Let this begin with your General Info. Name/Age/sex/location?
Lex Veldhuis/ 22 / Male / Rotterdam, Netherlands
What is your nickname when playing poker?
How long have you been playing poker, with and without money?
I started out at the end of 2003 fooling around with playmoney, but I never took it really serious. After a while the game intrigued me and I got 10$ to play with on the penny tables. I was playing a bit off and on cause it's hard to see it can be profitable at those stakes. I started moving up close to June,2004.
Was there a point where you decided to try out going Pro?
I still haven't fully decided yet, so I can't give a specific date. The way things have been going lately I'm thinking about it more and more. But the term 'pro poker player' is a very wide understanding. I'm still registered at school, and I do want to get a degree once.
You used to play starcraft, too. How successful were you at that?
I was doing ok, but didn't make any real achievements. I wasn't close to players like Nazgul Elky etc. It did teach me how to multitask and click fast, which is very useful in poker now.
Multitask and fast click, do you think those are the only things starcraft can help in Poker?
I think the most important part is the strategic understanding you achieve. Starcraft isn't called Real Time Strategy for nothing. If you look at how the top starcraft players do in poker, you see they are also some of the top players in poker. So i definitely think there is a connection on top of Multitasking and mousespeed.
Strategic understandment, Do you see this as something you achieve or is it natural ability?
I think it's a bit of both. Practice always makes you better at it, but like I said earlier; it's no coincidence the top SC players are also the top poker players in the same community, some even in the overal poker community. For myself I think i'm a lot better at poker than I was at Starcraft. The game suits me a bit better.
Was it hard, to get confidence at poker?
At first it was, because I hate losing. I went mental every time I got 'sucked out'. But after a while you see the %'s will work out anyway. I also never cashed in any money at poker, and now I'm able to cash out and play on, and move up in limits, which is a huge confidence boost. Start from scratch and don't look back.
Wow, With how much did u started and how did u got it?
You have never Invested any of your own money to Poker?
A friend of mine (Victor Goossens, playing as Nazgul online) gave me 10$ to start with. I went broke first time, but made it with the second 10$. He is also the one who taught me the most.
I had my jobs throughout the years, but poker came just in time, I was in school and pretty broke. I never ever cashed in money or borrowed money in real life to play poker online.
What was the first software you started playing in?
I started playing Sit and go's (9 man 1 table tournaments) with playmoney. The 10$'s I received on pokerstars, which is the site i play on 99% of the time.
How is your bankroll right now, And how do you feel about it? how are your feelings about this subject and achieving all of this.
I'm a bit relunctant these days to give out any info about my bankroll. I got hacked in september and that got me pretty close to being broke. I totally recovered from that by now and I'm finally at the level I wanted to achieve for several months. However, I can tell that last 3 weeks I made approx. 2500$ a day. That also includes days I didn't play in the average.
I'm delerious about it. I'm making more money than I ever thought possible, while playing a game I love. I'm still really anxious to improve, also in other aspects of the game.
Talking about improvement, how do you feel speaking about level, compared to other Succesfull poker players? If possible, mention some names.
Well I always try to pull up to other players I respect. I try to learn from them and see what gives them an edge online. I try to add that to my game + my experience at the tables. The one I learn most from is Nazgul (who is one my roommates now, the other being Liquid`meat or gijoy, webmaster of liquidpoker.net). I also just see small stuff from other players when I play them.
At the EPT kopenhagen I hung out a lot with Hallinggol and Check_kills (who also play on ps). I watched them play a lot and discussed stuff with them. That improved my game big time in a really short period of time. They're really aggressive type of players, which is something I'm doing more and more.
Do you think this is a time where you can make the most money? Right now you can't see alot of people in high-stake tables, do you think in the future the internet cardrooms will be much harder?
I think right now i'm in the best shape ever. As far as other players concerned, Pokerstars has the hardest cash games online. If the edge gets smaller you can always move to softer places like Partypoker. 10/20 NL on pokerstars is known to be one of the toughest NL games online. I'm not too worried about too many really good players. There will always be people not knowing what they're getting themselves into, and simply people who play for fun and can afford to lose.
Going back on the hacking issue, What are your thoughts about it?, This could be
something to worry about if I were an Internet Poker cardroom ownerer.
