Lex Veldhuis has seen it all in poker, so CardsChat spoke to the Dutch pro about what it takes to make it in the game, travel the circuit, and be a sensei to 300,000 followers.
Anyone who’s been around poker for a while will know the name Lex Veldhuis. From high stakes cash games on TV to online MTTs and streaming, he’s traversed all mediums, stakes, and poker variants. He’s also one of the most approachable and eloquent people in poker, which is why we sat him down for a chat at the recent PokerStars No Limit Hold’em Players Championship (PSPC).
Like a lot of pros from Europe, Veldhuis started out playing online MTTs. However, before that, he was a StarCraft player and it was another gamer, Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier, who introduced him to poker.
A $10 deposit turned into a new passion and, over the next few years, Veldhuis moved through the ranks to become one of most feared players online. Live tournaments followed and, over time, Veldhuis became a regular on the European Poker Tour (EPT).
Life in Front of Cameras
By 2007 he was cashing in WPT and WSOP. He, subsequently, added live cash games to his repertoire and soon found himself on High Stakes Poker. Some successful (see video below) and not so successful bluffs marked him as one of those crazy but entertaining Europeans, and all eyes have been on him ever since.
Today, Veldhuis has stepped back from live cash games. He’s carved out a niche as a successful streamer, but he’s not lost his love for live tournaments.
“My experience at the PokerStars No Limit Hold’em Players Championship was great. I hadn’t played live poker for a while, particularly $25K high rollers. It was also the first time I’d had my family at a live event, so it was a nice change of pace. I was able to take myself away from poker and be in a super comfortable position and to relax,” said Veldhuis.
Balancing family and poker is tough at the best of times, but Veldhuis found a way to make it work in his favor at the PSPC.
This fresh perspective was ideal for Veldhuis as it gave him the opportunity to bring in another of his passions: content.
“The PSPC was the first time I recorded videos and made vlogs at a live event, so there were a lot of new angles. That made the PSPC a really nice experience,” Veldhuis continued.
The logistics of traveling with two children under the age of five isn’t easy, but throw the swings of poker into the mix and it creates a whole new set of potential problems. Fortunately, Veldhuis is a veteran. Couple this with an understanding wife and he was able to combine poker and family time like a pro.
“I thought I’d feel guilty about registering for tournaments with my family at the PSPC, but my wife and I are good at communicating. If I say it’s an important event, she knows I mean it and I’m not just trying to play as much poker as possible. She also knows I’m keeping a balance. I step in if she needs more help with the children and we adjust. I don’t think it’s prevented me from doing anything,” Veldhuis told CardsChat.
From Twitch Streams to YouTube
Implementing the same system at the WSOP isn’t practical for Veldhuis, not least because his wife is a teacher and wouldn’t get the time off work. However, being back out on the road has given Veldhuis plenty of new content ideas.
“I’ve been making a lot of plans. I’m now making YouTube content in addition to my Twitch streams. I think YouTube content works really well at live stops, so this year I’m attending every EPT. It’s been four years since I’ve played in live events consistently, so now I feel like it’s time to get back out there and play,” said Veldhuis.
This desire to get back on the horse is fueled, in part, by his new passion for vlogging. Veldhuis has become quite the Twitch personality in recent years and his streams are watched by over 300,000 subscribers.
However, with YouTube, he gets to explore more topics. He wants to give fans a backstage look at live poker tournaments, as well as provide news content and hand analysis. By these measures, Veldhuis has become more than a poker player. Today, he sees himself as an educator and entertainer.
“People have always come to me for guidance. They come to my Twitch channel to tell me their results and ask about things like what they should do after hitting a five-figure score. I feel like there’s always been a sensei element to my time in poker,” Veldhuis explained.
Sensei Lex Veldhuis
Playing sensei on Twitch is a role Veldhuis has embraced, so much so that he’s adding more educational content to his YouTube channel.
“I’m now making educational content on YouTube. I have a series called Learn with Lex where I explain situations in poker without complex terms or jargon. I want everyone to understand what’s happening, so I explain everything in a simple way. The people who watch Learn with Lex then come to my Twitch channel and ask questions because they want to get more into poker. So, in terms of being an entertainer and educator, these aspects of my career have become more prominent since I started my YouTube channel,” Veldhuis continued.
Lex Veldhuis is certainly suited to the roles he’s taken on. He’s engaging and insightful. His understanding of poker as a game and an industry is second-to-none, and he believes in promoting the game with passion and high-quality content.
Tune into the second part of our exclusive interview with Lex Veldhuis to find out how streaming is changing the game and his own game. He also gives us a sneak preview of the exciting content he’s got coming up on his YouTube channel.
To see firsthand why Lex is loved by poker fans around the world, check out his Twitch and YouTube channels: