We knew the recent MicroMillions series would provide some fantastic spin-up stories. What we didn’t expect was for one of the biggest scores of the series to be streamed live on Twitch.
Introducing Kevin van Veen, a 27-year-old who lives in Breda in The Netherlands. He took down the $4.40 phase event (#1), turning $4.40 into a massive $30,521 score.
During Day 2 of that tournament, he decided to fire up his very first Twitch stream. It proved to be a very good decision, both for himself and those on the rail, as van Veen–who plays under the PokerStars screen name “Care_Teddy”–rode that Twitch hype all the way to the win.
We sat down for a chat with van Veen, in which we discussed how the tournament went overall, why he decided to stream, and his advice for players in the micro stakes.
If you’re one such player, you’ll want to read this one.
PokerStars Blog: Congratulations Kevin! As you said yourself on stream, you beat over 100,000 people. Has that sunk in yet?
Kevin “Care_Teddy” van Veen: I do usually fancy the bigger fields, but this is some next-level stuff. To put it in perspective, I just bested a completely sold-out stadium of Barcelona FC, Camp Nou! That’s a LOT of people! It’s been a day now and it’s slowly sinking in, but it’ll be a while until I fully come to realise the magnitude of this field and score.
How did the event go for you overall? Was it quite smooth or were there ups and downs?
It took me about five tries in Phase 1’s to qualify with a 50 big blind stack, which was a nice starting point. I blew about 20 tries in the WCOOP Phase 1 a couple of months back, so I was glad to get it done early this time.
I pretty much picked up where I left off in Phase 2 Day 1, the start was pretty cruisy. Coming to the end of the day I was getting short, and struggled to get any value from my monster holdings. I closed Day 1 with about 1.8M in chips, equivalent to 12 bigs going into Day 2 (118th of 149 remaining).
Day 2 took off like a rocket. I won two big flips within 15 minutes and quickly ran it up to a 10M+ stack (at which point I decided to start streaming). I held on to that stack for a long time, up until we got down to the final 40 players, then I went down to nine bigs. At this point I won two crucial pots back to back, going all-in with AT cracking KK (9JA7J), and AJ off-suit holding vs QT off-suit (7AJT7). After this I ran pretty pure, holding where I needed to and getting most of my bluffs through.
On the final table there were plenty of key spots. When we went to five-handed play, the stacks were very even, with #1 and #5 being just five bigs apart. An even deal was denied, but an ICM deal was made moments later, locking up €25.5k for me and leaving up €5k to play for.
What was it like balancing playing with streaming and entertaining?
This was my first ever poker stream as I finished preparing my streaming set up the morning before Phase 2 Day 2 after putting it off for months on end. I was pretty anxious turning it on, as I had no experience being on the other side of the screen. However, I love actively sharing my runs and having people on my rail, so turning to streaming was a logical step to make. And this deep run with all its potential seemed like a pretty nice place to start!
Balancing the play and streaming turned out to be pretty easy. I was playing just one table and railing a couple of other tables. The entertainment mainly came from the excitement of the deep run. I did not have to provide much extra content other than talking through my thoughts during the hands and interacting with the people in the chat. However, with a lot of regular faces showing up to rail me and to monitor the chat and parts of the stream for me, I really was able to just play my game and enjoy the run. I did get a little too distracted at times whilst interacting with the chat, but I’d like to think that helped me contain my sanity during the run as well. Streaming it was a blast, and I’ll definitely be streaming more often in the near future. I’m very glad I ended up turning it on!
What does this win mean to you?
I think it’s still sinking in at the moment, I don’t think I realise yet just how much of a score this actually is! However, turning $4.40 into $30,500 is something I couldn’t have dreamed of doing, even in my wildest dreams. It means the world and provides me with considerable financial freedom for the near future. And after bottling my heads-up during SCOOP earlier this year, it felt amazing to be able to take this down and claim a title of a flagship series event.
How will this huge score impact your poker career moving forward?
I’ve been putting out decent results before this score and toying with the idea of putting more time and work into the game, and to maybe try and incorporate streaming with it to take it a bit more seriously. This score has given me lots to think about where I want to go from this point on. I don’t want to rush into quitting my job and going full time or anything, but I’m definitely considering finding some middle ground. It’ll be near impossible to beat my first stream ever, but I’m definitely willing to give it a go!
