WSOP 2014: Cure found for Randy Lew Syndrome
As any teenager will tell you, separation from the internet, when you rely on it so much, can be a serious condition, treatable only by a massive dose of free Wi-Fi.
Symptoms can get pretty ugly; an involuntary twitch in the right hand, a dazed look of confusion owing to an inability to look up even simple things online. Abandoned to an analogue world those suffering this condition will become desperate very fast.
Fortunately Randy "nanonoko" Lew is smart enough to spot the symptoms when they set in and do something about it. Struck by this medical emergency while in Las Vegas, noticing first that his left-click finger was having convulsions, he immediately booked a flight over the border to Vancouver where he was rushed to an internet terminal. Thankfully he arrived in time.
Well that's almost true. Lew did fly home to Vancouver mid-series because he was missing online poker, but it wasn't exactly owing to an urge to click things.
"It's tough, honestly," said Lew about being restricted to live poker. "That's why I left. I left to go play online in Vancouver!
"When you play every day here in the World Series it's for long days and you're playing one tournament. I didn't do very well for the first half of the Series and I felt that, because I don't play live that much, I didn't feel as confident. So I found a slot of time in the World Series where it wasn't ideal tournaments for me to play, like random games or mixed games. I decided to go back to Vancouver and get back into playing a lot of hands and getting more comfortable - like good training!
So there was no twitching?
"Maybe when I first got to the series I was like that," he confessed. "As you play more I realised, it's a lot of money on the line! I stopped messing with my phone as much!"
Lew is known more for his online antics - the multi-tabling, the records he's set - than for his live play, even though he has an APPT title to his name from Macau in 2011, and just short of $1 million in live earnings. But does slogging away in a live environment bring the same kind of satisfaction?
"Usually when I'm playing live it's for a big buy-in tournament, so there's definitely a lot of excitement,." he said. "You might not play as many hands, but just seeing everyone at my table... when you lose a pot to someone it doesn't feel as great!
"So I really hone in on each player and think about what's he's doing. Because if I lose to them I have to face them as I walk away. So I think it makes me try extra hard because I can focus. And there's a lot of money on the line.
Contrary to what you might think, the money aspect still applies even to the best and richest of players.
"It's definitely a factor," said Lew. "The bracelet's very important to me too, but the money is an incentive, an incentive for me to play even harder. If we were all playing for play money here I might not play as well. Everything changes. But with the $10,000 Main Event right now, it's still life changing money for me to make the final table. I've never cashed this event. And I've played it at least 7 times, so I'm trying to break that record too!
Those chances took a beating earlier when Lew lost a big hand with pocket queens. "The door card was a queen," said Lew. "But the dealer was so fast; she was like "king!" So he had less than half a second to enjoy his advantage.
"But you know the structure's really deep," said Lew. "I still have 30 something thousand, and while it may not seem a lot relative to everyone else I'm still very comfortable. In a normal tournament I'd still be considered a big stack.
"So I'm going to play my game and I'm pretty confident. I'll grind it out a little bit and get my chips in with strong equity. I'm going to play the odds and I think they're in my favour."
If you're in Las Vegas and have been affected by any of the issues raised in this blog post, such as "right hand twitch" or "Randy Lew Syndrome", contact your airline ticket desk for immediate help.
Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter.