Monday, November 10, 2014

Streaming poker with/without using delay - The options.

    Ever wondered how to approach Live streaming poker without others taking advantage of it? Stream sniping or 'ghosting' is something you might be worried about. Totally understandable, because you do not want others to watch your stream and see your cards and take advantage of it.

    Well, there are basically three options:
  • Cover up! With the streaming software you use, you basically screen-capture a picture or something to cover your hole cards. Simple as that. You can still see them, but on the outputting stream they are covered.
    • Pro: No delay at all, direct interaction with your audience
    • Con: Might not be interesting to watch, since viewers see nothing and have to guess. You could still explain of course with re-plays of your hands, removing the 'cover' or possibly use an other scene or screen-capture.
  • Full delay! Most streaming software like OBS or XSplit has the possibility to add delay to the full stream output. Audio delay adjustment is also possible. However, it is most likely that you can not add delay to the captured video sources alone, keeping the audio sort of 'real time' for viewer interaction as well as the 'face cam' if used in that case.
    • Pro: You have full delay enough to prevent stream sniping (2-4 mins. usually). This is mostly done and is actually interesting to watch and learn from.
    • Con: Interaction with the viewers using mic (and cam) is delayed as well, making it hard. The text chat next to the video on most streaming sites should still be without any significant delay. So typing for more direct interaction can then be an option.
  • Separated delay! With VLC (love it), possibly other software or even hardware like some capture cards, you are capable of delaying the video source(s) while adding no delay to other sources like mic or cam. This way the game you play can be delayed for stream, while the audio/cam is still more or less 'live'. With VLC you basically choose your Video source (or even Audio source if you wish), set the framerate (usually 30 or 60 fps) and set the delay in milliseconds. You then play that source within VLC and capture that VLC source from within your streaming software :-)
    • Pro: Now your game is delayed, preventing stream sniping, while still being able to have full live interaction with your audience using your mic/cam.
    • Con: Takes getting used to, since you now have the delay yourself when commentating the game you play. Actions you do in-game take time to show for your audience, before you can actually commentate 'live' on it. Many streamers however have a separate computer/device to monitor the stream, making this a bit easier.
Hope this is useful for some of you out there, have fun!

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