What You Need to Start Streaming Online Poker or Slots to Viewers

A young streamer waves to his audience through his webcam.

Whether you’re interested in streaming online casino slots and online poker (including live dealer poker) games for fun, or online streaming as a profession, you’ll need certain hardware and software before you can begin. Join us as we take you through the key items you’ll need to start streaming video online.

Put together the right streaming computer setup

The first item on our list is, of course, a decent computer designed with video streaming in mind. This may get a bit technical, but rest assured, there are many resources you can find to help you better understand what each of these components does. Also, please note that you could build a comparable PC using your preferred brands while we’ve looked for the most cost-effective and trustworthy parts that we could find at the time of writing. But for now, here is our list of components that you can use to build a streaming-ready PC:

CPU

AMD Ryzen 5 3600 – Yes, AMD recently released its 5000 series Ryzen GPUs, and if you’ve got the cash to spare, then by all means, consider picking up a Ryzen 5 5600X. But if all you want is a central processor that does the job, then a 3600 will meet your needs. It’s a six-core, 12-thread processor that will run most of the latest gaming experiences really well while having enough horsepower to handle any “work-related” tasks (such as streaming).

Motherboard

MSI MAG B550 Tomahawk Gaming Motherboard – The B550 series of motherboards don’t carry all the latest features, but offer some nice perks (such as faster PCIe 4.0 support), without breaking the bank. The good news is this motherboard will also support the new Ryzen 5000 series processors, if you decide to get one.

RAM

16-32GB Patriot Viper Steel 3200Mhz DDR4 – While you can get by with 16GB of RAM, if you’re someone who wants to do any other video work, such as editing your video clips for YouTube, we’d recommend going for at least 32GB. And these days, as long as you stick to a recognizable brand, you’re likely to get reasonable-quality RAM that performs as expected and doesn’t die a few days after its warranty expires. Finally, it’s worth noting that while there are faster RAM sticks available, the performance increase is often not worth the price. The sweet spot tends to be 3200Mhz.

Graphics card

Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 4GB or Radeon AMD RX 570 8GB – If you’re interested in streaming more than casino games, then you’d probably need to shop around for something a bit faster than our recommended graphics cards from Nvidia or AMD. But if you are only interested in casino games, maybe with some light casual gaming on the side, either of these two cards will do the job.

SSD

WD Black SN750 1TB – M.2 is the new form-factor standard for SSD, and this storage device connects directly to your motherboard. When purchasing fast storage, it should be your first choice, unless you absolutely cannot afford the slight price increase over older SATA SSDs.

Hard drive

Seagate BarraCuda 3TB – While an NVME SSD will meet your storage needs when it comes to speed, if you’re interested in large volumes of space where you can store all your video files, our recommended drive will have you covered.

Case

Whichever ATX case suits your budget and style – ATX is the standard-size case that will fit any motherboard that is rated ATX or below, which is the majority of motherboards. Also, when it comes to the case style, this can be very subjective, so we’ll leave this open for you to decide. If you’re someone who likes all the fancy RGB lights and perspex windows, then you just need to find a case that will fit an ATX motherboard. If you plan to tuck your PC under your table and forget it exists, then a simple black case would work perfectly well too.

PSU

Corsair TX650M – This is a high-quality power supply that will meet all the computer needs without breaking the bank.

Monitors

Minimum of two 24-inch, 60Hz screens – If you’re going to start streaming, you will need two monitors, each one dedicated to its own unique purpose. The first screen will be the monitor you actually play your games on. The second will be necessary for your digital streaming tools, which we’ll get into later. Also, while we do say 60Hz is the minimum, we honestly recommend looking for 72Hz or higher, as this will reduce the amount of eyestrain you’ll get if you spend hours streaming in front of your computer.

Webcam

Logitech C920 or Razer Kiyo – There was once a time that you could get away without a webcam, and some streamers do manage to grow an audience without showing their face. However, the majority of people use a webcam as it really helps audiences connect with you.