Well, the feeling to come back from a trip and see you're hacked is just sick. I can't explain how it feels. It's like you're practising for the marathon 2 years straight and you break your anckle 2 days before. I think it's a sick thing to do to people. Of course this is an issue the pokerrooms should be concerned about. Their business evolves around integrity and safety.
Internet Poker is now a hot topic around the world thanks to the media , advertisement and TV, Do you think Internet Poker will last a very very long time? or Do you see something coming that will prevent so many people join easily a place to gamble online?
I think it will keep on growing for some time at least. It exploded since Chris Moneymaker won the 2003 World Series of Poker. But even before that there was a lot of activity onlnine in poker. Of course the poker-boom will eventually wear off a bit, but now the general public notices the factor of skill in poker. That's why it's getting so big, it's becoming more of a sport than a hype.
I don't see it dying ever.
Where do you do your best, online? or at live casinos?
From origin i'm an online player, so I have a bigger edge there. I only started live poker around the time I went to the EPT London in sept 2005. So my live experience is small. I'm working on it though~. People sometimes say that online poker is for dummies because people don't see your face, but I think you can reverse that statement. If you don't see their faces as well, it becomes a lot harder to know if people are bluffing. A lot is read from betting patterns, but reading people online is an impressive art. Reading offline comes from a lot of experience and psychology. They are just two seperate things you need to learn.
Has it ever, or how often does it feel like working, sitting in and playing?
Sometimes it does. And I think in a way you have to see it as a job to maintain good money management, which is one of the most important things in poker. Sometimes I'm really enjoying playing, other times I'm playing just to build up the bankroll. Also there are times that i'm totally sick of poker and can't stand the look of cards . But that's usually after a bad run.
How is your offline support about poker?, Family?, Friends? Any experiences?
In the beginning it was really sceptical. I tend to get hooked on things I like, hobbies etc. But you can't deny results, neither can my parents. So now they accepted it and support me in doing it. For my friends it was hard to understand in the beginning but I think now they think it's nice or ok. Sometimes it's hard to defend playing at night for example. But people have to understand it's also a job.. and sometimes I just have night shift
So your income, is all poker? Do You pay for Your living ?
Yeah after first couple of cash outs I quit any side-job I had and only made money off poker. In the beginning it's slow because you have to cash out and it kinda kills your bankroll.. but every time you leave a bit more online and after a while you can climb up to higher tables and just repeat that over and over. I just couldn't do any 'regular' work any more.
No disrespect intended of course.
Yes you could say that
So, you now live by yourself, you are studying and you are your own boss. How does it feel?
It feels great! However, the studying isn't going very well now. It's hard to stay motivated for school when you're doing this. At the other hand I know and feel I have to get an education, you never know when this all will end. I'm thinking about that a lot, how to do it and stuff.
Nice one, What are your main goals for this year?
Including poker and life goals.
Make a clear decision on what to do with school, and actually go for whatever i decide and don't slack up. I want to buy certain things I'll need later on anyway now I have the money for it. You never know what weird things will happen. I want to make 1 big hit in a tourney. And I really want to keep travelling. I'm doing that more and more and I'm just enjoying it so much. I just been to Copenhagen, I'll be in Deauville, France 7th-12th of february, then going to rome on the 18th of february for a week and in the beginning of march to Monte Carlo. Those are the only ones planned right now but I want to do a lot more this year .
I also want to build a 'I-can't-go-broke-no-matter-what-happens'-bankroll in poker.
I want to exclude the insecurities the life in poker has from my career in it.
Lets get more Technical and start with a classic one,
Whats your favorite hand?
J9d It has to be diamonds though
Would you invest in that hand, or play it like any other else in the same range?
Of course i invest in it lol. It just begs to be played. And it looks too cute not too, so why wouldn't I . I play a lot of hands lately, a lot of those 1 gap suited hands. More aggressive style like I mentioned before.
Let's say you are dealt 100 hands, How many of them do you see the flop with usually?
I used to play 18% of my hands. That works really well on lower limits. But in my opinion you won't survive (or optimize profits) on the higher tables doing that. Now I'm playing 25-30% which is really aggressive.
Let's point that out as an advice for new and medium players who want to change limits.
Which advice would you give?
I think on pokerstars you can easily grind your way up on the 0.10/.25 cents tables to 2$/4$ tables with just playing tight. If you know how to get good value on your monsters you're set. On 2/4 it starts changing a bit already and 5$/10$ is a huge difference already. There is just no use in doing fancy stuff at low limits.
