular Cyprus sounds like it’s going to be unbelievable.

“I know people that have been before and they say it’s just so unbelievably special.

“The weather will be great and it’s a great time to be there, but they also have the capacity to break records for sure which is incredibly exciting.”

So if you get the chance to check in at one of their incredible tournaments coming up this year – listed below – you won't be disappointed.

  • EPT Monte Carlo (April 26-May 6, 2023)
  • EPT Barcelona (August 21-September 3, 2023)
  • EPT Cyprus (October 11-22, 2023)
  • EPT Prague (December 6-17, 2023)

Remember to gamble responsibly

A responsible gambler is someone who:

  • Establishes time and monetary limits before playing
  • Only gambles with money they can afford to lose
  • Never chase their losses
  • Doesn’t gamble if they’re upset, angry or depressed
  • GamCare –
  • Gamble Aware –

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