Randy ‘Nanonoko’ Lew turns videogame skills into pro poker career
Randy ‘Nanonoko’ Lew has always had a passion for video games. While studying Managerial Economics at UC Davis in California, Lew enjoyed playing competitively on the national circuit. His title of choice was Marvel vs. Capcom 2, but he was also talented in other beat ‘em up titles. He auditioned for the Capcom TV reality show Cross Assault back in 2012, where Team Street Fighter was pitted against Team Tekken.
During a gaming day at UC Davis, Lew had a chance encounter with poker player Hevad Khan. Noting the number of players who were making the switch from video games to online poker, Lew decided to check out what all the fuss was about.
After opening an account on PokerStars, Lew chose his now well-known ‘Nanonoko’ screen name, and soon discovered a talent that would gain him a serious reputation in the online poker industry. His ability to make fast decisions and quick-fire reactions were learnt from his time playing video games, but these skills translated onto the virtual felt to make him a high-volume, multi-tabling ace.
“In the beginning I made a lot of deposits and it didn’t work out too well. That kind of drove me to work that little bit harder,” said Lew. “Trial and error was my way of approaching things. I would try tactics and if one aspect didn’t work then I would try a different one and when I do that I start to understand why one way doesn’t work and why another is correct. I would say I am one of the hardest working players in online poker.”
Lew’s hard work paid off, as he began playing up to 24 tables simultaneously. This mass multi-tabling became his signature and he soon acquired the ‘Supernova Elite VIP status multiple years. He went on to become an official member of Team PokerStars Online and set a Guinness World Record in 2012 after playing a total of 23,493 online hands in just 8 hours.
He first hit the headlines back in 2009 when he surpassed the $1 million mark for cash game earnings. Typically playing just $5/$10 games, this was a huge achievement for Lew and showed his dedication and determination to excel in the online poker world.
Along with online tournaments such as the Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP), where Lew played for the first time last year to finish in 4th place in the medium-level Main Event for $368,445, the pro has also broken into the live poker scene. His first major breakthrough came in 2011, at the Macau leg of the PokerStars Asia Pacific Poker Tour. He won $483,857 at the Main Event, which he followed up with a $108,780 win at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure High Roller just weeks later.
Lew now frequently attends both live and online major tournaments. He has nearly 15,000 followers on his Twitter page where he frequently updates his fans and shares poker advice. Now he has carved out a name for himself in the professional poker ranks, and is enjoying the spoils of his success. Lew puts it all down to his love of videogames, adding that “playing competitive video games has definitely helped me to transition into poker.”