One PokerStars Live event down — many, many more to come in 2023. The PokerStars Players NL Hold’em Championship other PokerStars Caribbean Adventure are in the books, with the attention now turning to EPT Paris and beyond.
The year looks to be an action-packed one, not just for poker players and fans, but the diverse team that works behind the scenes to ensure events can be enjoyed by everyone.
A team that includes commentators such as Ambassador Nick Walsh who says he’s extremely excited about the live plans PokerStars has for the future.
The PokerStars Ambassador is the face of the PokerStars Twitch Channeland recently joined forces with commentary veterans James Hartigan other Joe Stapleton. Whether inside or outside of the commentary booth, Walsh is predicting a really good year on the live felt.
Looking ahead to Paris
“Particularly with Paris and Cyprus,” he told PokerNews. “The fact that there seems to be such an appetite for live poker, coming out of a prolonged time where we didn’t really have any live poker is so exciting.
“I’m not just the only person saying this! I’ve seen a lot of people in the industry, who I really respect, saying the same thing. It looks like things are heading in a really good direction and it just seems like live poker isn’t dead and it’s here to stay!”
Team PokerStars’ Nick Walsh Shares His 5 Tips for Tournament Package Winners
“But the French — they absolutely love poker. I’m still expecting a very, very large event”
The year kicked off with the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure and the PokerStars Players NL Hold’em Championship — two massive events that Walsh was a part of.
“They were absolutely ginormous! I hope that persists [for the rest of the year]. And now it’s time for Paris after only a couple of weeks. But the French — they absolutely love poker. I’m still expecting a very, very large event.
Head to the EPT Paris Live Reporting Hub
“Not just because of where live poker is right now, but I know it’s been a while since we’ve had a stop close enough for the French to attend that wasn’t Monte Carlo. It’s a much more affordable destination — compared to Monaco at least!
“The events in the Bahamas really set the right tone for 2023, and heading into Paris I hope it continues just like that. I think we’re gonna have a really good year.”
Learning From the Best
Last year saw Walsh make moves from being just a streamer to joining the PokerStars Live commentary team, alongside veteran commentators James Hartigan and Joe Stapleton. Walsh says that this where the majority of his focus will lie for the coming year.
“Last year there was the evolution, so this year the focus is to smash [the live events] out of the park”
“With my new contract, I ceased to be purely a streamer and I started to take on a more official role as a commentator and actually being an official member of the team with James and Joe.
“Last year there was the evolution, so this year the focus is to smash [the live events] out of the park, bring the energy every single time and find my confidence a little bit as well.
“Getting to learn from James and Joe has just been a complete honor. I really consider those guys my mentors because they both have a certain style and a certain flair for commentary that I’m sort of slowly picking up, while trying to find my own voice at the same time.”
The Team Behind the Stream
Away from the commentators, Walsh says that there is a huge team working towards making the production the best as possible, whether that’s the camera operators, producers, backroom staff, or even just the dealers and tournament officials.
He says that no matter the event, the entire team put in the effort and the hours to ensure that productions and live events run smoothly.
“When we have big events like the PSPC, in particular, we have the staff to actually do things that we just don’t at other smaller events. But in all honesty, none of our events are small! All of them take a huge effort.
“But having that additional feature table at the PSPC just meant double the action for our viewers! Additionally, we had the staff for outer-table action, the editing staff putting together highlight or key hand montages — there’s a huge team of people all working together.”
The Complete Guide to PokerStars Spin and Go Poker
Even at smaller events, Walsh says that the production quality is so good, viewers scarcely notice any differences.
“I’m just really proud of everyone on the staff”
“Behind the scenes, we know when we’re a smaller team, but the interesting thing is that the viewer doesn’t and I think that’s a testament to how powerful the production team is. There may notice little elements that are missing from event to event, but a Prague EPT looks very similar to a Monte Carlo EPT.
“I’m just really proud of everyone on the staff. They are the production team that powers this beautiful thing that we create, and we’re just the ones that voice it. I’m just so grateful to work with those guys. “
Seeking Creative Opportunities for 2023
In addition to commentary, Walsh is looking to 2023 to get creative and perhaps create new streaming formats that seek to take the focus away from poker and put them more on people.
“I’ve been thinking of some sort of cash game situation,” he explained. “Where you have six cards up, six cameras — something like that. And the whole point is it’s more about asking guests their opinions on things, and poker is secondary. PokerStars such a big company, sometimes people forget that there are real people that really care about the game behind the scenes.
“A lot of the stuff that I’m creating for my own brand tries to take technical terms and ideas and really trying to make them a little bit more accessible, I think that’s really important.”
Will Shillibier is based in the United Kingdom. He started working for PokerNews as a freelance live reporter in 2015 and joined the full-time staff in 2019. He graduated from the University of Kent in 2017 with a BA in German, and then studied for a NCTJ Diploma in Sports Journalism at Sportsbeat in Manchester.