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Twitch star Arlie Shaban: “I didn’t even know people studied poker”

Twitch star Arlie Shaban: “I didn’t even know people studied poker”

There aren’t many people in poker like Arlie Shaban.

He’s a workhorse (Shaban streamed more hours than any other poker streamer throughout 2018 and 2019).

He’s audacious (to win a Platinum Pass, PokerStars put Shaban through the wringer with the 12 labors of Arlie).

He’s a true character, the likes of which old-school poker fans yearn for (Shaban achieved 50,000 unique viewers on a recent stream).

And he’s been crushing recently, most notably taking down a PokerStars Blowout Series $22 Progressive Knockout Turbo event with 15,500 entries for a career-best $19,707 score in January (Monday 18).

But just five years ago, Arlie Shaban was just like most wannabe poker grinders. He played a lot, sure. But he never worked on his game.

In fact, he didn’t even realise people studied poker.

“For all the newer players out there, here’s the best advice I ever got when I was recreational,” Shaban tells me the day after his $19,707 victory. “It was from one of my best friends in the world, Kevin Martin.

“He was signed to PokerStars at the time. I messaged him and I was like: ‘Buddy, how are you so good at poker?’ I’d probably played a million or two million more hands of poker than him because I played all day, every day, but he was miles ahead of me. I wanted to know how he did it.”

Martin responded with an answer that will seem elementary to serious poker players in 2021.

“He said: ‘Well, what does your study routine look like?’ And honestly, I didn’t even know people studied. I didn’t even know it was a thing. I was like: ‘What do you mean study?’”

The two of them giggled a bit, but Martin was adamant that if Shaban studied his ass off, he could improve at poker and rise up from the micro stakes.

The first person Shaban reached out to was a very good choice indeed: BBZ coach and online poker GOAT, Jonathan “apestyles” Van Fleet.

“After I started studying apestyles’ coaching material, I went from a break-even player to making $25,000 profit from $16.50 and below games. No turbo’s, no hypers, no satellites into bigger games.”

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Shaban set himself strict bankroll management goals and vehemently stuck to them.

“Apestyles taught me about bankroll management, game selection, setting rules and guidelines for yourself that you know are going to help you attain success.”

But when he started winning, his study routine dwindled.

“I go through weird sprees with studying then streaming really hard. For the first six months of 2020, I was studying really hard. But then it started to drop off.”

One thing which inspired Shaban to put more effort into evolving his poker game was reading Maria Konnikova’s excellent 2020 book, The Biggest Bluff.

“Konnikova didn’t even know how many cards were in the deck when she started. Then she began a very rigorous study routine and she ended up winning an EPT event [the $1,050 PokerStars National Championship] for $84,000 within her first year.

Maria Konnikova’s book The Biggest Bluff documents her journey from poker novice to National Champion

“I remember talking to my roommates, BetOnDrew and John Pardy, and I was like: ‘What the fuck are we doing, guys? Maria didn’t know anything about poker, but she studied her ass off and won a big event within a year.’ It really motivated me to study more.”

The first person he turned to? Apestyles.

“As soon as I found out he was working with BBZ, I was like: ‘holy crap’,” says Shaban. “Apestyles is a genius, he’s helped me a lot.”

So in December 2020, Shaban signed up for BBZ Poker.

“I knew I had to get my hands on BBZ content. I’ve been devouring it. I had a good call with Jordan in December. It’s really fresh content for me and there’s endless material for me to go through.”

Shaban has been putting in a ton of work on his game ever since. “I worked my way through both the apestyles bundle and the BBZ bundle. There’s so much amazing content.

“I feel like BBZ has given me a new level of confidence. It really fires you up. It gives you all that confidence. Seeing how Jordan and apestyles approach the game, it just motivates me.”

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Suggestions for new players

According to Shaban, if you think you can just play, play, play and get better at poker in 2021, you’re sadly mistaken.

“Maybe you could have done that 15 or 20 years ago, but you’d have to be a super genius to reach high stakes today without going through a training program.”

Shaban believes you have to go through a course, like the BBZ bundle, and learn from players who have done it before, then you can start to analyse your own hands effectively.

If you can’t afford training material right now, there are a bunch of free resources available to you too.

“Andrew Neeme and Brad Owen have amazing YouTube channels if you just want to learn some basics and get a feel for poker. Then there’s Twitch Poker which has a bunch of streamers streaming their gameplay every day on there. There’s also Twitter, on which you can follow some top pros. You can also get involved in the poker discussions on Discord channels.”

There aren’t many people in poker like Arlie Shaban. But if you want to win like him, you better start studying.


If you’d like to become a winning poker player in 2021, BBZ Poker has got you covered. Sign up for our Daily Seminars today.

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