Exclusive Randy Lew interview: 'Connecting with my fans is more important than making money'

Since becoming a member of PokerStars Team Online, Randy 'Nanonoko' Lew has hit many milestones in the world of online poker. He passed the $1 million mark in cash game earnings, has made Supernova Elite on six separate occasions and even has a Guinness World Record to his name, when he played a total of 23,493 hands online in the space of 8 hours, and ended up in profit. After all that success it didn't appear that Lew had many more challenges to conquer - and then came Twitch.

Lew started streaming on Twitch one year ago and has already grown his channel to the point where his broadcasts have had over 500,000 total views with 20,000 poker fans following the channel. You can join them by clicking here.


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If you haven't been lucky enough to watch a Nanonoko Twitch stream yet then you should start with a special PokerSchoolOnline (PSO) show on Friday December 11th at 8pm GMT, where he will be coaching a lucky PSO member in tournament poker. You can watch the show by visiting the PokerSchoolOnline Twitch channel by clicking here.

Ahead of the exciting broadcast, the PokerStars Blog caught up with Randy Lew to hear more about his Twitch career and why his focus has changed from winning the most money to giving back to the fans...

PokerStars Blog: What made you start your channel on Twitch one year ago?

Randy Lew: I've always been interested in connecting with the fans [and] when Twitch was gaining some popularity I saw how much potential it had because you are able to interact with your fans on a much more consistent basis. You can actually talk to your fans directly with just a few minutes delay. I thought that was a really nice way to connect with fans and new people.

It's a next level kind of poker training too because you can get instant feedback. If you're watching and something doesn't make sense you can ask the player to tell you more, and I am able to do that right away. Twitch also allows you to socialise as well, and it doesn't always have to be about what is happening on the table.


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PokerStars Blog: Do the best streamers combine strategy and entertainment in their shows?

Randy Lew: I think that's the best, and it's the most comfortable for me too. If you're streaming for three or four hours you might run out of instructional things to talk about. It's nice and relaxing to sometimes spend a few minutes talking about video games or the weather or whatever, but I also know that most people who are watching me are there because they want to learn how to play poker. I have this drive in me that wants to teach them. So I will always have that balance of teaching people as well as chilling out.


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PokerStars Blog: How do you keep your focus when you are in the middle of a long streaming session?

Randy Lew: Interaction is a big thing. In the very beginning when I only had 20 or 50 people watching I didn't have many people talking in the chat box so [the streams] felt a bit long. But nowadays when I stream there are always questions or comments coming in so it keeps it quite entertaining for me. Time flies pretty quickly, especially when I am playing tournaments. Obviously you always want to do well in a tourney to try and get deep but if I am streaming I also want to give the people watching something exciting to watch. It keeps me going.

PokerStars Blog: You first got famous for mass multi-tabling cash games, but now you usually only play a couple of tables while you are streaming. How did you find the transition from mass multi-tabling?

Randy Lew: It was tough at first, as most things are when you try something new. When I am streaming on Twitch I have new goals, such as seeing my following grow and get bigger and bigger. There are some great streamers out there like Jason Somerville and Jaime Staples. I am just trying to build my following and become a big Twitch streamer like them.

PokerStars Blog: Do you worry that you'll give away any of your secrets by showing your hole cards?

Randy Lew: It's just something that I have come to terms with, but it's not that big of a deal for me personally. I have been very fortunate to have poker and I am so appreciative of all my fans out there what gives me happiness through poker now is all the fans and the new people I can connect with. Educating them gives me more happiness than just making money at the tables. I am happy to have Twitch as a platform I get to work with.

PokerStars Blog: You are doing a stream on the PokerSchoolOnline channel this week. Would you recommend PokerSchoolOnline as a training site for new poker players?

Randy Lew: It's a good place for beginners. There are a lot of poker resources out there but many are geared towards people who are super advanced. PSO is integrated with the PokerStars client, so if you're a basic player you can learn to play poker a lot easier [and then go on to play]. It also caters to intermediate players too. I make instructional videos for PSO and the way I explain my thought process in these videos can really cater to a lot of different levels of play.

PokerStars Blog: A lucky PSO player is going to receive free coaching from you on Friday. How important is coaching to a player's career?

Randy Lew: Getting coaching can really kick-start your game a lot, especially if you've never had it. If you try to learn a poker concept by yourself it's pretty hard. For example I might not know what to do with a 20 big blind stack in a tournament. But luckily I have friends who are very good at tournament poker - if you can talk to them they can teach me how to play, maybe in just one hour, instead of it taking several years if I tried to work it out myself. That's what coaching can do.


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Ross Jarvis
@PokerStars in PokerStars news