With Lex Live kicking off today in Namur, Belgium, let us introduce you some of the online qualifiers currently heading to Lex Veldhuis’s Twitch poker extravaganza.
For Lex Veldhuis and his Twitch community, today is a special day.
Not only does Day 1A of the €100K guaranteed €225 Lex Live Main Event get going tonight at 6pm, but a bunch of qualifiers are on their way to the Grand Casino de Namur right now, courtesy of winning packages in online satellites.
We thought we’d let them tell you their stories before we follow their progress throughout the week.
Sanne Bombeek is a 29-year-old Emergency Room Nurse from Belgium, who lives close to Aalst.
PokerStars Blog: Hi Sanne. What can you tell us about yourself?
Sanne Bombeek: “I go by “Antim00n” on PokerStars and Twitch. I would consider my work as my greatest passion. People say all the time that when you go into healthcare, it has to be a calling. In my case, it really is. I love my job and strive to get better at it every day. It does, however, leave me with little time to spend on hobbies. I currently spend most of my free time together with my husband, renovating our house and watching Twitch.”
PSB: How did you get into poker?
SB: “Through my husband. He played quite a lot during what he calls the “golden years of online poker” (10-15 years ago). After meeting me about 10 years ago, he scaled back on playing. He now casually plays low stakes PLO. He tried to explain the basics to me when we met but didn’t really have a lot of success! I consider myself a very casual player. I must admit that when I watch Lex’s stream most of my attention goes to the chat and I don’t really pay that much attention to the hands he’s playing! But apparently, I picked up some skills while doing that, as I managed to qualify for the main event.”
PSB: What made you take a shot in the satellite?
SB: “I got my buy-in for the satellite from winning a $100 giveaway on Lex’s stream some time ago. I think I put it to good use. If you’re looking for an accomplished poker player with some nice cashes and tournaments next to her name, I’m not your girl.
“I’m going to Lex Live to meet the community that Lex built and that I have grown to love. Playing a couple of hands of poker while there is just a nice bonus. Twitch is where Lex and poker came together for me.”
PSB: What makes Lex’s stream special to you?
SB: “I still remember the first couple of times when I got home from work and found my husband watching Lex on Twitch. I reacted as many others who are new to Twitch: What was entertaining about that? Why was he watching someone else play poker when he could play himself? But, I was willing to give it a chance.
“It didn’t take long before I made my own Twitch account and started being active in the chat and the community. I remember actually being upset with my husband when I came home from work one day, only to find out he had subbed to Lex without me knowing. So, of course, I had no other choice than to instantly sub too. That was 20 months ago. I recently asked Lex if he remembers which of us subbed first and he knew it was Rizn00. Something so small and trivial, but he knew. I think that tells a lot about Lex and the community he built. He really knows his longtime subs and truly cares about them.
“When I get home after a crazy shift, or when I have had a bad day and lost a patient, the community is there for me on Discord or in the Twitch chat. Lex sometimes says something small on stream like: ‘It sucks you had a bad day Antim00n, give our TwitchNurse a veldLUV wall chat’. For him, it might not seem much, but for me, it means a lot.
“I watch Lex to unwind, to relax with chat, to troll him about moppie buying his sweaters, to ‘f**k’ Croaks, to play golfing with your friends on ‘Blow Up Fridays’ (that did not end well for me by the way), and to have fun.”
PSB: We hear you’ve become a meme in the chat?
SB: “Yeah, the #modAntim00n campaign has become a meme in Lex’s chat. Every time I ask when he’ll finally make me a mod, he blatantly ignores it. Others picked up on it and will spam the chat and donations with #modAntim00n. We recently had a small breakthrough when Lex made me ‘Director of Shopping’ in his Discord channel after I found him some shelves to put in his office. One could say that’s the biggest achievement of my life. My husband wouldn’t like that though, nor would the people whose lives I’ve saved.
“I think the biggest achievement of my life is still to come: winning the Lex Live Main Event! That will give Lex no choice but to make me a mod! (I’m just kidding).”
Iosif Spulber is a 29-year-old from Romania who currently lives in London where he works as a Software Engineer.
PokerStars Blog: How did you get into poker?
Iosif Spulber: “I’ve been playing poker since it was legal for me to do so, going so far as getting nice monthly cashes to help me through college. I stopped when I decided that it required a bit too much work, which I could just put into studying.
I then started watching Twitch poker about two years ago, which I find almost as exciting as playing. This, in turn, got me back to playing recreationally. It turns out that poker got a lot harder in the meantime!”
PSB: Have you ever attended a live poker event before?
IS: “No. Lex Live will be my first time playing poker in a casino!”
PSB: You must be excited?
IS: “I think it’s amazing, even if I bust out on day one. The prospect of meeting the poker community, hanging out with people I know online, it all sounds really fun!
