I’ve been trying to get hold of Twitch streamer Tommi Heimonen, better known online as Gargamies, for half an hour before I manage to get through. “We rented a villa - yeah, this is a very nice place, in Malaga, in Spain. We are so high here, so there was no signal,” he explains. In the background is an extremely inviting swimming pool, with spectacular views over the Andalusian countryside. Honestly, I wouldn’t be too worried about the poor reception if I were there either.
My first question, once I’ve vicariously taken in the glorious views: how does someone get into streaming online slots? “Well, basically, it’s a long and wicked story,” he laughs. “I used to play poker, like, 10 years ago when it came, but not anymore.
Long story short - I used to do casino streaming with a celebrity in Finland on Fox channels, and it stopped after three seasons or something like that. And he asked me, what should I do after that, and I told him I saw some videos on Facebook where people are playing slots and they’re promoting casinos to get some income from them. So we started to do that, and we did for about a year, and after that he moved to Tallinn and I was living in Finland, so I decided to go solo. I’ve done it now for almost three years. I play on different online casinos - slots. So I press stuff, and there’s stuff spinning.” Everyone loves brightly coloured spinning stuff. I know I do.
Among other achievements, Tommi is a world record holder in one of his favourite games, but he confesses he’s scaled back his streaming operation recently. “I haven’t been so active lately as I’ve started to manage a couple of streamers as well,” he says. “And I have a real profession - I’m a consultant in marketing and stuff, but I do casino stream.”
The pandemic has affected Tommi’s life less than most - online gaming of course never stopped at all, and in fact has been booming over the past year or so. “There’s a lot of different casinos - like, 10 new casinos coming every month, so I think that’s the biggest change,” he muses. “Although the games I’m playing, the video slots, I think that the jackpots, the maximum wins, those have gone really high. Because you can win, like, 100,000 times your bet.”
So what is Tommi doing with The Festival Series, I ask? ““I don’t know really! I’m giving away packages to The Festival to my viewers, so I’m posting them. That’s all I know!” he laughs, before filling me in on the details: “So I have a sponsored casino called Supernopea It’s a Finnish-language casino, and it’s really easy to participate. I’m giving out three packages from €1000 to €1500, and the only thing you need to do is to put minimum €10 in the casino and you’ll get one ticket to the raffle - so you deposit €40, and you will get four tickets automatically. So the players don’t need to do anything special.”
The Festival in Tallinn features blackjack and roulette events alongside the poker schedule, but there are grand plans to expand this to more games for future events - and there’s been some talk of adding a slots event at some point. My own experience of slots tournaments only extends as far as gawping at the chaos when I’ve wandered across one in Vegas - perhaps surprisingly, Tommi doesn’t have a great deal more experience in this area than I do. “I haven’t played, but I’ve arranged slots tournaments on my stream, where the viewers take part. So there are two viewers playing at the same time, and whoever gets bigger wins with 100 spins goes to the next level. So that was really nice - much fun.”
Tommi is keen to come to The Festival in Tallinn, if at all possible. “Yeah, I think so,” he says, “At least for a few days. Only thing is that I’m turning 40 on the 8th of June, and I’m throwing a big party here in Spain!” It’s a hard life, isn’t it? He may even play a bit of poker while he’s there. “Yeah, for sure!” he enthuses. “When I play poker though, it’s more like entertainment for me. Because I know that I cannot read those pros, I don’t have the skills to focus on that and my mathematical skills are not so good, so I think I’m the meat in there.” This kind of honesty coming from a poker player is very refreshing. Unless he’s bluffing, of course. “I could do some damage,” he continues, “But I don’t know about the winning. If I make the money, I’ll be amazed.” I’m very much looking forward to being amazed come June.
See & read more about Tommi and his promotion together with Supernopea on his twitch channel or his webpage!