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How to move up the stakes in poker tournaments

How to move up the stakes in poker tournaments

Every tournament poker player dreams of moving up in stakes, and every tournament poker player has an excuse as to why they’re not.

“The fields are too big at the low stakes.”

That’s true. But those big low-stakes tournament fields are full of players you should be much better than.

“People don’t respect my raises like they do at mid or high stakes.”

Oh, you think people respect raises at mid to high stakes, do you? Clearly, you’ve never watched a high-stakes poker streamer. Every single hand is a 3-bet or 4-bet pot!

“I know I could beat higher stakes if only I had the bankroll, but I keep getting unlucky to some donkey who called a 100-big-blind shove with jack-four offsuit.”

That’s going to happen from time to time, sure. But no one is always unlucky. It might be time to look at your own game instead of blaming others. There’s a very good chance that there are big leaks in your game preventing you from moving up.

To help players move up the stakes in poker tournaments, Jordan “bigbluffzinc” Drummond has released the Moving Up Bundle, in which he covers every stake from $15 up to $200.

“A lot of players make the same types of mistakes,” says BBZ. “A lot of the beliefs people have are not founded on skies and rainbows and unicorns, they’re founded on solid reasoning, even if it’s flawed or incorrect. In the Bundle, I go in and identify something that you think works a certain way, but actually doesn’t work that way at all.”

With the Bundle, you’re exposed to all of the different mistakes and thought processes players encounter as they climb the ladder.

“[Everyone featured in the Bundle] has said to me that this is the most valuable coaching you’ve ever done for me,” says BBZ.

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Moving Up w/ BBZ

A guide to help you move up stakes


So, if you want to move up in stakes, we’d suggest starting with the Moving Up Bundle.

But over the past two years on the BBZ Blog, we’ve spoken to many of our students about how they moved up. Here’s what they had to say.


You’ll never move up in stakes if you keep blowing through your bankroll at your current buy-in level.

Our student Dweezy was constantly depositing and trying to “fast-track” his way to a big score. “But I was very rarely studying so I always burned through my bankroll in the process,” he says.

But in August 2022, he decided to make a change. “I always told myself that if I managed my bankroll correctly, I honestly believed I could make a decent side income from this game I love,” he says. “So I tried it out along with a more consistent study routine.”

He wanted to prove he could start from the ground up and build a bankroll the right way.

“I think a lot of people, myself included, feel poker owes them something and that we’re so unlucky and that’s why we never win. When in reality, poker is very fair to those who do things the right way and stay humble in the games they’re qualified to play.”

He bought some BBZ Poker Bundles. He watched two videos before every session. And in a short period of time, he built his bankroll from $100 to $2,200.

“Variance is a bitch, so ensuring you have to funds to handle it is crucial,” he says. “Accept it will be a grind, go back to basics, don’t be a degenerate with your bankroll, and enjoy it.”

Check out: How to break the deposit > play > bust cycle for good

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Lex Bundle

Lex sits down with the BBZ Coaches



You might feel like you’re studying hard and not seeing the results. But if you’re only studying in certain areas and neglecting those where your game needs the most work, it’ll be hard to see improvements.

Our student ZEKURA breaks it down.

“You have to put in the work to learn new concepts, in addition to having to adjust to the population,” he says. “The job needs to be done. But the material itself helps you develop much faster. If you don’t have the material, you would not have had a starting point – then you just sit there with your pants down and you do not understand where to start.”

BBZ Poker offers a wide range of study material. For ZEKURA, it started with pre-flop.

“Everything starts there, and then over to post-flop,” he says. “Then comes the details, ICM, late stages, how to implement exploits pre-flop / post-flop, how things differ on different stack sizes, bounties and so on.

“The best thing to do is structure your studying because there are new things to learn all the time. The most important thing in this process is to remember that you are constantly learning something that someone else doesn’t know.”

Check out: Make poker your side hustle: How to play seriously when you have a full-time job

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If you have a comfortable bankroll at the stakes you’re currently playing, consider taking some funds out of your bankroll and investing it in some training material or coaching.

Basically, invest in yourself.

That’s what our student Barrebløff did.

“I only played micro-stakes tournaments for like $1-$3,” he says. “I didn’t have many tools to work with, but I put in a lot of volume to gain experience.”

Then he decided to take the game more seriously. “I did a lot of different things to move up in stakes,” he says. “It’s not like one single magic pill you take, to be honest. Everything from preparation/study/mental game. I was just really curious and always wanted to improve.”

The game-changer for Barrebløff was when he started joining Discord poker communities and discovered all of the study material that was available to poker players. “That’s when I realised I actually knew nothing about the game.

“I used the money I won to invest in things that could improve my game,” he says. “I think many people have a misinterpretation of what is expensive. For example, if you bought bitcoin for $10K, that’s much cheaper than paying $200 for a pizza. It’s the same with the poker courses and tools out there. People see a number like $99 and avoid spending it on a training course when in reality that money will come back really quickly through the knowledge you gain.”

Check out: How to invest in yourself in poker

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Our student Aleksis booked himself a database review with Jordan “bigbluffzinc” Drummond, a.k.a. BBZ, who downloaded his HUD stats and hand histories and went through his numbers, pointing out his weak areas and giving props on the good areas.

“Truthfully, it was really good and super fun,” says Aleksis. “I was mentally ready for criticism before it started and I knew I had to switch off my ego. That’s how it is when you talk about your poker game with people who have been doing it better and for longer than you. You mainly listen and ask questions.”

Check out: Stop punting! How a BBZ student improved his tournament results

This is exactly how another student, Michael “Phanteidos1” Ender, climbed from the mid to high stakes.

“I was a good exploitative poker player who could crush low stakes and mid stakes, but If I wanted to have a shot at high stakes, I knew I needed to go deeper and learn from the best in the world. I saw a five-minute video of Jordan and I thought, this is the man I need,” he tells us.

“The 1-on-1s with Jordan have been the most helpful to me. It’s sometimes subtle things but Jordan is close to a human solver so being able to analyse a tourney I played with him is worth gold. I just have epiphany after epiphany!

“Just one session and one aha moment can increase your game dramatically. I think Jordan is someone that genuinely likes to teach and help people get better and you feel it in the whole BBZ culture. I never really had a poker community before so to now connect with like-minded people who are working hard to improve is very helpful.”

Check out: BBZ Poker student’s “epiphany after epiphany” leads to incredible $54K month

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Moving Up w/ BBZ

A guide to help you move up stakes


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