YouTube Starts Sudden Purge of Online Poker Streaming Videos

A few of the online poker world’s top live streamers woke up to their own personal “Black Friday” recently.

Well, it was Saturday in the United Kingdom, where former PokerStars Team Pro and current PartyPoker live streaming star Jamie Staples suddenly saw his popular YouTube channel decimated by forced deletions.

In a tweet sent out on June 1st, Staples – who took home “Streamer of the Year” honors at the 2017 GPI American Poker Awards – expressed alarm at the unexpected absence of six online poker stream videos:

“6 videos taken down from YouTube in the last 20 minutes.

Is this the end of online poker on YouTube? Four more since I started this tweet.

At a total loss. Built this channel for 4 years.”

Within an hour, Staples was openly mourning the annihilation of massive amounts of content on his 23,000+ subscriber channel :

“Poker YouTube ‘Pocalypse update. 134 videos gone. 24 vlog channel, 110 poker channel.”

By day’s end, fellow live streaming poker pros like instructor Evan Jarvis of Gripsed Poker, along with vloggers Andrew Neeme and Derek Gomez, had posted similar messages about the purge to social media.

Staples Seeks and Receives Clarification from Company

After asking YouTube for an explanation, Staples reported that the Google-owned behemoth informed him the offending videos violated the site’s “sale of regulated goods policy.”

It took three days for Staples and his fellow streamers to receive a more detailed response. In a tweet dated June 4th, the fan favorite known as “JStaples” on YouTube, Twitch, and other streaming platforms let his followers in on the latest developments:

“I just got a response from YouTube re #pokerpocalypse situation:

The videos taken down were in regards to linking to gaming sites. This is in line with their terms of service, but they should not have removed all of them, and given us time to remove the links.

So my videos will be reinstated and their team is working on speaking with the YouTube poker community affected so that they have time to fix the offending content.”

Staples’ live streams feature him competing in real money tournaments and cash games via online poker sites like Bovada. That, in and of itself, doesn’t violate YouTube’s terms of service, but as he explained, including links that direct viewers to a gambling platform certainly does.

According to Staples, while YouTube isn’t instituting a ban on poker related content per se, the site objects to any external linking to online gambling operators:

“I also asked about YouTube in general when it comes to poker.

It doesn’t appear as if YouTube has an issue with poker content at this point but that could always change in the future.

It is recommended that all content creators avoid putting links to gaming sites in their descriptions.”

Neeme echoed those sentiments in an interview with PokerNews, telling the industry outlet that content creators should’ve been offered an opportunity to edit their videos and ensure compliance:

“I wish they’d let you edit a video that has been removed so that you can take out a section that might be troublesome, but unfortunately you can’t.

They let you look at its dying carcass for seven days while you think about what you did wrong, before they take it down completely.”

Streamers Come Together to Defend Community

In the aforementioned PokerNews article, Staples used the platform offer his fellow streamers a call to arms:

“Our game is legitimate, and our community deserves to be on YouTube.

I’ve been trying to leverage my other communities on Twitch and Twitter. A bunch of people are reaching out, there’s a lot of people trying.

We are a big community and we can be heard for sure.”

Staples also said that, while he understands YouTube’s hesitance to facilitate forms online gambling like slots and table games, poker’s status as a skill-game should provide streamers like himself with an out.