Lex Veldhuis’s early days of poker meant staying up late grinding the virtual poker felts trying to get his status up to the ultimate PokerStars level of Super Nova elite where the rewards and free cash come thick and fast from the esteemed poker site that rewards loyalty and continuous play.
In his recent poker blog Lex Veldhuis explains how he mainly spent the majority of his life on the computer grinding while occasionally taking time out to play in some live tournaments. Being Dutch he talks about how he bluffed his way through tournaments such as the Master Classics of Poker, which is held in the Holland Casino located in the city of Amsterdam.
The problem was that soon enough his fame would mean that other players would start to take note that Lex had a tendency to compulsively bluff. This was a call sign for the Dutch player to tighten up his game.
Tighter play didn’t suit Lex as he began to miss opportunities where maybe he could have bluffed at the right time. This led him to a deeper study of the game of poker, which is now his main source of income. Being a pro means studying your hand ranges and that includes bluff ranges. Getting this right was essential for Lex to improve as a poker player.
With his tighter plays and lack of creditability, when he does have a hand, he gets to take down some big pots. For example, if he bets straight out after flopping trips with two sevens on the board while holding a seven, he gets called. Most people would try to slow play this situation and Lex knows that. He instead bets and uses his reputation for being a bluffer to get calls out of those that don’t believe he has the goods to take to showdown.
One lesson Lex has had to learn is that even a well-timed tactical bluff is not always going to win him the pot. He’d still get called even after picking the right time to bluff, and when he enquired as to why they called him, the reply would be “because of your crazy image”. It seems as soon as you are labelled with an image in poker, that image sticks and so Lex has had to learn to play poker using his image as part of his strategy.
Watch Lex in action pulling off a few bluffs in a WSOP 2009 vid.