Why try to outplay people who will pay you off big time on your monsters anyway. On the higher limits it's important to mix up your game to get paid on your good hands.
If you were to start all over again at poker, what stakes/tables/limits, and software would u play?
I would start playing serious from the beginning immediately, at pokerstars , I just love the software. I would play same limits, since there is a somewhat set rule for that. I would exclude some horrendous tilts I had that brought me back to 0 after 1 month hard work though .
lovely, lets talk about tilting, is that common on you, and can you avoid it frequently?, If you do, what do you do to avoid tilt?
I think if you can't exclude tilting from your game, you shouldn't be playing poker. Everyone is gonna hit a bad run sooner or later. If you can't manage to keep a good mindset you'll go broke. You see it all the time. extremely good players who can't handle it and go broke time after time. I used to be really tilt sensitive, because I get angry when I lose. Now I just get angry but keep playing at the same level.
So you think, poker is a 100% mental game?
Also, how many of the new players, do you think actually make it being good?
Most people end giving up these days, what do you think about it?
I think for the most part it is. When you play poker you try to outthink your opponents. So you try to think at your highest level. When you lose, you fail to outsmart people, and you also fail yourself. Thats the roughest, for me at least, mental thing about poker. When you're on a bad run you think you're not good enough. You question your ability and you feel you're just lucky
when you win.
Well because poker is so hot these days a lot of people give it a try. But not everyone can do it, just like so many people start playing tennis but quit after 2 years because there is not real progress. Some make it, but less than others. That's why it's like a sport.
It must be horrible for starters to get their bad run very soon.
Yes it is, that's why investing money when you start is a stupid thing. Learn the basics at microstakes. Get a clear view of hand values on lower limits. Prove yourself then go up. And if you can't prove yourself u lost 50$ at top.
Are you the type of guy who would give all his good advices, or you will rather keep them to yourself and not get hard poker in the future?
I always like to help people out when they ask me questions. That's basically what I do as an admin on liquidpoker.net. I also have friends irl who ask me a lot of stuff. I think it's stupid to exclude knowledge that can help a struggling player. Especially if it's just because it can make you a bit less money in the future. I don't think there is a risk in that at all. Some players I help more
actively than I i do others. But that's just because I think they have more potential. But I never hesitate to answer questions.
+ some people helped me out a lot in the beginning, so I'm just returning the favor through different channels.
Have you ever read any Poker Books?, Apart from the all-mighty help of your friend, Nazgul, what other sources did you use?
I hardly read any poker books. I read Theory of Poker by David Sklansky to get a clear view of the technical side of poker. I also read Super System by Doyle Bunrson which handles aggression a lot. Other than that I like to read books with anecdotes rather than pointers. Doyle Brunson has a book 'Poker wisdom of a champion' which is intriguing. I also love to read books about proposition bets,
Amarillo Slim has one and I still need to get it.
Rest just comes from experience and exchanging thoughts with other players.
Do you think the best thing to learn from is people, books, or articles?
A mix of all. Just see what suits best. For me talking to people about the game has been by far the most important.
Whats the best/exciting hand, that you have played, with who, and how was it?.
Also metion the worst after.
I can't really give a clear example .. i do remember the worst beat of course
I think the best call I ever made was on 2/4 NL when someone put me allin for 1.5 buyin on AQ77 board and I called with K9o for K high. He had nada.
My worst beat was at a cash table at the EPT london. I limped utg with 89h on a 3/3 Pot Limit Holdem game. The whole table called and the button miniraised to 6$. I just felt like i could take it away and potted over that. He called approx 50 more. Flop comes TJQ all hearts so I flop a straight flush. We were realllly deepstacked so I wanted to make it a big pot and I just said POT. To my surprise he potted over me and we kept on potting till we had a 5000 euro (6000 USD) pot on a 3/3 game. He flips over AhKo for the straight and nutflushdraw, what he didn't lnow was that he was drawing to 1 out, which came on the river Kh for the Royal Flush. Sadly that was the last hand since the casino closed then and I left for Holland day after
Not a nice parting Gift. The worst online was losing JJ vs AK on AJJ allin turn river A A. Thanks for letting me tell a bad beat story .
You’re welcome =) Let the Random Qs begin. Whats your Set up?
