Video Vibes: Lex Veldhuis Talks About His Role in PokerStars’ New ‘Level Up With Lex’ Feature

Lex Veldhuis spoke with PokerScout about his role with PokerStars new "Level Up With Lex" training tool and the feedback so far.

PokerStars launched the “Level Up With Lex” training option in early December. The feature gives players personalized strategy advice from site ambassador Lex Veldhuis using artificial intelligence and personalized videos.

Level Up WIth Lex offers a high-tech approach to honing a player’s skills. Veldhuis’s tips focus on improvement and education based on that player’s actual playing style. 

After two months, players from around the world have had a chance to check out the feature. Veldhuis recently spoke with PokeScout about Level Up and his role in developing the strategy tool.

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A unique PokerStars training development

Level Up With Lex offers PokerStars players their own virtual coach. The technology reads and analyzes hand histories to detect mistakes as players play at the online tables.

Veldhuis believes the feature doesn’t just offer players a chance to improve, but is also an entertaining way for players to work on their skills.

“I think what really sets Level Up With Lex apart is that it’s a player-supporting tool that makes the community’s experiences in poker more pleasurable and fun,” he says, “while giving them highly personalized advice that’s easy to take on board, using innovative technology.”

The option can also be especially helpful to new players and shorten the time needed to see tangible results.

“I think that when you start playing poker it can be very daunting,” he says. “What hands do you play? What’s the strategy for a good starting hand – especially in real money games? I think the learning curve can be quite imposing.”

Veldhuis also likes the personalized aspect – giving players a coach in their corner.

“I think something that can help you not feel alone is getting the video from Level Up With Lex that points out some mistakes,” he says. “It also triggers a little bit of thinking about the depth of the strategy and really shows the depth of the game.”

Lending his voice

As one of the most popular Twitch poker streamers, educating other players is a big part of Veldhuis’s platform. PokerStars thought those aspects made the Dutch poker pro a good fit.

He also likes new players being able to watch one of his Level Up strategy videos and then heading to his Twitch stream to ask for even more advice.

“I think it’s a really cool first step to show them that they can find more information elsewhere, be helped and taught, and that they can share their interest in poker with like-minded people,” he says.

The actual video and voice production was a lengthy process. Beyond recording, he also made suggestions on voice lines and helped work on the wording in certain contexts.

“But all the learning content was done by the wonderful team that has a lot of experience working with the tool, knowing what works best and giving the right information for players,” Veldhuis says.

“I did about 20 hours of voice recording, which was quite funny. I must admit, it felt a little bit awkward at first – being on a Zoom call with four other people and having to say the line three or four times with different types of emotions. It was a fun process.”

The Level Up With Lex host battling it out at the live poker tables. The new toolk has received positive feedback so far. (photos courtesy PokerStars)

A helping hand

Educating other players has always been a part of Veldhuis’s platform. That motivation may come from his own days as a beginner in the game.

Early in his career while playing $1/$2 tables, Veldhuis wrote to a few poker pros asking for some advice. Some actually responded and Veldhuis found that extremely motivational and appreciated their efforts. The Level Up With Lex feature now allows him to extend some of his own efforts to help other players as well. The response may even serve as a springboard for even more strategy content from Veldhuis.

“It was an ‘all in this together’ kind of feeling and I think that’s really powerful,” he says. “I already have that through Twitch because I give people a lot of advice, which I enjoy, but Level Up With Lex is in a more traditional educational way.

“It’s not as reactive as when I’m streaming live, I’m speaking and interacting with the audience. Level Up With Lex is actually something that people use without me knowing and the most surprising thing is that it’s really triggered some sort of creativity for me and a sense of new things I would like to try.

Feedback and leveling up

There’s no shortage of strategy content available to players. However, Level Up brings something new to an online poker platform. Players get a video review of their play right in the software client.

So far, Veldhuis has been pleased with some of the feedback he’s received on the feature. For example, a friend playing Spin & Go’s and watched the video advice.

The player found the option a non-intrusive way of receiving feedback and a nice way to examine his playing habits.

“He said what it showed in the video was that what he was doing was actually a big mistake and he felt the challenge to play better next time,” Veldhuis says. “So that was pretty much the best feedback I could have gotten, so I was glad to hear that, and online in the Twitch chat I’ve had community members who have had experience with it and really liked it too.”

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Appealing to new players

Level Up is currently available for players at PokerStars Sit & Go tables. The company continues taking in feedback from players. For now, the tool is meant for beginners looking to improve their experience.

As more operators look to bring in new players and appeal to recreational players, Level Up With Lex offers a unique part of those efforts. The tool is meant to make players’ first poker experiences more pleasurable, safe, and fun.

