First it was fighting video games, as Lew, a student at UC-Davis in Northern California, became one of the worlds best at Marvel vs. Capcom 2 at a time when eSports wasn’t something anybody really thought much about. He eventually transitioned to poker, where he became one of the world’s most prodigious multi-tablers, eventually setting the Guinness World Record for the most hands played during an eight-hour session.
So when PokerStars announced that the inaugural PokerStars Live Festival event in Atlantic City would have a StarsFun zone, filled with games like pinball, corn hole and table tennis, it felt like it was a place built for Lew to show off some of his non-poker talents. Challenging Lew to a best-of-three contest at a selection of the games on hand might not have been the best idea, but PocketFives Editor in Chief Lance Bradley did it anyway.
Game 1: PacMan Battle Royale
A classic take on the old school arcade classic, PacMan Battle Royale puts both players into the PacMan map at the same time. The only twist is instead of clearing each map and moving on to the next one, players win by eating their opponent or having one of the ghosts do the work. Each “match” is a best-of-three of its own.
Given his history with arcade games, Lew was a natural favorite here.
With neither Lew nor Bradley being overly familiar with this version of the game, the early action was more about eating dots in an attempt to clear the map. The dots continuously reappear however and after a few minutes of stumbling through the game, Bradley won the first of three matches by cornering Lew’s PacMan.
Throughout the match Lew talked about his hectic schedule and how it keeps him on his toes. Lew flew to Atlantic City from Australia where he had been playing and streaming on Twitch.
“I’m still on Australia time right now,” Lew said. “So getting adjusted wherever I travel is always hard.”
Not hard enough to prevent him from winning the second game, capturing one of the power pellets and chasing Bradley across the screen at double-time to set up a rubber match.
“I’m heading back to Macau after this for the 2016 Asia Championship of Poker,” Lew said.
The third match took longer than the first two combined with both Bradley and Lew chomping up pellets and avoiding each other altogether. The game took a sudden turn when Bradley went on the offensive after grabbing another power pellet and eating Lew’s PacMan to end the match.
Bradley won the match 2-1, but the game also kept track of the total number of pellets each player accumulated and Lew came out well ahead.
“So it’s kind of a push, right?,” joked Lew.
Result: Bradley wins the PacMan Battle Royale 2-1 to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three.
Game 2: Pop a Shot Basketball
You’ve likely played this game before or seen it in some bar. Each player gets 60 seconds to hit as many shots as possible.
While Bradley and Lew were waiting to take their turn, a fan approached Lew and told him he was the reason he started playing poker.
“It was just your old videos and stuff, maybe five years,” the fan said. “Always wanted to meet you.”
The pair posed for a photograph and Bradley played the role of photographer. Lew, who has developed a loyal following on Twitch, enjoys the opportunity to engage with fans at live events.
— Ricky G (@ratedGTO) November 1, 2016
“It’s a big part of what I do. People come up to me all the time and say hi or ask me a question,” said Lew. “It’s fun. I don’t mind it all.”
The StarsFun Zone has been running daily high score progressive contests with the best score so far being 104. It was clear just seconds in to the Bradley vs. Lew match that the record was in no danger.
Bradley missed his first 12 shots, some not even reaching the rim, finally hitting one to get on the board. Lew had already put up 18 points. Lew continued to build his score while Bradley flailed away in a desperate attempt to catch up in the last ten seconds when made shots were suddenly worth three points. It didn’t matter.
Result: Lew wins easily, 35-21 to tie the best-of-three match at one win apiece.
Game 3: Foosball
“So, uh, you foos?,” Bradley asked Lew.
“I mean, I’ve played before, yeah,” said Lew.
“Cool, let’s make that the third game,” said Bradley.
Lew didn’t know what was coming.
“I’m just a super competitive person. When I get into something, I do everything I can to become the best at it,” said Lew. “So when I decided I wanted to play more live tournaments, it wasn’t about anything but wanting to get better and better at it.”
Bradley opened up a 4-0 lead before Lew realized what was happening. The next few minutes were a bit of a blur for the Team PokerStars Online Pro.
“I need to at least get one goal here,” said Lew.
Lew’s first live poker tournament win came over five years in Macau as he outlasted 574 other players to win the HK$30,000 ($3,865 US) buy-in Asia-Pacific Poker Tour Macau Main Event. He’s shifted more of his attention to live tournaments that allow him to also stream online play, so Macau and Australia are popular choices.
“Sometimes the schedule is a little tough,” said Lew. “The PokerStars tournament schedule is more focused on the European and Canadian time zones so sometimes I’m getting up at 1 am to play an online schedule. It’s not always easy.”
Probably easier than this foosball match.
Bradley scored the next three goals to shut out Lew and take the third and final match.
Final score: Bradley 10, Lew 0. Bradley wins the best-of-three 2-1.
Lew’s pain – if there was any – didn’t last long. He immediately went on to take on fellow streamer Jonathan Little in a first-to-five sit-n-go match streamed on Twitch. Lew ended up winning that 5-1 to finish his day off on a winning note.