You might have seen Andy Wilson tweeting last week – one of those feel-good stories that you can’t help enjoying.
Just days after Lex Veldhuis seemed to crush everything he played, Wilson, playing as BowieEffect (the term, coined by his mum, that referenced the David Bowie t-shirt Wilson wore when he won his first poker tournament), took it as inspiration, and launched his own Thursday Thrill campaign. The result? A $33,000 win (plus another $42,000 in bounties), and an elated Wilson who instinctively tweeted his thanks to Veldhuis.
Was inspired after watching @RaSZi stream his Thrill win last week on stream, so decided to attempt a stream of my journey starting from a $55 satellite….over twelve long hours later pic.twitter.com/dkVGmNN0Qe
— Andy Wilson (@BowieEffect) December 1, 2017
Since then the still jubilant Wilson, who turned 22 today, talked to the Blog about the win, the inspiration and his streaming plans.
“Twitch streamers have been a source of ‘edutainment’ for me ever since I first began playing the game, said Wilson, who first got into poker through Twitch. “Lex’s run in the Thrill was certainly one of the highlights of the year for me as a viewer, to see such a well-known and respected streamer battle to win one of the flagship tournaments on PokerStars was certainly an awesome experience, and one which ruined my already questionable sleep schedule for the rest of the week!
Wilson lives in Bolton, in the north west of England, where he’s enjoying a break from his studies at Swansea University (“shout out to the poker society!”) to play MTTs full time. His commonalities with Veldhuis are not confined to winning the Thrill. Like the Team Pro, Wilson used to compete in video game tournaments, going by the handle Sabre while competing primarily in a racing game called TrackMania, and dabbling in Counter-Strike and StarCraft II. He played for some of the biggest eSport teams such as Dignitas and Team Acer.
“It was actually through Twitch during the latter half of my first year (Easter 2016) that I ‘discovered’ poker and began to play,” said Wilson, who learned the basics of poker from his mother, who caught the online poker boom wave a decade ago. “I just dabbled within the game until I actually won a live tournament in the August of 2016 for £10,000, and it is from this money that I began to grind part-time in an attempt to make money during my second year of university. Things have just gone from there.”
In terms of judging how that’s going, this latest result certainly works well.
“This win far eclipses anything else in my past, although it probably isn’t my ‘craziest’ run of all time,” said Wilson, referring to his MicroMillions Marathon win a year ago against a field of 10,000 players. “It is surely my most defining moment in my career by several hundred orders of magnitude, due to the difficulty and prestige of the Thursday Thrill, and the sheer ROI I made from a $55 satellite bink.”
It fits a familiar pattern of hard work that, while not guaranteeing long terms success, is certainly a pre-requisite.
“I have been grinding a similar schedule of anything from the Big $5.50 to the Sunday Million and everything in-between for a healthy portion of the year now. I figured that firing into satellites would give me a good opportunity to get into the Thrill from week-to-week and be able to test myself against some of the best players in the online tournament circuit, whilst providing the chance to potentially have a huge score if I were to run deep.”
His plan worked. He won a satellite (at the second time of asking) and then set about streaming the Thrill itself… a la Veldhuis, doing with poker what he’d done regularly as an eGamer.
“I had already planned to stream before playing the satellite! I had decided to reduce the table count from my usual 12-15 to somewhere around 7 or 8 whilst providing some commentary about hands I was playing to those who had tuned in.”
People did tune in, even with what Wilson described as “a lack of production quality, or even a webcam”. But that experience of streaming his gaming exploits, and providing colour commentary for CounterStrike, kicked in.
“The response from everyone has been unbelievable, I really have been overwhelmed by it and all the support I’ve received has been very much appreciated. I found it quite natural to be able to express my thoughts whilst playing and the experience was very enjoyable and is definitely a major part of my future plans.”
What followed was a long session and ultimately a memorable win, that even Lex Veldhuis couldn’t ignore.
Whaatttt no fucking way hahah. Congrats https://t.co/TB4mTs1bg1
— LexVeldhuis (@RaSZi) December 1, 2017