It was 1932, Major League Baseball teams the New York Yankees and the Chicago Cubs were battling in a hotly contested World Series when future Baseball Hall of Famer Babe Ruth legendarily stood at the plate, pointed his bat to the outfield and predicted that he would crush a home run off Cubs pitcher Charlie Root. The very next pitch he did just that – sending a ball soaring over the ivy in center field at Wrigley Field. Ever since that moment, despite the controversy over whether it actually happened that way or not, the competitive fire in people have seen them “calling their shot.”
Online poker legend in his own right, Team PokerStars Online pro Lex Veldhuis did just that on Thursday when he took to Twitter and declared that not only would he play the PokerStars $1,050 Thursday Thrill while streaming live on Twitch – he predicted he was going to win it outright.
Today I am thankful for winning the $1050 Thrill live on stream: https://t.co/NFvUBRr9TB
NO MORE OF THIS: https://t.co/pS1NExoVCw
— LexVeldhuis (@RaSZi) November 23, 2017
While the above statement looks like a post-victory statement, Veldhuis actually “called his shot”, cooly predicting his eventual victory, more than 15 hours before it happened and the whole time the Dutch pro let viewers watch every step of the way.
“It’s just the most ridiculous coincidence, as it’s a pretty ridiculous statement,” Veldhuis admitted afterwards.
Veldhuis wasn’t envisioning a victory in some three-table Sit & Go, either. The $1,050 Thursday Thrill is one of the most prestigious tournaments on PokerStars weekly calendar and a noted favorite of Veldhuis.
“I love bounty builders and this is the biggest one,” Veldhuis said, speaking about the Thursday Thrill. “Bounty builders offer a layer of strategy other tournaments don’t have. There is such a huge X-factor in play. How do people adjust to bounties? Even regulars don’t follow the same guidelines. It’s really fun figuring out that puzzle.”
The Progressive Super-Knockout format draws some of the biggest names in the game. On this particular day, 299 runners would take their shot, generating a prize pool of $299,000, half of which would be put into play as bounties.
“You see the craziest hands and they feel standard to an extent, but maybe I gamble way too much? Time will tell,” said Veldhuis. “In the meantime, I’m having a blast playing them and I love the competition because this tournament pulls in all the best regulars.”
As the tournament played out and the deeper Veldhuis went, the more people tuned in to his already popular Twitch channel to watch him work. In total, according to Veldhuis himself, 9,000 viewers took part in what amounted to a 15-hour stream.
“Winning a tournament on Twitch feels like winning a huge sports event and all your friends and family are there to see it. I have an awesome community behind me,” Veldhuis said.
It’s one thing to go through the highs and lows of tournament poker as a pro, and quite another to have thousands tuning in. “They push me so much more than even they realize. When I don’t feel like playing some days, someone will say something in chat that makes me easily grind on for five hours. When I have a shitty few days and feel like I’m slaving away behind the computer, someone will send an appreciative message making me realize again how awesome it is I get to do this for a living.”
Grind on he did and in the end, Veldhuis found himself heads-up against one of the “best regulars”, Brazilian online beast, PocketFives.com Worldwide #88-ranked, Pedro ‘gusma’ Madeira. Holding a 6:1 chip lead the pair got it in the middle on, basically, a flip. Veldhuis slightly behind, holding the suited was up against Madeira’s . The flop gave Madeira plenty of ways to double up. The turn opened up flush possibilities. Madeira though officially had “too many outs” and besides, it was Veldhuis’ day. The offsuit completed the board and Veldhuis’ vision came to fruition.
The prediction complete, with over $27,000 in bounties ($14,000+ of which was his own) and another over $28,000 for first place, Veldhuis had plenty to be thankful for on Thanksgiving as he banked more than $55,000.
“Holy fucking shit! We fucking did it, boys!” Veldhuis declared after leaping out of his chair on stream and bouncing out of frame. Overcome with excitement, he re-took his seat, held his head in his hands and took a moment to reflect on the the results of an epic stream.
We did it! 15 hour stream, 9000 viewers and $55,000 for winning my favorite tournament, the $1050 @PokerStars Thrill. Insane Thanksgiving prediction LUL! Thanks everyone for the love and support. https://t.co/mWIrHlrfSs
— LexVeldhuis (@RaSZi) November 24, 2017
It’s a moment in his already storied career that clearly he, and those watching, won’t soon forget.
“The fact it was Thanksgiving, it’s my biggest win on stream, and people were there to remind me makes it a pretty memorable moment.”
Veldhuis, rarely content and always intense, will no doubt not be resting on his laurels. He may take a day off to celebrate and enjoy the win, but viewers can expect him to be back on the grind on his Twitch.tv channel on his regular five-day a week schedule.