Kevin Martin is a Canadian professional poker player, Big Brother Canada champion, and prominent Twitch live-streaming personality.
The 25-year-old former radio DJ from Calgary, Alberta, has been playing his way up the online poker ranks. He now does so full-time thanks to tens of thousands of subscribers on Twitch, Twitter, and YouTube.
While Martin occasionally participates in live games and tournaments, online poker appears to be his specialty. Martin formerly played online under “GarlicXToast.” Today, he is known as “KevinM987.”
Kevin Martin is also a self-proclaimed reality television fan, who has a “weird obsession” with shows like Big Brother and Survivor. In fact, he was on Big Brother Canada twice, and won the second time.
Big Brother Canada Season 5 winner
One of Kevin Martin’s largest scores came without playing a single hand of poker when he won Season 5 of Big Brother Canada. His prize package included $100,000, a 2017 Toyota 86 sports car, and a $30,000 makeover from The Brick.
This was Martin’s second time in the Big Brother house, having already appeared in Season 3. While off to a strong start, the series’ first ever triple eviction led to his departure. Martin holds the dubious distinction of being the first player in the program’s history to be evicted without ever having eviction votes against him. Perhaps it was because he kept his poker background a secret, but when Martin made it to Season 5 everyone knew that he was a professional player..
Martin’s knowledge of game theory—along with his poker instinct—helped him develop a winning strategy which involved studying previous seasons and observing his fellow contestants. When it came down to the final two players, Martin received all nine votes for the unanimous victory.
You can watch Martin’s winning Big Brother Canada Season 5 moment here.
In Season 3, Kevin Martin and house mate Pilar Nemer enjoyed a showmance that translated to dating after the show’s completion. Then, in Season 5, Martin and fellow housemate William Laprise Desbiens became quite close. In fact, this bromance led to the famous Kevin and William kiss that won a Big Brother Canada award. Of his relationship with Desbiens, Martin said, “It was fun, it was flirty, it was pretty light-hearted. I don’t know. I think it’s gonna stay here.”
Twitch live streaming
Anyone can watch Martin stream live online games under his moniker KevinMartin987. Martin says that Twitch streamers “are the new form of poker celebrities,” and he is excited to be smack dab in the middle of the hoopla. Primarily a low-stakes multi-table tournament (MTT) player, Martin provides tips and advice while interacting with new and recreational players, all the while honing his own skills.
Martin credits Twitch’s accessibility and authenticity as the reasons why live poker streaming has become so popular. Attracting new players, helping them to improve, and simply being entertaining are all reasons for his growing popularity on the site.
And Martin knows what he’s talking about.
Two years ago, he began live streaming small stakes online poker tournaments. Today, he is one of the largest personalities in the industry. Indeed, in 2017, the American Poker Awards nominated Martin in the category of ‘Twitch Streamer of the Year’. (The award ultimately went to Jason “jcarverpoker” Somerville.)
Because Martin currently shares a house with fellow pros Jaime “PokerStaples” Staples and Staples’ younger brother, Matt “PokerStaplesPA” Staples, there is much crossover between their streams. This crossover just adds to the entertainment and educational value of each stream.
Kevin Martin PokerStars signing
Thanks to his impressive Twitch following, in 2016, Team PokerStars signed Martin. He plans to use his fame to demonstrate to novice players how exciting and fun online poker can be. Martin also holds the distinction of being the first player to join the Poker Stars Team Online roster without having first achieved its “Supernova” VIP status.
It is an understatement to refer to Martin as interesting, but interesting is definitely the first word that comes to mind. See for yourself: you can follow him on Twitter, Instagram, and on his Kevin Martin poker YouTube channel.
Until next time.
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Natalie Faulk is a Las Vegas-based freelance writer/blogger and the author of several books. She is an avid low-stakes (for now) poker player and huge Vegas Golden Knights fan.