Right now I play on 1 19" monitor with 1600x1200 resolution but I just ordered the
2 20.1" dell monitors for a dual set up at home so i can play 8 tables without overlap
What stakes are the most profitable for you?
I used to think 3/6 .. I was doing really well there.. but since I altered my play a bit lately 5/10 NL is working out really well.
Do you smoke/drink while playing?
I smoke cigarettes .. I had a sidebet about quitting with nazgul,.. which i won.. i smoke tons when I get deep in big tourneys .. sometimes I drink a beer when there are people here, but normally i play 100% sober. couple of beers don't influence anything though.
If you had a pro right in front of you now, what would u ask him?
lets say, Phil Ivey
How do i play AK utg ? No, I think I would ask him more like
poker-life related stuff .. than technical stuff about poker. I would look like a donkey doing that anyway.
Which ability in Poker would u like to improve?
i don't think i have things that are obviously worse than others, which doesnt mean i do everything perfect , but I think i'm improving generally. So on all fronts..
I would like to improve is to get less angry when it's not going well. So that i'm not angry after a session, and just act normal as if i forgot it happened. Sometimes it gets on my mood.
You are a very experienced player in Torneys, what part of your game style changes for tournaments? and what advice can you give?
Well I only play tourneys once in a while. For instance, when I feel like i'm up enough on ring I start to play multiple tournaments. In the beginning im usually just tight-aggressive, but my strongest tourney phase is definitely like top 50 when blinds get big and people get afraid. You just have to play them a lot and take every single one of them serious, no matter how small. When you just allin every hand in a small tourney because you're shortstacked, you won't be able to do it when you're in a big one. You have to practise it in the ones that don't matter. That's what helped me a lot.
Have you been in Las Vegas?
No, I don't want to rush that. I don't think there is any use to go to vegas if you can't experience it. I also want to be mentally strong when I go there so i don't go crazy or go broke. I do want to go there this year at the World Series though. Also to meet a lot of the online players and just to see what it's like. Maybe play an event or 2.
Where do you think the hardest players come from?
Europe? America? Which Country in specific?
In the bigger live tourneys I have a lot of troubles with the Scandinavian players. The good ones are just so sick aggressive. I can't form a real opinion yet since I hardly played with Americans offline. There is a big style difference though. European players play looser overall I think.
Do you believe in superstitions?
Such as bringing up an amulet while playing or something alike?
I think you can like.. play music you like if it makes you feel better. Or have some kind of good luck thing you always bring to tournaments. But actually believing your outcome depends on it is retarded. If you use it as a placebo though why not.
Is there by any chance that you could be quitting poker any soon?
Or do you see it as a part of your life now?
I don't think i'll ever quit. That doesn't mean it will always be my main source of income, but besides the money I love the game. So i'll always play small tourneys offline etc. Or maybe something like play the WSOP every year. It's definitely part of my life. The way I live my life now, and the things I do, are all in one way or another connected to poker.
Can you do some sexy tricks with chips or cards?
hmmz i can do couple of chiptricks.. no knuckleroll or butterfly .. but rest is pretty easy.. I'm absolutely useless with cards.
Do you wear anything special when playing live?
I only listen to my ipod once in a while. Especially when I lost a rough pot. It's just to return to your own world and focus. Also, when some annoying people are talking it's nice to not have to listen. I generally never wear caps or sunglasses.
Do you consider yourself lucky? Do you believe in 'Luck'?
Can you count the royal flushes you have had?
I don't believe in luck or lucky players. I believe in %'s working out in the long run, and I really mean that.
I've had 6 Royals. A friend of mine has 38 already but he plays omaha and fixed and they're a lot less rare there.
What about straight flushes?
I don't count them .. nothing REALLY special about them. I do remember once losing with a straight flush to a higher one. I thought I was entitled to a 25k bad beat jack pot and I went delirious, only to hear gijoy say: 'You need to lose using both your holecards'. That hit me like a rock and then I realized I lost a fullstack allin with a straight flush .
Last Question; Do you have any rare experiences? such as punching someones face when u lost?
I definitely broke some stuff when I lost. I once kicked my vcr from on top off my television, but that made me think I was pathetic. I never hurt anyone over poker though. I did missclicked some hands and folded nuts or pp's preflop that got to 3-4 way allins with me having the nuts.
Well , It was nice having an Interview with you Lex. Thanks a lot for your time and See you Later!
Want to read more about RaSZi, then check out RaSZi's Blog