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Poker Tournament Trail -- Lex Veldhuis

On Day 2 of EPT Barcelona Veldhuis Speaks Amassing Chips, Big Bluffs, and Always Wanting More


Lex VeldhuisLex Veldhuis has made a big impression on the PokerStars European Poker Tour Barcelona from day one. With a stack continuously among chip leaders, and at many points, the chip leader, the young man from the Netherlands changes the pace and style of the game whatever table he is sitting on.

Card Player caught up with him half-way through day 2 to find out just how he got his chips,and most importantly, to get the inside scoop on his eyebrow-raising style.

Rebecca McAdam: How is the tournament going for you?

Lex Veldhuis: It couldn’t be better, I have 300,000. It seemed like my stack was going down a bit, I lost a big pot with top two pair versus a set so I lost a lot of chips there and I really felt like I didn’t have anything going. I got moved to a different table and I turned middle pair into a huge bluff on the river. I check-raised the river all in on a K-8-3-6-9 board, and I felt he was value-betting a better hand, so I check-raised all in and he had to call 80,000, so he folded. The table thought I was crazy, so then I got two hands and I got paid off twice. It couldn’t be better.

RM: How have you been building your stack overall — has it mainly been big pots or just gradually?

LV: Well it’s usually like I try to steal so many blinds that I can afford to spew a lot, so I will steal all the blinds and then lose that in a pot where I reraise some money and they make a move on me. So until the point that I get a hand, I stay on the same level and go up half a stack, and stay on the same level and go up half a stack. And if I don’t catch any hands then I’m out in two orbits, that can happen as well.

RM: So you like to bluff a lot?

LV: Yeah, it’s fun.

RM: What kind of image do you think you have at the table?

LV: European. Like really loose, and a lot of aggression. I don’t think people give me a lot of credit.

RM: What’s your plan for the rest of the day?

LV: Eh … sit out? (laughs) Sometimes I feel like it would be better, but no, it’s a really good thing there’s a break after my two big pots, so I’m going to try and play really tight and pick my spots, get a bit more credit, because I can see myself bluffing and they’re not going to believe me anymore.

RM: Is hold’em your main game?

LV: Yeah, I play cash games which is probably my biggest problem in tournaments because like Daniel [Negreanu] wrote on his blog that I take too much risk in hands like I would in cash games, and I shouldn’t do that in tournaments, and he’s right about that, but I guess I’ll try and learn. It’s not like I have the best tournament record. It’s been going really good this year but I really have to work on that.

RM: How did you find playing with Negreanu yesterday?

LV: I like being at the table with him because I like people in a lot of pots so that they can go out of their comfort zone and make mistakes, whereas I’m used to playing a lot of pots. Daniel kind of loosens them up by min-raising and luring everybody into the pot, and then if I come right after that with big raises and they’re still used to playing flops, they’re going to go out of their comfort zone because of him, and end up in big pots versus me.

It was a really cheerful table, everyone was laughing, and we got along well, so I liked it. It relaxes me and I didn’t need my iPod so that’s good.

RM: It relaxes you? A lot of players might find playing someone like Negreanu intimidating.

LV: Yeah, well we don’t get into each other’s hair that much because we play such a different style and we’re not going to play each other’s style, so they counter each other. So when we’re in a hand it’s always a weird hand, but I mean, Daniel’s really good and I respect his game, but there are a lot of people here.

RM: Who has impressed you so far?

LV: Well if I had to name any EPT I would say Sami Kelopuro. He’s a beast, and he really made my life hell, because he plays the way I do but ten times better. So I just feel owned at my own game. A big part of it is a mental block against him, where I would make wrong decisions just because of our history. So, he’s definitely the one who impressed me the most at EPTs.

RM: Do you think your only leak is that you play tournaments like cash games?

LV: That mostly, but that’s such a big leak that it would change my whole game around, so I would really like to keep bluffing but I need to do it with a better frequency, and I need to put on the brakes better and just stay out of spots. I like to see every different kind of spot I get in as an isolated situation — “Oh this would be good here!” but then I forget that it’s not good five times in a row. That’s definitely my biggest leak, and from there we’ll see. I’ll definitely have more, but that’s definitely number one to work on.

RM: What’s your main ambition now, what would you really like to win?

LV: Everything. I want to win everything. It’s not like, “Well, maybe an EPT or something.” I want to win like five in a row. The big $40,000 WSOP final table I made, I really got a confirmation of what it is to go really deep in a tournament and I want to do that again.