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Salim Admon on winning $619K and how he planned for success

Salim Admon on winning $619K and how he planned for success

One of the biggest poker tournaments of 2021 so far–the $10,000 buy-in Wynn Millions–took place across the last week in June, and the BBZ community was cheering on one player in particular.

California’s Salim Admon has been studying with BBZ Poker and coach Jargo “bungakat” Alaväli for a while now, and the proof is in the pudding:

Admon finished fourth out of 1,328 entries to win a staggering $619,160, his largest poker win to date. This was Admon’s second six-figure score within the year, having also finished runner-up in the $1,600 buy-in MSPT Deepstack Extravaganza for $219K in November 2020.

We spoke to the man himself about the work he’s put into his game, what led him to BBZ and Jargo, and how the pandemic changed his life.

BBZ Blog: Hey Salim, congratulations on this incredible result. Has it sunk in yet?

Salim Admon: Thanks! Yeah, man. I’m back on the grind.

How familiar were you with your final table opponents heading in?

I always look up players when I have information the day before, but I had never played with any of them. Going into the final table, I thought I was in a good position where most of the big stacks were to my right. Toby Lewis was to my direct left and I obviously knew that was going to be difficult. I felt super prepared for many reasons, one of which was going through ICM sims given our table’s chip distribution and working spots in DTO based on likely scenarios. Turned out to be quite helpful as I played a couple of pots early with Toby, though, I think he got the best of it for sure.


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Were there any nerves coming into the FT?

Not nerves really, just a lot of excitement. We were tucked away in the back of the room and there were people watching us, but I had a big stack and I thought if I had a good start I had a really good shot. Coming into the FT 4th in chips, my goal was to ladder up a few spots and not misclick or make any sort of live MTT unforced errors. So I made sure to double-check blinds, all of the stack counts, and react slowly when facing any decision. Something as simple as converting pots into big blinds just adds to a list of things to pay attention to, and when you’re doing that all day long it’s super exhausting.

How did you first get into poker?

I started playing cards really young at my buddy’s house, we would play all these weird games. Then I found online poker in the Moneymaker boom and played some online poker here and there, just mostly for fun.

I’ve played cash games in the L.A. area for years, again just for fun and to meet people. My career is in estate planning and wealth management for companies, so playing live poker lets me meet people and network while having fun.

Did you ever dabble in tournaments?

I’d only play a live tournament here or there when I was in Vegas for a conference or something. But I’ve always been really interested in the theory part of poker, even when I was just playing live cash for fun.

When did you decide to start studying and seek out coaching?

I read books and watched YouTube videos almost immediately, then moved onto training sites as technology advanced. I’ve always used coaches and had mentors for things like sports, my career, and both my mental and physical health because if I’m going to spend time doing something I want the insider information to ensure the most efficient use of my time.

So during the pandemic, I went from driving four hours a day in my car for work for the past 15 years to never leaving the house which gave me back a lot of time. I decided to use some of it to dive deeper into the game so that when the world opened back up and live poker returned, I’d have an advantage.

Compared to some of the live cash games I had played, the stakes of online MTTs were close to meaningless and really didn’t get the juices flowing. It felt much different to play solely with the intention of studying and improving. I was trying to build up my database so I could then get a coach to analyse my game. That’s when I found Jargo.

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What led you to BBZ and Jargo in particular?

It’s hard to find someone competent who is willing to look through a small sample. I asked many members of our Discord before turning to YouTube and Twitch to find someone. One Sunday I tuned into Apestyles and he was speaking very highly of Jargo, and more specifically his database analysis expertise. It was random, but that’s how I found him.

He’s really good. He’s super fast and has all the information at his fingertips, plus he’s really smart and has been through a lot of situations. He went through my stats and said, ‘dude, you’re playing way too tight. You need to open more and defend more and three-bet more’. I was like, wow, I get to do that? I get to play more hands?

It’s quite exciting to hear that, right? It opens up so many more possibilities.

Oh, absolutely, yeah. I was always kind of aggro in live games but played very tight in the few MTTs I tried. At some of the $25/$50 live games I played, it would go open, call, call, three-bet, call, call, call, call. So I’d just raise with crazy combos trying to run a game over, not realizing I was being spewey and misplacing my aggression. The idea of giving up on a bluff or checking back in 6-way pot in-position didn’t exist to me back then. But with a bit of guidance, I was able to adjust to a more theory-based approach rather than raising with random stuff, which obviously made a huge impact immediately. Jargo for sure helped make poker way more fun for a bunch of reasons.

It seems like there’s a lot of misinformation in poker training. You just don’t know who to trust. I was really fortunate to find BBZ and Jargo. BBZ Poker has awesome products, you just have to learn how to use them the right way. If I’d gone with a different plan for training, would I have had the same results? I don’t think so. I’m super happy.

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It’s definitely working for you. Even before the recent result, you had a big second-place score [Admon finished second in the $1,600 MSPT Deepstack Extravaganza for $219K in November 2020].

That one was really fun because the event was only two days long and it was the very first tournament I played after the pandemic.

I had planned it. It’s really easy to say you’re good because you have good scores and don’t attribute it to running good. But what felt good was I’d worked on it and planned it. I spent a ton of time figuring out what to do before I got there. The field was huge–it got four or five times the guarantee–and it was soft. I picked up so many pots without showdown and found great squeeze spots.

I ended up coming second but I still really want to win a big live event like that. No one outside of poker can really understand it, as you can’t tell someone you’re upset after you’ve just won $200K. But I was upset for a week after that. I didn’t feel good. It was weird. Of course now with perspective it feels even better to have that type of accomplishment.

It feels like a big win is just around the corner, right?

Yeah. These results are driving me to do more studying and get back to business. It seems like there are never-ending things to learn, which is what makes poker so fun.

I plan to play a lot more live this year just to keep it rolling. What changed my life was the pandemic. I didn’t realize how much time I was wasting. I always thought that productivity had to be through face to face interactions. But I had my best year ever at work during the pandemic just doing stuff on Zoom. It’s been the same with poker. I love my life and I’m super grateful every day.

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