“It’s also quite a surprise that I’m going. Without the qualifier, there’s no way I would have gone. Lex kept reminding us about the last qualifier on Sunday, but I wasn’t that keen on it as I’ve just been to Belgium, it’s a bit too sudden, and the event is way higher than what I usually play. It’s not about the money itself—I could afford it— but everything I’ve learnt about bankroll management from streamers such as Lex would make it a questionable decision, and to me, poker is all about making the right decisions. In fact, the qualifier itself was outside my regular buy-ins. But the satellite into the qualifier was €3.30 and I thought: ‘Hey, you know what? If I get to go to Lex live for that, I’m okay with it.’ I then won those two and here we are!”
PSB: What is it about Lex and his stream that has had such a big impact on you?
IS: “I simply love Twitch poker. I think it’s got a lot of elements that make it perfect for streaming. It’s so entertaining, the entire audience ‘invests’ into deep runs, and the hype when something massive is about to go down is insane. It’s more engaging than other games since the streamer can answer questions about the plays, offer advice, etc. And most importantly, you truly get better just by watching. You see what works and why, and if you take it seriously by always checking you’d do the same thing as the streamer, it works as good as actual training sessions!
“When it comes to Lex in particular, it’s the only Twitch community I’m actually part of. I think it’s a mix of unique things he brings to the table: diving deeper into strategy when he needs to, investing a lot in developing his platform, and most importantly not shying away from speaking out on any topic.”
Jonothon Butters is a 52-year-old retired software entrepreneur from Stafford, England.
PokerStars Blog: Hi Jonothon. Congratulations on winning a package to Lex Live! Are you forward to it?
Jonothon Butters: “The vibe from smaller buy-in, community-focused events make them very different from standard tournaments, and more fun. Plus, I’m taking the opportunity to attend the Darts in Rotterdam and bringing my son along for company. It’s perfect.”
PSB: How did you discover poker?
JB: “I started in 2006 after I retired, right at the beginning of the poker boom. Lots of money was being thrown around, and there was lots of excitement as it was all new, what with the TV coverage and great live events.”
PSB: What do you think of Lex and his stream?
JB: “I found Lex’s stream by accident and liked the open way he talks about the game and interacts with the audience. I slowly started watching more and got my appetite back for playing the game. I jumped into the €3 qualifier and laddered up to win the package whilst watching the stream. Incredible!”
PSB: Do you have much live poker experience?
JB: “Yes, I’ve played many events including WSOP, EPT, UKIPT and APPT events between 2006 and 2010. My largest cash was third for £36K at the GUKPT Luton in 2007. You can still find it on YouTube I think!”
PSB: What do you like to do outside of poker?
JB: “I’m a keeper of Marine Fish and Corals, and I love football and darts. My biggest achievements are 30 years of marriage and raising my two children. My son Harvey (27) will be coming along with me.”
Gaetan Macaluso is a 22-year-old from Liège, Belgium, currently studying for a masters degree.
PokerStars Blog: Hi Gaetan. What can you tell us about yourself?
Gaetan Macaluso: “My main hobbies are the financial market, videos games and sports (running and football), at an amateur level.”
PSB: How did you first discover poker?
GM: “I started to play poker when I was a kid. I used to play 5-card draw with my grandparents, then moved to Texas Hold’em (for play money). I continued to play with my friends for fun until I turned 21, then I started to play for real money online.”
PSB: Do you have much live poker experience?
GM: “I’ve played three live events. The first was a €165 MegaStack which I also qualified for online, but busted at the end of Day 1. The second was a €30 event where I busted close to the money on Day 2. And the last one was a €100 tournament, which I won!”
PSB: What would you say are your biggest achievements?
GM: “I’m very proud to be a masters student, but when it comes to poker, I am proud to have won a $7 online tournament for $1,900, and the live tournament in Valkenburg for €1,800. But honestly, I think my biggest achievement is yet to come.”
PSB: Are you looking forward to going to Lex Live?
GM: “I’ve been to Namur before so the place is not a great discovery for me, but I am very excited to go there this time. I think Lex has built a great community and has a very good philosophy. I enjoy watching his stream because you can learn lots of things but you also just chill with him and have a good time. I often see his viewers with his avatar at the tables on PokerStars, so they are proud to be in his community. He had a big impact on my mental game because he is very calm even when he loses, and also very organised. This is so important in poker.”
PokerStars Blog: Hi Hasan, what can you tell us about yourself?
Hasan Sen: “I was born in Bulgaria but I was raised in Turkey. I graduated with a degree in Management Engineering in Turkey, before moving to Portsmouth in England for my master study. Then I moved to live in Vienna.”
PSB: How did you get into poker?
HS: “I love playing and watching all sports. I was playing poker for play money when I was young, then started to play with real money when I moved to England. That was about nine years ago. I attended lots of low and medium stakes tournaments in Vienna. My biggest cash in a live tournament was about €1,200.”
PSB: How did it feel to win a package to Lex Live?
HS: “There are no words that could describe it. It was an incredible moment for me. I deserved that. The most important thing for me is that I’ll meet Lex, but it will also be a good holiday for me!”
Good luck to everyone playing at Lex Live. Stick with PokerStars Blog all week for all the latest features.
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