Those who see improvements have a better chance of cashing in tournaments. That offers operators a chance to keep more players in the game and having fun.

“Generally, the thing I hear is that it’s a playful way to try and get better and I really think that poker should be like that,” Veldhuis says. “I think if you keep it as easy access for people and give them tips and point out bigger mistakes in a playful way, I think that goes a long way. So I’m really glad it’s being received that way.”

Lex Veldhuis encourages players to visit his Twitch channel and offer their own feedback on Level Up With Lex. he notes: “I have a very welcoming, chilled community, so there’s always plenty of advice from them as well.”

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Poker Sensei: ‘Level Up With Lex’ Offers PokerStars Players Some Personal Coaching From a Pro

PokerStars is now offering players a chance to sharpen their skills with site ambassador Lex Veldhuis. The new “Level Up With Lex” feature allows players to ramp up their poker strategy and hone their poker skills.

The new offering allows online poker players to receive personalized videos from one of the most well-known faces in poker. The high-tech approach bases advice on a player’s own habits at the table.

“Personalization of our players’ experience and making their time with us more beneficial is at the heart of this innovation,” PokerStars managing director and commercial officer of poker, product, and innovation Severin Rasset said in a news release.

“We wanted to give our players a seamless and interesting way to improve and learn. When people are improving and progressing their skills, they generally enjoy the experience more and this is great for the game. This is the first large-scale, consumer-facing use of artificial intelligence for online poker and we are truly excited to bring this to our players who get the benefit of learning from Lex and one of the most sophisticated tools in online gaming.”  

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PokerStars offers players their own virtual mentor

The new feature allows players to have their own virtual poker coach with Veldhuis offering some guidance.

“Lex Veldhuis provides clear, simple and personalized poker advice videos based on a player’s real money Spin & Go game, helping to improve their skills in a safe environment and create more winning moments,” PokerStars notes of Level Up with Lex.

Veldhuis’s tips focus on improvement and education and the entire concept comes after quite a bit of work for PokerStars. Each piece of advice is based on data generated by the site’s proprietary machine learning platform.

The technology reads and analyzes hand histories to detect mistakes. For example if a player struggles with playing on the button, that player might have advice on being more aggressive in that spot.

Each piece of advice is therefore correct and true to that individual player’s actions at the table.

PokerStars officials say the company recognized and invested in the potential of machine learning early on. The site’s proprietary technologies have been active for some time and play a key role in site security.

This technology allows Stars to police poker tables to protect the integrity of the game and ensure a level playing field. The goal is to enhance the customer experience and the Level Up feature now expands the use of this technology.

The personalized videos can be created by opting in on “The Rail” in the PokerStars client. The videos can then be viewed there or received via email or push notification. Players can select their own communication preferences in the settings area.

A quick look at Lex

Those taking advantage of “Level Up with Lex” will receive advice from someone with some real skins on the wall. Veldhuis is one of the most well-known and successful players in poker and has the most popular poker stream on Twitch.

Online, the Dutch poker pro has scored big in major tournaments like the Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP) and the World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP).

In 2020, Veldhuis’s Twitch stream reached a personal record of 58,543 concurrent viewers watching his SCOOP Main Event High run. He also has $687,955 in the live poker arena as well.

The new skill-building service now adds yet another interesting aspect to his poker resumé.

“Level Up With Lex aims to help the PokerStars community develop their skills in a unique way and I’m proud to be part of this innovation,” Veldhuis said.

“Learning poker strategy as a beginner can be challenging as there’s so many resources out there. But Level Up With Lex gives clear and simple advice that’s easy to take on board, meaning players get the most out of their time at the tables. It’s taken a lot of hard work and effort and I’m looking forward to seeing players benefitting from this technology.”

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ONLINE POKER STRATEGY: Advice from PokerStars Streamer and Series Host Lex Veldhuis

Lex Veldhuis spoke with PokerScout about his role with PokerStars new "Level Up With Lex" training tool and the feedback so far.

The “Lex Not Live” tournament series continues through the weekend at PokerStars with buy-ins ranging from $11 to $55. The series is hosted by site ambassador Lex Veldhuis and stresses a community aspect seen on Twitch streams.

One of the most popular Twitch Poker streamers, Veldhuis has almost $700,000 in live tournament winnings and more online. A poker pro for 16 years, he’s been streaming his action for the last five years. He spends about $60,000 a month competing in online tournaments.

As Lex Not Live continues, the PokerStars ambassador spoke with PokerScout this week to offer some strategy advice for online players.

♠♠♠ For a complete preview and schedule of the Lex Not Live series, click here. ♠♠♠

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Transitioning to online poker

Online poker exploded over the last year and a half. That has included new players jumping in the game. What are some concepts new and intermediate players should keep in mind when adjusting to online poker?