What do you do outside of poker?
I’m currently active as a full-time interim financial professional. Basically, I work on an assignment basis, being sent out by my employer to several companies to aid them wherever they deem required. Combining the full-time job with tournament poker isn’t easy, but I’ve managed to do it thus far.
I’ve been considering changing from full-time to part-time to pursue other ambitions for quite a while now. With this trophy in the bag along with my other recent results, I have some serious food for thought regarding my future and where I want to go from here on out.
How did you discover poker and what has your journey been like so far?
I was in the last year of my degree, enjoying a semester of studying abroad in Porto, Portugal. On a rainy day in January 2018, I was scouring the Twitch streets on my laptop when I came across a PokerStars stream. I don’t know why, but I was pulled towards the stream and the game piqued my interest. I couldn’t play on the EU client at the time, but I was in my final weeks of the semester, so I stuck with just the streams until the flight back.
When I got home, I created an account on PokerStars and started messing around with the game. After a couple of micro-deposits, I spun up a little profit bankroll, from which I’ve been playing to this day. After finishing my degree in the summer of 2018, I started putting serious hours into poker. Through both playing and watching poker streams, I started picking up the fundamentals of the game and I was actively trying to improve my game on a daily basis.
2019 not only brought improving results for me in poker (with the biggest being a $10,800 score coming second in an $11 SCOOP event), I also started getting actively involved with the Twitch Poker Community and the social channels surrounding the streamers.
I started trying some live poker to mix up the online play and decided to attend Lex Live 2 at Aspers in London. At this event, I came to realise that I was missing out on what could be an amazing community, and I vowed that I would attend the next event as an active community member. This brought me in contact with a lot of like-minded people that also loved the game of Poker and Twitch, and I’m very glad I made the effort of doing so.
What was your Lex Live experience like?
I arrived on a Wednesday night, right after the open bar event. I was a little anxious at first stepping up to people to introduce myself, but that quickly passed when I got to know a couple of people and had a couple of drinks with them. The community is incredibly welcoming and friendly, and I felt right at home. The event itself was also a blast. I ended up making a run in the Main Event which was a great experience, as well as enjoying plenty of side-events with the community members and Twitch streamers. It felt very wholesome, and I’m definitely attending Lex Live 3 from start to finish next year!
Did Lex inspire you to play poker or stream?
Lex Veldhuis along with the previous dynamic duo of Spraggy and Fintan were the streamers I watched most at the start of my Poker career. Their streams basically taught me the fundamentals of poker and the enjoyment of making deep runs whilst being cheered on by a crowd. The inspiration to stream myself came a bit later, as I wasn’t at all comfortable with streaming myself just yet – nor did I have the hardware to get things going.
After the SCOOP run, I decided to reward myself with a new hardware setup, enabling me to pick up streaming if I so desired. At this point, I was watching a lot of other streamers as well, such as current members of the PS Stream Team; Pyefacepoker, GJReggie and Pleb_Method. Inspired by these streamers along with my improving poker results, I decided it was time to give it a go myself. But how am I ever going to top my first stream now?!
What does your regular poker grind look like in terms of volume/buy-ins?
I primarily play tournament poker and try to mix it in whenever I see an opportunity. On an average midweek evening, I think I average around anywhere between 25-40 tournaments with a total buy-in ranging between $200-$300. Weekend days usually see more volume being put in, as well as the higher buy-ins being mixed in, especially on the Sunday.
What advice would you give to players grinding the micro stakes?
I’ve always valued my mindset combined with the enjoyment of the game as my main drives to play poker (rather than the prospect of making money from it). If you find yourself getting frustrated or demotivated to play, don’t be afraid to take a step back and enjoy another activity for the evening. Also, find people that have a similar mindset to you regarding the game and your way of life, and just have a chat every once a while. Discuss hands, tournaments, watch a stream together, or talk about any other interest that you might share.
Last but not least; There’s plenty of people out there wanting to tell you how their aces got cracked again – those are the people I tend to avoid. Surround yourself with positive and healthy vibes, and you yourself will prosper from it – as will your poker game.
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