"It really does feel like a team effort": Lex Veldhuis on his $55,000 Thrill ride
Let's start the weekend with a philosophical question.
If Lex Veldhuis wins a poker tournament, and nobody is around to see him do it, does he still make a noise?
That's trick question, obviously, because Lex Veldhuis is never without a crowd. Players and fans flock to see him play each week on Twitch. Even if he wanted to win in private, it's not an option, not least because this time around he'd predicted he'd win the whole thing.
So, when The Team Pro sat down for this latest streaming session in the PokerStars Thrill, he'd built up an audience of more than 9,000 viewers by the time he was heads up with Brazilian player "gusmaa", 15 hours later.
What those fans got to see was a start to finish demolition of the PokerStars Thrill, complete with a victory dance, a few excusable expletives, and Lex's sudden thought... "how much did I win?"
We did it! 15 hour stream, 9000 viewers and $55,000 for winning my favorite tournament, the $1050 @PokerStars Thrill. Insane Thanksgiving prediction LUL! Thanks everyone for the love and support. https://t.co/mWIrHlrfSs— LexVeldhuis (@RaSZi) November 24, 2017
Like most wins captured live, they never get boring, as you can see for yourself in the interview below.
Can you talk us through the experience?
"Winning a tournament is a crazy feeling," said Veldhuis, speaking to the Blog. "Winning a tournament on Twitch feels like becoming Olympic champion. There is so much support along the way and people really sweat it hard. Whenever there is a bad situation they support you after. Whenever there is a lot of tension people say they actually can't watch. Viewers even made their Tinder dates watch!
"That involvement makes everything so much more intense. It also keeps you honest. You fight over every spot you need to and you're not gonna be pushed around. I'm always held accountable, and I love it. I love the competition and the fierceness a big buy-in like this brings.
"I just switched to tournaments last year and now battling it out hand after hand with a monster like poker@luffyd is just awesome. I had a big score coming third in the $1k PLO WCOOP for 42k, on stream as well, but actually holding the trophy in the end definitely tops that. I literally did the best I could!
What makes the PokerStars Thrill your favourite tournament?
"The thrill is an amazing tournament. In my opinion the bounties really bring another level of strategy and excitement. People play hands differently because there is a short stack with a bounty somewhere, and you have to solve that puzzle.
"When I played on the big game I loved playing against Daniel Negreanu, because we talk a lot of poker and he uses that information so well when he plays me. Bounties provide that extra lair as well. I just moved to a new timezone and I finally can play the Thrill regularly. It's the biggest bounty builder online and everyone shows up to play it.
What does it mean to you to win on Twitch, and in front of so many people?
"It really feels like at that moment you're the people's champion. People who don't watch Twitch sometimes ask why I say on Twitter 'we did it!', but the moment you watch a stream where someone is winning something, and you feel the chat's presence, you'll know what I'm talking about. It really does feel like a team effort.
"I have an amazing community behind me filled with bright, supportive people. I cannot express how much I cherish that. It drives me every day. If it wasn't for them I probably wouldn't even have shown up yesterday, as I had a pretty annoying week. Imagine that!
So do pros dance around the room when they win, or do you take it all quite calmly?
"If you don't dance around the room when you win $55,000 you need to reconsider your approach to life I think. Even without the money aspect, being King of the Hill after 10 hours of playing against people who all give it their best, is worth a little victory dance.
What do you do to celebrate?
"I really like being with friends and people that I'm close with after something like this. So yesterday I cracked open a beer with my girlfriend and my roommates in Costa Rica. Shout-out to Matt, Cris and Jaime Staples, Kristin and Rebecca, and of course my girlfriend Myrthe who puts a smile on my face every day.
What's next for you, both in terms of poker and for your regular life?
"We're staying in Costa Rica until January when we go the PCA! After the PCA, Myrthe and I are going to live in Panama City for a few months.
"As far as poker is concerned it's all about streaming. This is the most fun I've ever had playing poker and I can't wait to turn my pc on every morning. I have fell in love with tournaments (I know) and I have a lot of room for improvement because I'm relatively pretty new to them still. So work on my game, share memories with people, and let's hope we have a similar talk after a COOP win down the road!
You too can dream big on PokerStars. It all starts with a PokerStars account. Simply click here to get started.
Stephen Bartley is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog. Follow him on Twitter: @StephenBartley. What did you think about this post? Let us know on Twitter: @PokerStarsBlog.