Microphone

Cooler Master MH650 Gaming Headset – While any headset with a microphone will do, you definitely want good-quality sound, and more importantly, a good-quality microphone. Many headsets fulfill this criterion, but we decided to recommend a middle-of-the-road headset that has a great microphone, as well as some bling (RGB lighting) if that’s your thing.

Keyboard and mouse

Again, personal preference applies here. While some streamers like to go all out and purchase some stylish-looking peripherals, others don’t mind keeping it simple. Take a look online or at your local computer store to see what’s on offer.

A gaming PC setup that could be used for streaming.

It’s important to note that computer hardware prices for many items (such as graphics cards) are higher than normal due to global shortages at the time of writing. This is why we have chosen not to publish any pricing on any of these items. 

How fast must my internet be to stream good-quality video?

Most people stream at a resolution of 1080p these days, but if you’re just starting out, it’s better to run a smooth and stable 720p stream than one that’s higher-resolution but looks like a PowerPoint slide show. 
The bare minimum upload speed (which is separate from your download speed) to stream at 30fps (frames per second) at 720p is 3.5Mbps or higher, depending on the video bitrate (how much video data you want to stream in a given time frame) that you set the stream at. The lowest video bit rate we’d recommend is 1,500Kbps, which may look like a blocky mess if there’s a lot of activity on-screen. We recommend a higher bit rate at 720p if your connection can handle it.

What software do I need to be able to stream?

While there are tools you can buy, most people use a free tool called Open Broadcaster Software, or OBS. Its app is called OBS Studio: it will not only allow you to stream whatever it is you’re playing on your computer but also configure or manage other elements of your stream, such as the layout, transitions, and even your stream chat!

Just a word of advice regarding this part of the process: you are likely to encounter some hiccups when setting up this part of your stream, but don’t worry. There are thousands of free resources available online and chat rooms and forums where you can get help.

Extras to take your streaming setup from ‘reasonable’ to ‘excellent’

A man speaks into a dedicated desktop microphone with a pop filter.

If you’re planning to go all-in on your streaming setup, these extras can take you from average to professional:

  • A portable green screen – While some graphics cards and apps can blur out your background or replace it entirely, these solutions don’t often look very good. A green screen can help you spice up your stream by changing your background to whatever you want. There are dozens of solutions on the market, and if you’ve got the time and energy, you can even make your own.
  • A set of studio lights – If you want to be looking your best, you’re going to need a decent set of lights. These can vary in quality, size, and price, which is why we haven’t recommended any here. Be sure to shop around and see what works for you.
  • A dedicated microphone – While you can undoubtedly get some great mics on a gaming headset, a stand-alone solution will often give you better quality. If you’re starting , we recommend the HyperX SoloCast. Just don’t forget to purchase a microphone pop filter to dull down the “puh” sound that the microphone picks up when you say certain words with the letter “p” in them.

Could I use this setup to stream live dealer poker to people?

While we’d love to say that this is enough to get you on the road to live dealer poker stardom, the reality is that a lot of time, resources, and energy go into setting up a good live dealer game. 

At a bare minimum, you’ll need space for a poker table, a poker table itself, a good set of lights, and a boom mic. And that’s even before you get into the production design of the set and the clothes that you’ll be wearing on stream. Sure, you could go low-budget and just wing it, but major companies are investing big money into live dealer platforms, so an amateurish setup is unlikely to bring you any viewers. 

Then there’s also all the back-end software that you’ll need to allow players to place bets, place financial transactions, not to mention licensing and many other requirements. 
If you’re interested in streaming games you play to others, be it online slot machines, poker, or other casino games, then the elements we’ve described earlier in this piece will be more than enough. If you’re interested in starting your own live dealer poker setup, you’re going to need a lot more to get off the ground.

Get ready for fun with Borgata Online

Whether you’re looking to play slots or (regular or live dealer) poker online at home alone, with friends, or streaming to hundreds of people around the world, you can have a great time playing casino games at Borgata Online.

At our online casino, you can play the best online slots, but there’s much more for you to enjoy too. From table and live dealer to variety and virtual sports games, we offer a huge variety of online casino games to suit all tastes and playing styles! 

To join in the fun, register with Borgata Online.