Bringing Down the Hammer: PASCOOP Winner Michael Hammers Talks Online Grinding, Twitch Streaming

April 4, 2022
Bringing Down the Hammer: PASCOOP Winner Michael Hammers Talks Online Grinding, Twitch Streaming

For some players, it’s hard to go all in as a poker pro. But Michael Hammers was dealt some bad cards during the pandemic and had to make a choice. 

The pandemic affected everyone differently and Hammers saw his IT business take a downswing. That meant more time at the online poker tables in Pennsylvania.

“I’m here playing professional poker pretty much as a direct result of the pandemic,” Hammers says. “I’ve always dabbled around. But when my IT work was not enough, I decided it was time to take poker seriously.”

Hammers started focusing heavily on the online grind about six months ago. The 37-year-old from York grinds daily on and PokerStars PA.


Online grinding

Online, Hammers goes by the online names “Laxethis” and “$toopid7”. He started his online poker career out small but is focusing on bankroll management.

Recently, a deep PokerStars run helped boost his confidence as well as his bankroll. He scored runner-up in the Sunday Special for $8,700.

Another big run came in the PASCOOP series on PokerStars. His hard work paid off as he took down the $5,000 guaranteed kickoff event. Hammers scored $1,300 and a trophy for his accomplishment. 

The poker-playing IT guy is serious about putting in the work and time to take his game to another level in 2022. 

“I plan to play as many online and live events as possible,” he says. “In this business, if you aren’t putting in the volume, you are rarely winning. And that’s no fun!”

Hammering away at live events

Michael Hammers battling at the table,.

Even though he considers himself more of an online player, Hammers has shown he has what it takes to play live as well. Since January he’s cashed in seven live tournaments.

Recently on a trip to Maryland Live for the State Poker Championships, he went on a rush with three final table appearances in three days. Those included:

  • $400 Deepstack – third for $2,937
  • $500 Mystery Bounty – fifth for $2,393
  • $200 Bounty – fifth for $1,333

Video games to Texas Hold’em

A life in poker took an interesting route for Hammers. Some friends and the video game Halo played a big role. 

“Back when Halo was big, I think it was right around when Halo 2 came out, 18 years ago, we used to get together to play,” Hammers says. “Then the house owner started setting up for $5 Texas Hold’em tournaments.

“Those games felt like the most fun I’ve ever had playing anything, thinking back – battling each other with our wits because that’s really all we had. No real understanding of the game. Just luck and guts.”

 A few years later, he made some “stoopid” cash by lending his friend some money one night at the casino. That stroke of luck brought about one of his online screen names.

“I loaned a friend $100 to play poker at Delaware Park,” he says. “He ended up hitting the bad beat jackpot for $51,700.”

Study, play, stream, repeat

While Hammers’ screen name may be Lazethis, his work ethic proves otherwise. According to online poker tracker SharkScope, he’s currently ranked 22nd in profit for 2022 at PokerStars PA.

Hammers also recently started streaming on Twitch (see his unique s5reaming setup in the lead image).

“I like streaming because it pushes my game to the best and I play a little more aggressively while online,” Hammers says. “I also like that I can promote poker and inspire others to play as well.”

Besides streaming and playing, Hammers studies and literally hits the books on his off days. 

“Books, Books, and more books,” he says. “I don’t just read them, I internalize them. I try to take two days of the week and dedicate them to studying. Usually Mondays and Tuesdays as the volume of players is usually the lowest on those days.”

Beyond that, Hammers hopes to fade away from tournaments eventually. His goal is to win enough cash to give back to others.

“My ultimate goal is to be a high stakes cash game player,” he says, “and then put the money where it can help people the most.”

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