Lex Q&A - The Quarathon, Poker, and Streaming

May 25 2020

Lex recently became the most viewed poker streamer on Twitch, getting 58,799 concurrent viewers during his May 20th broadcast. He was also the #1 ranked stream on Twitch worldwide at the same time.

Now, there’s no denying that Lex earned those views by being entertaining. I mean, what’s more exciting than watching a dude put his own money on the line and then tripling it — or crying out in agony when he loses it? Lex is also known for being super likeable and having a friendly community.

And we especially need a supportive and friendly community now more than ever. Most of us are stuck at home, no longer seeing our co-workers (miss you Blue!), our friends, even our families. But that also speaks to why Lex and other streamers may be getting more viewers than ever before — Twitch has become the answer to quarantine.

Streamers understand that they have a big responsibility during the pandemic, providing a safe and happy place for people to escape the monotony and create personal connections while being entertained. But some streamers are stepping up more than others. One of those streamers really taking on this role with pride is Lex.

This started before our Quarathon, but the Quarathon solidified his important role in this pandemic and really showed him just how valuable his stream can be for people looking for entertainment and happiness.

What exactly did you do for the Quarathon?

I had a stream planned. Pretty much an eight to nine hour stream, playing games with viewers, viewer interaction, all with no delay (poker usually has a delay). There were giveaways and reaching donation goals, where if I reached “X” amount I’d do a certain type fo stream. Team Liquid provided me with lots of gear for that.

You were able to raise nearly $6,000 towards supporting people affected by COVID-19. How did that feel?

It feels really crazy. Coming together and doing something really nice, you can see how much it impacts people. Even people who lost their job through COVID-19 were donating, appreciating that it was going to stress workers and people at the front lines.

I always feel there’s a different vibe in the chat. People talk differently and share different stories. People are generally excited, including me. I’m hyped up all day because everything is going towards something good. It’s high energy. Lots of things happening. Afterwards, you exhale and just think about how awesome it was.

Were there any moments that stood out to you during that stream?

Massive donations. Victor, one of my best friends for the past 20 years, donated $1,750 and said, “Let’s make some new goals.” That gave my audience, in turn, a lot of things they were sweating, like certain poker streams and fun things.

A few weeks later I did a “video game only” stream because of the donation goal that was met and requested. I played VALORANT and the Final Fantasy remake as well as Mario Party and Odyssey.

During the charity stream, what was an entertaining moment that could only happen because of the charity stream atmosphere?

A friend of mine - big on the platform himself - posted on Instagram to his millions of followers that everyone should check out the stream and donate. He came in and challenged me to a game of chess. If I lost, I would have to grab another beer. If I won, he would donate another $100.

I just got put in the dumpster. It was very embarrassing. There were two moments where I was two moves away from checkmate. The chat was losing its mind. There’s a lot of chess people in my channel quite often. That was really fun because a viewer challenged me and made me put myself out there.

How did it feel being a part of a streaming event like that?

It felt special. Everybody was hosting each other and everybody was doing it together. If you look at how much money was donated… I’ve done charity streams in the past .But because this was so big and well-organized… The cool thing about Team Liquid organizing something like this is it’s so easy to participate in. That made it much more efficient and got us a lot more money to charity as well.

Why do you feel it was so important for you — and TL — to do something like this?

It’s important to know that some people aren’t as lucky with great healthcare or political systems. If you’re in a part of the world where you can go to a doctor and he’ll see you… You shouldn’t forget that's a privilege. It’s cool for people to know there’s actual money being raised to put towards help.

Let’s say you’re working in healthcare, working in a hospital helping people with possible signs of COVID. All of a sudden you get these masks from donations from gamers online… It just connects all these dots people never expect. It’s important to show you’re aware of your position and how it could be for you if you loved somewhere else.

Yeah, it’s from a group they’d never really expect. Why is it important for the streaming community to come together during the pandemic?

It highlight the good parts about it as well. There’s so many good stories to tell about gaming and people coming together. This is another example of that. It’s good to show this side as well. Gaming is not a singular experience. It’s not something you do individually. It’s something you do with friends or over the internet. People care for each other.

Gamers giving is so awesome because they’re doing it anonymously. There’s no other incentives aside from helping people. Online nicknames are donating money to a cause like this… It makes it even stronger. That’s something I’m proud to have participated in.

Because of the pandemic, have you noticed any differences in your streams?

Views have been insane really. Obviously for sad reasons. But the silver lining is that streaming and Twitch and online content provides a way for people to still be social. People come in and say they’re going stir crazy. They’re not used to sitting inside. Even people with mental health issues, they say it’s so nice to talk to you guys and have an outlet and interact and be engaged with something for multiple hours of a day.

It’s so important that there's such a strong online connection. It’s something for people to look forward to every day.

Have you noticed any differences in your chats?

My chat is pretty chill. It’s always super friendly. When somebody comes in normally and said they’d lost their job, they’re not the type to say “grow up.” They’re always supportive. But more of those stories are coming in. Some people even had COVID.

It’s heartwarming to see people immediately asking for updates. Asking how they're doing. Honestly, I’ve seen that comradery with people in real life, too. I haven’t talked to my family as much in the past. But now we’re even more up to date with everything that’s happening. I’ve noticed that with my chat as well.

Why should people tune in to watch poker on Twitch?

What’s really cool about poker on Twitch is you see people wagering money they’re putting up themselves. Fortnite tournaments have a prize pool provided by sponsors. When they’re eliminated, they’re out, but there’s no further consequence. If I put up $5K, if I get knocked out I lose that $5,000. I’m constantly putting up my own money. The sweat of money won and lost, it creates a certain tension you can’t find anywhere else on Twitch.

Okay, honestly, have you been making money or losing money on these tournaments?

I’ve been doing really well recently. A lot of people who used to play poker five to six years ago have come back due to the circumstances. But they haven’t been keeping up with meta. So it’s been softer and easier lately. That’s been working out really well for me. It’s spread out over a lot of different tournaments, but a few weeks ago I think I won around $10-$15K.

I got second in a tournament for $4,500 recently as well. That was really fun. Normally Friday is pretty slow for poker. But I had 8.5K viewers, we were drinking some beers, and there were the biggest laughs. That was so much fun. It brought the poker action together with how fun Twitch is. There’s so many people right now, hanging out with the community. It’s been great.

Writer // Olivia Richman

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