Those who get their start playing poker online often talk about the transition to playing live. It’s kind of a natural step to take, with the online game often serving as a great introduction before jumping into the live arena.
Those who are part of the growing community enjoying Lex Veldhuis’ Twitch channel are about to get a similar opportunity. After watching Lex online for the last few years, they’ll soon be able to take part in a new live tournament series hosted by Veldhuis, the appropriately-named Lex Live Spring Festival at the Grand Casino de Namur in Belgium from March 27-31.
“When my community starting growing on Twitch, people started talking about having a meet-up where everyone could meet each other and hang out,” Lex explains. “It’s cool to be able to take the next step and strengthen the relationships.”
This first Lex Live series at Namur will include several tournaments, including some turbo events, a High Roller, and a Main Event, as well as lots of associated activities and other chances for friends made online in Lex’s Twitch channel to meet up and in socialize in person. (See the full schedule below.)
Plans for something similar have been in the works for a while now, in fact, with the delay having enabled both the community to grow and the potential for this first tournament series to be even bigger as well.
“I think people are going to be surprised at how big it is,” says Lex. “But I’m confident that we’ll still be able to capture that community feel.”
“We’re going to be playing poker. There are going to be some other activities, too, and we’re going to be hanging out at the bar. There will be some cool twists on some tournaments. People will recognize a lot from the stream in it. I just can’t wait for it, because I feel like over the past year the stream has grown so much it just deserves some kind of big event as well.”
There are several reasons why the Grand Casino de Namur in Belgium should prove a good choice of location at which to launch the new tournament series.
“PokerStars has always had a presence there,” Lex explains, “and they are very good at hosting poker tournaments.” Among the advantages is a set-up for a televised final table which might well be put to use during the Lex Live series. “We’re looking as well at places where people can gather and socialize” while not at the tables, he explains. “It’s all going to be very relaxed, very community-driven.”
Namur was chosen not only for its many amenities, but also thanks to its central location in Europe. “I want people to be able to take a road trip — to get on a train or in a car together and go hang out for four or five days,” says Lex, noting how other locations wouldn’t be quite as convenient for some to do so.
Indeed, accessibility is a kind of theme for the series, with price points for all of the events deliberately set to ensure people can play while also making them big enough to create nice prize pools.
“Most of the schedule is planned around Friday through Sunday,” Lex adds, highlighting another facet of the schedule designed to keep things accessible. “The Main Event will have three starting days — Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday — and people will be able to buy in at the start of Day 2 on Saturday, in case they have trouble getting off work.”
Lex hopes this won’t be just a one-time thing, but perhaps either an annual or twice-a-year event. “Of course, that’s going to depend on how this first one goes,” he notes. “But the intention is to do it more often than not. I think it’s going to be a blast, and would like to do more myself.”
“I think it’s going to be a blast,” says Lex Veldhuis
Over the time Lex has hosted the stream, there have been other opportunities for him to meet viewers at various live events at which he’s played. “A lot of the meetings I’ve had so far has motivated me to do something like this,” Lex explains. But the Lex Live series will provide even greater opportunity for community members to interact, play poker with one another, and share all those inside jokes and references they’ve built up over the years.
“There are so many different kinds of people from all walks of life in the channel,” he explains. “There are people who come home from work and always watch for an hour, and others who always watch on their lunch break. There are those who have it on in the background while they are working at home, people day trading and doing other things online. It’s a very relaxed, fun environment with little to no toxicity, so people are very comfortable chatting and it’s a great community.”
Community members have stepped up to support one another during difficult times as well as to celebrate each other’s successes. “People really develop relationships,” says Lex. “I feel like we’re ready to take the next step with the community, and having a live event is good next step.”