Veldhuis says live poker is an information game and the same is true for online poker. But the online version features a different sense of information.

“You don’t see people and you don’t have the social aspects,” he says. “In online poker, you try to look much more for betting patterns, for instance, or how quickly somebody acts. So it’s a little bit more of a ‘numbers information’ stream.”

Online poker players can get in the action with PokerStars streamer Lex Veldhuis in the “Lex Not Live” series from May 18-23.

Online poker also features much more action than live poker. Hands move faster and some live players may get caught out of their comfort zone. It’s important not to take on more than a player can handle.

“I think that live players can sometimes be caught out in online poker as they can play too many tables when they play online,” Veldhuis says, “because they get super excited and then all of a sudden they’re playing six tournaments, and they’re not playing their best on all of them. So, I think that’s something they should take into account.”

Avoiding common bankroll mistakes

As players go online, some may be tempted to play bigger buy-in events hoping for a large score. Veldhuis recommends avoiding this pitfall. Stay within your bankroll to gradually move up as a player finds success.

“I think that a lot of people jump in a bit too high because you can play more games and can play games at the same time,” he says. “It’s easier to play a little bit lower and better.

“If you go to a live tournament, you may normally play a $200 tournament. You travel to a live tournament so that’s worth it, right. But if you play online and play a similar buy-in, you don’t get that whole trip for it and you can play multiple ones at the same time for that buy-in.”

Players who may be accustomed to playing $200 events in a live setting may not be at the same level online. Multiple buy-ins at that level may sink a bankroll because the action moves so quickly. A few quick eliminations can deplete those poker funds.

“It’s a new beast that you’re trying to approach, so if I was a new player online, I would definitely step down a few levels,” he says. “See what it’s like, play a few tournaments at the same time and not too many. Online and live are two different games, and I think it’s good to approach that with care.”

Lex Veldhuis battling it out at the live tables of the European Poker Tour.

Strategy advice for playing new games

Lex Not Live features some unique games many players may not have played, such as Fusion and 6+ Hold’em. How should players who have never played them before approach these games?

Veldhuis says many players jumping in these events during Lex Note Live will actually be in the same boat.

“The good thing about these games and these tournaments specifically is that a lot of the players that are playing will be community players that watch Twitch a lot and that go to Lex Live,” he says. “So that means that you’re not going to play against people that grind Six-Card PLO or play Fusion a lot.

“There’s a lot of people in these tournaments that are discovering the game for the first time, so that makes it a little bit more of a level playing field.”

For those completely new, Veldhuis suggests reading through the rules thoroughly. Consider some possible strategies as you adjust to the new format.

“Don’t play too many tables and just play and pay attention to what happens on the table,” he says. “See how other people do and what their strategies are, and see if you can pick up something interesting from that.”

Lex Not Live also features lower buy-in levels with most events priced at $11. This offers players a chance to try something new without breaking the bank.

“Also, new games give you a pretty cool perspective on a different way a poker game can be played,” Veldhuis says, “which sometimes gives you also some inspiration for a No Limit Hold’em game, for instance.”

Moving from No Limit Hold’em to PLO

A few events in Veldhuis’s series feature Pot Limit Omaha (PLO). The game continues to grow in popularity and he offered some advice for Hold’em players looking to play. 

“It’s a completely different game, a lot of people go into PLO with a No Limit Hold’em mindset,” he says. “They check to the raiser a lot or to the person who bet the previous street. But PLO’s a very dynamic game. The board changes a lot. The board favors different players throughout the whole hand.

“A four-card hand in PLO from the big blind covers completely the lower part of the board, so there’s a lot of possibilities there to lead at a pot on the turn or the river if straights get to the board. That’s just a specific example where you normally would check to a raiser in No Limit Hold’em.”

In PLO, bet sizes should also be a lot bigger, he says. Hands have a higher percentage to beat another PLO hand than a random Hold’em hand against a random Hold’em hand. 

“You’re almost never drawing dead,” Veldhuis says. “You have a big percentage to win hands. That also means that when you have a good hand you have to protect those hands. Try to look at the game not with a Hold’em mindset but be open minded.

“Again, look at what you see around you. A lot of times when you’re discovering a new game, if someone does something super annoying to you, that means that you can also try to employ that strategy.”

For example, a player may bet the pot every time there’s a straight on the board on the turn. You continue to fold two pairs in spots like this. That’s something to consider doing yourself.

Veldhuis stresses to play with an open mind and don’t think too much with a No Limit Hold’em brain.

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Advantages of playing online and watching Twitch streams

Obviously Veldhuis is a fan of online poker. Those new to the game have a chance to get more experience at a quicker pace.

