Kevin Martin's livestream poker challenge was never about an easy win.

The goal was to reach $5,000 or 500 hours of streaming, whichever came first for GGPoker's ambassador. In the end, he didn't reach the money, but the timer ran out. Kevin pawned some possessions, showered on camera, mercilessly beat his own chair into the sidewalk, and only managed an average of $3 per hour profit for the challenge.

A highly complex plan was devised

Still, most viewers saluted the effort and applauded the unique challenge. It wasn't the first bankroll challenge, or the last, but being live 24/7 was what set the Poker From Zero challenge apart.

"That 500 hour stream was so trippy for the brain. I’m chilling + restoring the soul and getting ready to build the next thing."

Here's a recap from Day 1 to Day 21:

Every Day of Poker From Zero

On Day 1, how did Kevin Martin get the first dollars to start playing online poker?

Well, the ex-Big Brother star had a few ways to generate a couple bucks for buy ins. "I could sell my time, my things, or I could sell my body," Kevin joked. Luckily, we never saw the creation of a KMart OnlyFans, but he quickly pawned a drone, headphones, and a speaker for a $200. Also, throughout the challenge, every new subscriber would add $0.10.

On Day 2, he started with some grueling labor at Pingle's Farm, first making baked goods and lugging hay bales later on. He pocketed $160 for his efforts and social media engagement. On Twitch, a viewer said, "This is a rich man playing a game of poor life simulator".

After selling some stuff and getting his hands dirty for small bankroll, the focus was on poker.

According to his own records, here's the bankroll Kevin Martin had for each day of the challenge:

Day 1 – $0
Day 2 – $175
Day 3 – $212
Day 4 – $255
Day 5 – $273
Day 6 – $605
Day 7 – $691
Day 8 – $812
Day 9 – $833
Day 10 – $736
Day 11 – $787
Day 12 – $983
Day 13 – $983
Day 14 – $836
Day 15 – $969
Day 16 – $761
Day 17 – $711
Day 18 – $1267
Day 19 – $795
Day 20 – $1158

Final Bankroll on Day 21 – $857.96

MTTs on the left, cash games on the right

On the final day of the challenge, KMart was clearly worn out and lacking the fire he had during the first week. "I just don't think my brain is in a state to play cards," he admitted, lying on the couch like a man who'd been through hell and back.

Building a bankroll from $0 isn't easy, even for pro poker streamers with a couple hundred dollars to start with.

The final amount was rounded up to $1,000 and Kevin announced he'd be giving that away to a viewer, plus an extra $200 to another.

(Fun fact: There's a streamer on Twitch who's been live for over 2 years and is still going.)

The best promotions now
Weekly 1,600 Cash Player Race
100% first deposit bonus up to $1,000
150% bonus on the first deposit up to $2,000

The Poker from Zero Fails – But It Was a Win-Win

Sure, streaming online poker may not compare to working on an oil rig, operating a forklift, or stocking grocery store shelves, but that's not the point.

This was a win-win for poker. The 500-hour stream wasn't just a fantastic promotion for his personal brand and GGPoker; it also shed unfiltered light on low-stakes poker. Many of us, perhaps yourself included, have attempted the same journey from the micros. We make a deposit to one of the many online poker sites littering the internet, try to get as many bonuses as possible, attempt to manage our bankroll, and seek higher stakes.

Seeing someone of KMart's skill having a tough time just goes to show how important your environment, time constraints, and variance are (he ran thousands of BB under EV).

And yes, Kevin Martin failed the financial aspect of the challenge, but what could be more realistic? Most players do. Unless you're Tom Dwan, Isildur1, or Linus Loeliger, it takes a few shots to pierce through. If we can't, it's back to studying with poker tools, slowly improving so we may break through to higher limits one day.

Kevin Martin took his loss on the chin and humbly told the world that "We just take the L".

"Poker, very often, is this beautiful game of skill, but there are a lot of things that can go your way. Many good players have busted and I'd recommend playing the game on the side passionately – just always take care of your money."

It would be great to see more poker players putting themselves out there like this, whether they have big or small followings. Kevin Martin set himself up to either succeed or fail, for all of you to watch. Even with the added social media boost he got, that's not easy.

It sure wasn't easy for Kevin's chair.

What Did Viewers Think of KMart's Poker From Zero Finale?

Despite enduring a Big Brother-like setup for about three weeks and putting his personal life on pause, the end of Poker From Zero got a mixed reaction.

"There was a lot of love, there was a lot of hate as well," Kevin said in his wrap-up video. One of the main issues was that some felt Kevin hadn't specified the rules clearly and gave the impression it was $5k or bust, with no time limitations.

Some viewers were inspired, while others felt teased by the promise of a never-ending road to $5,000.

Some viewers liked the raw perspective, while others felt it wasn't truly "From Zero" since Kevin sold electronics and hustled to get his starting bankroll.

Some viewers applauded the effort, but others felt it wasn't enough.

Whatever you felt about the challenge, this is what the poker world needs. We need challenges that create discussion, debates, and inspiration. You're sure to see more bankroll challenges in the future (perhaps not from KMart), with even weirder rules and setups.

Register using this link to get access to GipsyTeam bonuses:
  • Increased first deposit bonus
  • Increased rakeback and reloads
  • Help with deposits and cashouts
  • Access to private freerolls
  • Round-the-clock support