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Don’t give up! How to rescue your poker sessions

Don’t give up! How to rescue your poker sessions

We know it’s frustrating when you’ve made a big mistake, but don’t let it cost you your entire session. Here’s some advice on how to rescue your poker sessions

We’ve all been there.

You’re hours into an online tournament session with just a few tables left. Then your deepest run – the one you’ve prioritized – blows up in one foul swoop.

You’ve punted away your stack, then proceed to do the same in your other remaining tables, out of sheer frustration.

Leo “lionhat” Song-Carillo

The session – and your chances of making money on the day – are over. But did it have to be?

This is a situation that BBZ Poker student Leo Song-Carillo – known in our Discord as “lionhat” – recently found himself in.

He had a top stack with 150 players remaining in a massive-field $55 online tournament.

“Up until that point, I was playing what I would deem my best, at that time,” he tells us.

But then it all went sour.


Song-Carillo, a 32-year-old business owner from Vancouver, Canada, attempted a triple-barrel-bluff with a drawing hand, in a spot he now considers to be “a definite give-up spot”. He lost his big stack and was eliminated soon after.

“I got married to the pot as I didn’t want to lose that much of my stack and go to the bottom of the chip counts,” he says.

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In hindsight, Song-Carillo thinks he was experiencing late-game pressure. He had a healthy stack and an excellent shot at a big score, so he felt tempted to try and control the outcome.

“Emotionally, it was a combination of fear, stress, passion and excitement,” he says. “I was trying to stay clear-headed, but sticking to what you know is correct requires additional mental stamina to stay disciplined.”

It was past his regging deadline for the day and he had two tables left. There must have been a temptation to sack off the session completely by busting his other tournaments and calling it a night.

“Right after, I felt very stupid and gutted,” he admits.

But instead of throwing in the towel, Song-Carillo decided to make things right.


“Both remaining games had enough up top to make it at least a breakeven day for me,” he says. “I’ve come to learn the hard way that one MTT punt a day adds up to a negative ROI.

“Knowing that put me to the decision of either giving up my stacks there and accepting the hit to my ROI or battling it out for whatever EV I could squeeze from the remaining games.”

So he went to the bathroom and splashed cold water on his face. He remembered the lessons he’d learned from BBZ Poker’s Performance Coach Frank Hamel. And he committed to playing his A-game for the remainder of his session.

He ended up winning one of those tournaments – the $11 Road to Sunday Million on PokerStars – defeating 1,736 runners to bank $1,804 (including bounties), plus a $109 entry to the iconic online event.

Song-Carrillo first discovered poker back in 2009 when he was working a kitchen job.

“I watched Joe Cada win the WSOP Main Event on the sports bar TV,” he says. “I’ve been passionate about poker ever since.”

But Song-Carillo claims he was a late bloomer when it came to getting his own results. While he felt he had some natural talent and hand-reading abilities, he was a self-proclaimed “bad live rec” for the best part of a decade, predominantly due to issues with tilting and sticking to solid strategies.

“I had sour fundamentals,” he admits.

In 2018, he decided to take the game more seriously. After doing his research, he discovered BBZ Poker after hearing that Jordan Drummond (aka BBZ, bigbluffzinc) was widely recognized as the best coach in the game.

“I reached out to BBZ about the Daily Seminars, which were priced at $500 per month back then,” says Song-Carillo. “He said something along the lines of, ‘this is probably too advanced for you and therefore not a great investment’. I really appreciated that. But it also galvanized me in my pursuit to get better.”

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So Song-Carillo found some other poker training content and got to work, learning how to calculate EV for the first time, among other things.

That content definitely had an impact on his game as he saw some live success in 2019. However, he was still a losing player and desperately wanted to turn that around.

He reconnected with some poker friends and after discussing hands with them, he slowly started to see even greater improvements. Then, in 2021, he hit a big score and thought he was now ready to join BBZ Poker’s seminars.

“I was taught that it’s often best to be the dumbest person in the room because you have the most to gain. That was me in those early BBZ seminars! But I’m grateful I joined.”

Song-Carillo now has a 6% ROI on PokerStars, which he’s very proud of. He’s backed by a professional stable and plays everything up to $109 buy-ins, with some $215s thrown in on Sundays.

“I still have lots and lots of work to do,” he admits. “It’s a hard game.”

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