Players can see more hands, and it’s simpler to just sit down and play immediately. There’s also no need or cost to travel.

Twitch viewers can also learn while watching others play. Watching a stream like Veldhuis’s offers players some new perspectives on the game. Many of the more popular streamers are winning players with experience and have a lot to offer.

“One thing that I think will teach you a lot more when you watch is to try and look at a hand and think to yourself, ‘what would I do here before the streamer explains it?’” Veldhuisa says. “You see a turn card, ‘what would I do? Would I bet here?’

“And be honest to yourself. I think if the Twitch streamer is talking and you’re just listening to the words and you’re like, ‘well, yeah, super logical to bet this turn,’ even though you wouldn’t really be able to form an opinion about that on your own or to come up with a strategy.”

The process can be very interactive. Players should be amenable to new perspectives and strategies, Veldhuis says.

“I think one of the most important things in poker learning is keeping an open mind and not trying to put a label on something immediately if you think something’s good or bad just because you’re not familiar with it,” Veldhuis says. “From an educational point of view, I think that’s a really important thing to keep in mind.”

He believes that advice includes being open to new games. Seeing some strategies and some games may inspire a player to branch out with new ideas in other games.

“If you like to explore new things in poker, going back to No Limit Hold’em after that will kind of reignite your passion for it and your interest in it,” he says. “It’s just fun because there are so many different forms of poker.

“You know the basic rules, you know the hand strengths, and there’s more than one game, and I think it’s important to keep discovering that. And that’s fun with smaller tournament series as well.”

*** Photos courtesy PokerStars/Neil Stoddart

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‘Lex Not Live’ Promises Tournament Action, Plenty of Extras & Twitch Streaming at PokerStars

Online poker players can get in the action with PokerStars streamer Lex Veldhuis in the “Lex Not Live” series from May 18-23.

Online poker players looking to get in the action with PokerStars ambassador and streamer Lex Veldhuis are in luck. The “Lex Not Live” series is back for its second running on the site from May 18-23.

The schedule includes at least three tournaments each day with 18 total events with buy-ins ranging from $11 to $55. Players will find a variety of formats and a host of PokerStars community activities.

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Highlights from ‘Lex Not Live’ at PokerStars

Those looking to jump in the Lex Not Live series will find a plethora of unique poker variants. Some of those include:

The series also includes Fusion, a PokerStars hybrid of Hold’em and Omaha. In this game, players start with two hole cards and potentially end with four.

Beyond those options, several tournament styles will be offered. Some of those include:

  • Zoom, including a heads-up version
  • Progressive Knockout (PKO) bounty events
  • Win the Button
  • FU Flipout, all-in shootout event

The $33 Main Event highlights the series on May 23. The $55 High Roller should draw plenty of interest as well on May 19. Here’s a look at the complete schedule.

2021 PokerStars “Lex Not Live”

DateEventBu-in
May 18PLO Lex Veldhuis Open$33
May 18NLHE PKO$22
May 186+ Hold'em$11
May 19NLHE/PLO PKO$22
May 19High Roller$55
May 196-Card PLO$11
May 20Total Knockout Heads-up Zoom$22
May 20PKO Zoom$22
May 21Community day – all day
May 22Win the Button$11
May 22Deepstack$22
May 22FU Flipout$11
May 22Fusion$22
May 23NLHE$22
May 23NLHE/PLO PKO$22
May 23Main Event$33
May 23Second Chance$22
May 23NLHE PKO$11
 

Plenty of satellite action planned

Along with lower-geared buy-ins, players will find plenty of satellites. These feature even smaller buy-ins and allow players of all bankrolls to get involved.

Main Event qualifiers start at just $1. However, players must have their Twitch and PokerStars accounts linked and enter a daily password.

The password changes every day and will be released on Veldhuis’s Twitch channel. 

Those making it through the $1 Step 1 satellites move on to a $5.60 Step 2 event. Players can then earn a Main Event ticket if they make it through that step.

Players with Twitch-linked accounts can also win PokerStars chests throughout the series. Daily Chest Drops feature awards ranging from $1 satellite tickets to $33 Main Event entries.

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More promotions in the works

Even more is planned for the series beyond the tournaments offered. As part of the “community” dynamics, a “Mandatory Discord Call Home Game” is also planned.

To participate, players need to register in advance. Those taking part will be on a voice call with their table mates for the entire tournament.

“It’s not ‘live,’ but it’s about as close as it gets,” PokerStars notes in a new release.

A series “off day” is set for May 21, but more fun events are still planned. Several community-focused activities are scheduled including online video games and a movie watch party.

There should be plenty of fun for players who enjoy the community created at Twitch. Recreational players may also enjoy the lower-priced buy-ins and fun events throughout the series.

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