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For 1,000 hours over 100 consecutive days, Lukas ‘RobinPoker’ Robinson streamed online poker on Twitch. Think about that for a moment. That’s ten hours a day glued to your computer. Ten hours a day spent inside. Ten hours a day where your only respite from being on camera is the hourly five-minute bathroom breaks.
Not only did he complete the challenge, Robinson smashed it in ways he couldn’t have imagined when he first conceived the idea. Now he’s slowly adjusting back to life outside of his self-imposed bubble.
“I needed some time to chill when it was over as I was wrecked, but I’m feeling better,” he said on a call from his new home, a flat on the Isle of Man he recently moved into with his girlfriend. “The first few days after were weird, my body wasn’t used to it. I did the whole challenge from my tiny bedroom. It’s crazy looking back on it.”
To trace the origins of Robinson’s poker dreams and understand why someone would be willing to endure such a test, we have to go back to 2009 when he was just an 11-year-old schoolboy. When asked what he wanted to be when he was older, Robinson proclaimed: “I want to be a top poker player.”
Happy Monday people.
Believe and achieve.
12 years in the making. pic.twitter.com/0qc3kNUT0W
— RobinPoker (@RobinPoker_) March 29, 2021
“I grew up admiring my dad, uncles, and grandad,” he says. “I’d watch my grandad play online poker and all of them would play home games. I was never allowed to watch but I remember thinking I couldn’t wait to be old enough to play with them all.”
But as he got older, his ideal career became a pipedream. “I stopped saying I wanted to play poker because it didn’t seem realistic,” he says. “I thought you had to be a super high roller. But when I saw streamers playing similar stakes to me, I was inspired by that.”
In September 2019, Robinson traveled to London for Lex Live, a Twitch community event organized by streamer extraordinaire Lex Veldhuis. “I hadn’t even started streaming yet but I went to meet people and to ask the streamers for advice,” he says. “I met Arlie Shaban for the first time there and learned about his challenge.”
Shaban’s Twitch challenge a few years prior consisted of streaming 1,000 hours in 125 consecutive days, a lofty ambition even for someone with Shaban’s relentless energy. “It seemed impossible to me, but in the back of my mind I also thought I could beat it,” Robinson admits.
With 12 months left on his job contract, Robinson dedicated 2020 to getting his stream up and running, to see if he could potentially do it full time. He started with a $400 bankroll and 12 months later had grinded it up to $5,500 playing the micro-stakes. “I absolutely loved streaming, but it was hard because I was working eight hours a day then streaming for up to eight hours at night,” he says.
He required some inspiration and found it in an interview with Colin O’Brady, a former professional triathlete who overcame a devastating leg injury that could have prevented him from ever walking normally again. “I was so inspired by his story,” says Robinson. “I’ve always wanted to do something with my life, to be remembered, to stand out, to do something that I love. So, I started to plan how I would do it.”
For the next three months, with the support of his friends and family, Robinson meticulously planned every detail, from what he was going to eat each day to how he’d exercise and what tournaments he would play.
One detail he couldn’t plan was how his poker results would pan out. “I got myself in good shape, but I knew the mental side of the challenge would be the hardest part,” he says. “I’d never played poker full time, so I’d never had to deal with a big downswing before.”
While the first week of the challenge went swimmingly, the next couple couldn’t have gone worse. He ended up losing a large chunk of his bankroll and the fear of going broke during the challenge began to intensify.
Then this happened.
“That clip of me went poker viral and I ended up on the BBC and LadBible, it was insane,” he says. “The Isle of Man is quite a small place so when you do something different and end up in the press, the word definitely gets around.”
But following the triumphant high were some crashing lows in the form of a $10,000 downswing. “For the last five weeks of the challenge I was losing every day, it was brutal,” he says. “I couldn’t take a day off and I didn’t have time to study either. There was definitely a chance I could have gone broke late on.”
With just two more days to go until the challenge was complete, Robinson was praying for one last big moment, one final score to lift his graph out of the mire. He got it in the form of a fourth-place finish in a $55 PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker event, good for $22,852–his largest ever score.
$22,000 BIGGEST EVER SCORE!!!!
What a stream! pic.twitter.com/lkb7YaM7Tm
— RobinPoker (@RobinPoker_) April 12, 2021
“Honestly, it couldn’t have gone better,” he says. “The timing was mad.”
Robinson began the challenge with an average audience of 20 viewers and an ambitious goal to reach 500 Twitch subscribers. He ended it with an average audience in the hundreds and more than 1,000 subs.
So, what’s next for one of Twitch poker’s best up-and-comers? “My aim is to get to the high stakes,” Robinson tells us. “It’s not realistic to say you want to be one of the best players because streaming takes away so much time. But I’d love to be one of the biggest streamers and to be respected for the grind I’ve put in.”
And the grind is far from over. “This isn’t the end,” he says. “I’m not just going to step back now. I’m going to work even harder. Just maybe not 1,000 hours in 100 days-hard.”