The Hand I’ll Never Forget: Around The World With Jaime Staples
It’s the hand that put you into the money. Or the two cards that propelled you to a nice cash. Everyone has “the hand” — that one that you remember no matter how many tournaments or cash games played. PokerNews takes a look at those hands that stick with players and relive the glory, or misery, depending on the results.
Jaime Staples, who hails from Lethbridge, Alberta, is one of the young players bringing poker to the Twitch generation and helping to grow the game among the gaming crowd. His popular stream attracts legions of viewers to take in his actions — betting, bluffing, and raking pots. Staples has skills at the tables as well as a vision to take his game beyond mere winning sessions at the table. He recently spoke with PokerNews about a memorable hand from early in his poker career.
2013 World Series of Poker Millionaire Maker
It was the first year that the Millionaire Maker was added to the WSOP schedule. The event offered a big opportunity — for only a $1,500 buy-in, one player would emerge from the field to win a million bucks. Like many, namely 6,342 other entrants, Staples was ready to give it his best shot in hopes to lock up a seven-figure score. With a massive field, it wouldn’t be easy.
“It was my first run in a real poker tournament,” he says. “It was an awesome feeling to get in the money, and also painful to lose.”
The hand in question came on Day 2 when all players were in the money. With only about 12 big blinds remaining, Staples looked down at ace-king. Now with his first-ever WSOP cash, the Millionaire Maker was down to only 500 remaining players. While the exact betting amounts aren’t available, Staples remembers that the player under the gun opened with a raise and the player to his left three-bet. Staples says both were very aggressive players.
“It was an awesome feeling to get in the money, and also painful to lose.”
An odd circumstance then followed. Another player was getting moved to Staples’ table during the hand, but was dealt two cards and jumped in the action. He was around 50 years old and talkative, Staples recalls, and then four-bet about a third of his stack — while still unracking his chips.
“I'm in the small blind with a decision to make,” he says. “If it was today I would fold. I decided to get it in. The early position guys folded and the older man turns over Q-J suited.”
The flop brought no help to Staples' opponent, but a jack on the turn ended the Twitch streamer’s run.
“I'm out — good game,” Staples says. “I am so surprised he had that hand!”
Looking back, Staples regrets his call even though he had the better of the two hands. He considers the general ideas and probabilities about such a play when analyzing his hands.
“I don't think I could reasonably expect an unknown to have a wide enough range to get it in profitably there especially with UTG and UTG+1 three-bets to worry about,” he says. “There should be A-A or K-K so often, I think long-term that it was a losing play.”
Staples says he still reflects on the hand monthly, usually when someone asks about his most memorable hand.
“Honestly I think it’s just poker,” he says. “I'm not bitter about it. It just sticks out to me.”
Life as a Poker Media Personality
Since that time, Staples has become a regular Twitch streamer and notched his first live tournament win in August at the PokerStars Championship Barcelona in the €550 Pot Limit Omaha. He topped a field of 253 players for a top prize of $26,798.
While his live tournament earnings are only about $78,000, Staples has hundreds of thousands of dollars in online winnings. That includes a win in the PokerStars Big 109 in 2015 for $19,400 — his biggest live win on Twitch. His biggest cash on the stream was finishing fifth in the Sunday Warm-Up that same year for $23,000.
“It’s a fun place to hang out as you play poker”
Staples uses his social media and his Twitch stream to highlight the life of an average professional poker player along with growing media efforts by players like Jason Somerville, Daniel Negreanu, and Doug Polk.
For the past year, Staples has been traveling the world playing in differing locations including Montreal, Vienna, Croatia, Wales, and is now playing from Costa Rica. He plays on PokerStars, and has been an online team member for two and a half years.
“It’s a fun place to hang out as you play poker,” he says of his Twitch site. “I primarily focus on tournament poker, but sometimes play some other games for fun on stream."
Right now, Staples is focused on mid-stakes tournaments and multi-table tournaments, but also plays bigger events in the $1,000-range during PokerStars’ major series. Along with the Twitch stream, Staples has built a burgeoning multimedia platform with daily highlights on his PokerStaples YouTube channel every day and even sells merchandise. He also has plans to release clips of interesting hands on Facebook and Instagram.
The media approach by Staples and other players is playing a part in poker’s renewed mini-boom — and he hopes his multifaceted approach keeps his growing viewers in the loop: “So no matter how interested in poker people are, there is always some poker content for them.”