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SCOOP champ Lex Veldhuis on why you must trust the process

SCOOP champ Lex Veldhuis on why you must trust the process

Your downswing might be bad, but it’s probably not -$250,000 bad.

That was the hole Lex Veldhuis found himself in around 18 months ago. Results-wise, nothing was going right for the streaming superstar and PokerStars Team Pro.

But every time he had a one-to-one coaching session with Jordan ‘BBZ’ Drummond in which Drummond went through his database, he was told he was doing everything right.

“He told me my numbers were better, that I’d fixed this spot, this thing was now good, blah blah blah,” Veldhuis tells us. “I’d be like, “Yeah, but I’m losing!”.

One time after hearing his stats looked great, Veldhuis laughed and told Drummond he’d just had his worst month ever. Drummond was having none of it.

“He was like: ‘Stop moaning about it. It doesn’t fucking matter. You’re doing something good. Focus on the positive.”

That’s what Veldhuis did. And today, focusing on the positive has never been easier. On Monday 13 May, he took down the $5,300 Titans event for $140K and his first Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP) title. It’s the latest in a string of recent big scores that Veldhuis has enjoyed in high-stakes tournaments.

We caught up with the BBZ Poker student and Bundle creator about how it feels to accomplish a poker goal 20 years into a career, and his advice for anyone currently in a downswing.

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Lex sits down with the BBZ Coaches

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BBZ Blog: Hey Lex. You’ve known for a long time that you’re playing at a level where results like this should be frequent. How do you battle through the variance and bad stretches when your coach is telling you you’re doing everything right?

To be really honest, when my coach is telling me I’m doing everything right, that’s the easy part about being in a downswing.

Just focus and trust the process. I trust BBZ and if he tells me I’m doing better then I’ll play better. If he tells me I’m doing something horribly wrong, then I need to look at it and that motivates me too.

But when he tells me I’m playing well, I can go into a session with confidence even when I’m in a downswing. It just shows the importance of studying and especially getting coaching.

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How important is this score in the bigger picture?

It’s really important to get scores like this because otherwise, things get very expensive. Most of my high-stakes volume is during a tournament series. I generally play anything from $11 to $2K, and then I try to satellite into $5K’s on Sundays. They’re a bit tougher outside of a series.

If I was just buying into $5K’s every Sunday I would be putting a fifth of my monthly variance into four tournaments, which just seems crazy. So from a poker pro perspective, I can’t really do that.

But during a series it’s an auto decision, I’m just going to fire everything. So pretty much my year depends on two or three tournament series.

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What advice do you have for anyone currently in a downswing?

You’re already doing so much more than other people are doing. You’re doing so much more than regulars who just play and don’t study. You’re advancing past them and it will pay off eventually.

Tournaments are a brutal grind and there’s an insane amount of variance in it. You just have to keep your head down and trust the process. Just make sure you keep studying. That’s what lets you avoid making mistakes when you’re losing.

A lot of times when people go on a downswing, it starts because they’re running bad. But then they’re not checking their play and making adjustments based on the results. So then they start playing badly, and that’s when downswings get really bad. Stay in the lab.

You now have that coveted COOP. Is it worth all the hard work and study when you finally achieve that goal?

It makes me think about so much more. I made a big fold with aces on jack-eight-seven against RomeOpro, he shoved 30 bigs over my c-bet. It made me think: Should I c-bet that board? Should I not? Should my c-bet be bigger? What is the small blind flatting range — is it correct in my head?

It’s absolutely worth it and you can tell it’s worth it because I’m not done. Getting there, winning the title, playing on a table like that just makes me think I should get there more often. You need to pique that curiosity because the moment you lose that, that’s when it starts going downhill.

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I often make this joke with my audience. Someone will ask, why do you get mad after 20 years in the game when you lose an all-in? And I say the moment I stop getting mad is the moment you should start worrying about how long I’ll be streaming.

The moment you’re not interested any more you need to realize why that is and try to get it back. If you can’t get it back, you also need to realize that poker’s probably done for you.

I’m very motivated by poker and I’m curious about what BBZ will have to say about that final table.

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