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Platinum Pass winner Carlos Pal: “BBZ helps me see poker for how it actually is”

Platinum Pass winner Carlos Pal: “BBZ helps me see poker for how it actually is”

Carlos Pal, known online as “CPal90” and “CPalCR”, is a 30-year-old Software Engineer from Costa Rica. While not a full-time pro (yet), you’d never know from his results, which include winning a $30,000 PokerStars Platinum Pass, online High Rollers, and a $50K score on GGPoker.

Most recently, Pal took down two online tournaments in the same night for a combined $9,393 and followed that up with a second-place finish in the $215 Bounty Builder on PokerStars for $3,225.

Here, Pal tells us how BBZ and one-on-one coaching with Jordan has transformed his game, his results, and his outlook on poker in general.


BBZ Blog: Could you tell us about your poker journey so far?

Carlos Pal: About 10 years ago I started playing some home games with friends, then sometimes we would go to the casino to play nightly tournaments and cash games. Nothing crazy, just $20 MTTs and such. I played for a couple of years like that just recreationally, then mostly got busy with other stuff.

I didn’t really try online poker until 3-4 years ago. I heard some people talk about bankroll management and stuff and I was mostly playing for fun, but I also learned as I enjoyed the game quite a bit. I deposited around $50 and was playing $0.55 and $0.82 tourneys on PokerStars. I was actually doing quite well–I won a couple for $100-$200 and started playing $2 tourneys and so on. Back then I never really got too serious about it though. I’d eventually play bigger buy-ins and go bust, then focused on other things.

That should be quite familiar to a lot of poker players. What made you take the game more seriously?

I’d say my interest started growing around September 2017 when I won a satellite for RunItUp Reno which included accommodation, tourney entries, etc. I had never played a live tourney for more than $100 before, but that one had a $1k and $600 Main Event. I also got to play for a PokerStars Platinum Pass worth $30,000. I bricked the main events, but I managed to win the Platinum Pass event, and I qualified to play the $25K PSPC in the Bahamas in January 2019.

Carlos Pal took down a Platinum Pass (photo by Run It Up)

Once I knew I was going to play in that $25K, I knew I had to prepare. I got coached by a friend of mine–Michael Acevedo–and started consuming some poker courses. During my preparation for the event, I actually won a $1K High Roller on PokerStars for $25K, my biggest ever score at the time.

I didn’t manage to cash the $25K PSPC, but I won some money in the side events.

2019 was kind of a transition year for me. I used to play Magic the Gathering semi-professionally, so I was putting in some work there and some with poker, but nothing too serious yet.

Then in February 2020, I was in between jobs and decided to try to be serious about poker. I’ve had the itch to play full time for some time now and wanted to see how good could I do if I put some more work into it.

I had a 1st and 3rd place in the first two months for $4K and $6K, so I was feeling pretty pumped about it. I then had a few other nice scores between February and March, but then in April, I hit my highest score to date, finishing 3rd in the GGMasters on GGPoker for $50,000.

That’s incredible. How did that big win impact your attitude to poker?

Well, right away the first thing I did was look for coaching. I managed to get a score rather quickly that allowed me to keep grinding for a while and I just knew I had to get better at the game. That’s when I started looking about and found BBZ.

I was recommended the BBZ Daily Seminars and private coaching with Jordan (a.k.a. BBZ). I messaged him and we scheduled our first session in May 2020. Just one hour was good enough for me to realise the potential of my improvement if I continued to work with him. So I booked 10 weekly sessions right away. Since then I’ve pretty much had 1-hour weekly coaching with Jordan non-stop.

Which BBZ videos would you recommend?

I think the Intro to Quantitative Strategies and the Implementing Quantitative Strategies: Defending Flops videos offer insane value. I feel every single poker player who wants to get serious in the game should watch them.

The ICM Masterclass will give you a huge edge over the field, and you just can’t beat the Daily Seminars and one-on-one coaching with Jordan.

How has your outlook on poker changed since joining BBZ?

So personally I feel like BBZ has helped me see the game for how it actually is. He’s given me having a real understanding of all the theory that goes behind every single aspect of the game.

As someone who has followed Poker for 16 years, I’ve read many things and watched many others that show you the “right” way of playing poker, but the truth is a lot of it is wrong, and a lot of the work I did personally with Jordan was asking him to help me clear all that “noise” and actually comprehend the game.

BBZ at work: Jordan “bigbluffzinc” Drummond

One thing that my friend kept pushing me on was how important it is to be part of a community to get to the next level as a poker player. Now I see why he was so insistent on it. Being part of the Daily Seminars, for example, and getting that daily study in, makes you accountable. It enables you to discuss hands with other players. It helps you to learn from their study habits. It just adds so much more to your poker playing.

You recently took down two tournaments in one night, a week or so after finishing second in two events back to back. How did that feel?

Playing final tables and heads-up is night and day of how it used to be for me. I used to get super nervous on final tables when the pressure is on and all the money is up top, but after having a couple of sessions with Jordan on heads up play, it’s a whole different world when I’m playing now. I just feel so much more comfortable. After watching the ICM Masterclass, my confidence level is super high when battling on FTs.

I’m almost positive I’ve never won two tournaments on the same day. It felt pretty awesome. It felt even more special as I basically hadn’t won any tournaments for two and a half months, so to break that 2nd-place streak with not one but two tournaments made me feel awesome.

(Photo by Run It Up)

What would you say to anyone considering studying with BBZ?

I’d say just go for it. There’s plenty of content and ways for almost any player from any stakes to try it out and see if works for you. The bundles at $100 are insane value. Basically, any product that you buy from BBZ I can say with confidence, they worked very hard at it for it to be high quality and you will not be disappointed.

Also, I feel like BBZ’s products are really fairly priced, which allows you to get a taste for it without spending hundreds of dollars without knowing what you are in for.

What’s next for you?

As great as the scores are for me, it doesn’t really change a whole lot in regards to what’s next.

February marks one year of me getting serious about poker, but I’m still only a part-time poker player for the time being. For now, I just wanna keep working hard with BBZ and try to reach my goal of becoming a full-time poker player. I feel like I’m an entirely different and better player now, but there’s still a lot for me to work on and a LOT more to learn from BBZ!


Do you want to start winning too? There’s a BBZ Product for every skill level.

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BBZ Bundle

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The BBZ Bundle is packed with a diverse selection of some of the most commonly misplayed and overlooked spots in MTT Poker. Head Coach Jordan Drummond systematically guides you through specific, interactive lectures, giving you an inside perspective on how the top pros at BBZ Poker are plugging their leaks and boosting their win-rate.

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