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Why you’ll regret not spending money on training content

Why you’ll regret not spending money on training content

Look. We get it. It’s easy for BBZ Poker, a poker training company, to tell you that you should purchase training material. After all, it’s through selling our bundles, charts, seminars and coaching that the company makes money.

So don’t let us be the ones to tell you why investing in your own poker journey right now is a good idea.

Let one of our students do it.

Evan Horton, a 26-year-old Engineering Consultant from Mission, BC, Canada, recently enjoyed his biggest score to date, and he thanked BBZ Poker for the result.

But it’s what he told us in a conversation after the result that stuck out.

He told us about how, for the first few years of his poker playing, he would continually gamble and lose his bankroll. Then, when he decided to take the game more seriously and start studying, he tried to do so without spending a dime.

And he also touched on his biggest regret in poker: not purchasing any training material earlier in his poker journey.

“I was vehemently against spending money on training content, even though every streamer that I would ask in chat would say it’s worth it. I only regret I hadn’t done so sooner.”

Here’s our full conversation with Horton.


BBZ Blog: Hey Evan. You mentioned you started playing micros three years ago. Could you tell us how you got started and what your poker journey has been like so far?

Evan Horton: I’ve always been a fan of games, especially ones where I can be competitive. When I started playing poker, I, like everyone around me at the time, just thought of it as gambling. In university, I would put $50 at a time on PokerStars and lose it in a couple of weeks playing the $1.50-$5.50 tournaments. Either that or I would hop into a cash game with all of it and lose it within the hour. I was lucky to have at least a little bit of disposable income that this wasn’t affecting my life in a significant way.

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It wasn’t until the pandemic happened and everyone was told to stay home that I made the decision to start studying and take the game more seriously. I had just graduated with an engineering degree from UBC but had no job prospects at the time. It was a confusing time all around the world, so I shut myself off from it and found Twitch. That was the catalyst for me.

I got to watch all these successful poker streamers on their journey; Jaime Staples, Kevin Martin, Spraggy, EasyWithAces, Lex Veldhuis, and of course Jordan from BBZ, just to name a handful. I was hooked and wanted to be a part of it. I did try to stream a couple of times but not consistently enough for it to grow. People wanted to see deep runs and I was not making many.

I remember sitting down and taking notes on a free tournament class that I found on YouTube. I was vehemently against spending money on training content, even though every streamer that I would ask in chat would say it was worth it. I only regret I hadn’t done so sooner.

At what point did you discover BBZ Poker and how did you get started with them?

Through Twitch. I could be wrong, but I believe he was mostly concerned with staking and coaching-for-profit at the time, and the BBZ training content that we know today hadn’t quite been realized yet.

I remember buying the BBZ video “Introduction to Quantitative Strategies” and it changed everything. All of a sudden I had a framework that I could use to approach any poker situation, using only the information in front of me. No more of this “I think this guy is bluffing me, I call” thought process.

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I paid for content from a few different training sites, spending as little as I could while trying to learn the most. However, once I got the Apestyles Bundle my game really started to change for the better. I have also bought the Lex and Bungakat bundles and they have improved my game immensely.

Fast forward to now and these past few months I’ve been on the biggest heater of my life so far. I finally got a GGMasters badge, winning a GGMaster Bounty Turbo, which I’d been trying to get since GG started to give them out. The next weekend I final tabled the WSOP Online: $52.50 Bounty Hunters MAIN EVENT, finishing 7th in a field of a whopping 12,612 entries, earning myself $5,861 and securing my biggest cash at the time.

Now a month later I have this latest $24,636 cash in the $150 GGMasters and the rest is yet to come. The journey has been a wild one and it’s just the beginning.

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You mentioned the Apestyles Bundle specifically, what was it about that bundle that really clicked with you?

I think the most significant lesson I got out of that bundle was that I was playing too passively and not 3-betting nearly enough. In this most recent big score, leading up to the final table I was 3-bet bluffing relentlessly. Thinking back to even just a year ago, I would not have had the awareness nor the courage to play this way in such a momentous spot. I think the stress of it all would have affected me and I wouldn’t have been able to maintain or grow my stack. Jon is a brilliant poker mind and is able to communicate his thought process so seamlessly and the units in the bundle on 3-betting were substantially impactful on my game.

You got into the tournament in a satellite, how much have you studied satellites and how did it feel to qualify for cheap?

Satellites are a very weird beast. I admittedly haven’t done too much study on them, however, I do feel I understand the basics. The strategy changes pretty drastically depending on how your opponents choose to play so I find the best way to gain an edge is to really pay attention to how each of your opponents is playing and adjust accordingly. GG has a great satellite schedule for their big events and I’d highly recommend learning the basics and playing them. They are a great way to boost your bankroll.

Because of bankroll limitations, I haven’t been playing in the higher stakes games unless I satellite in, so just getting into the GGMasters via satellite was a win for me. I definitely wasn’t expecting to make this deep of a run when I won my seat, I was just happy to be there battling with many of the best.

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The GG Masters is a massive field. How do you navigate the big field events?

That’s a tough question to answer. I think it comes down to having a good mindset. This edition had about 3,700 entries, and seeing that number you can’t really expect to finish first.

These tournaments are minefields and coolers can happen in any hand, at any moment. I think at one point in the tournament I was down to two big blinds and was forced to call all-in on my big blind with two napkins and happened to win the pot. The cliche phrase is “a chip and a chair”, but it really is true, especially in these huge field tournaments.

Your stack will always have equity until it’s gone. I remember going on break around the final table bubble and going for a walk in my back yard talking myself down. I was getting a little too excited and knew if I wanted things to go well I needed to stay calm and focused. I reminded myself how difficult it is to get in spots like this and that I needed to play every single hand to the best of my ability. It really did help me stay grounded and dialled in.

And let’s not discount the luck factor. I was so lucky, winning nearly all my significant all-ins leading up to the final table. That’s really what it comes down to, especially in a faster-structured tournament like this one. You don’t control whether your AQ beats or loses to pocket eights when you’re all in pre-flop. But when it does and you get a big stack deep in a tournament like this, the thrill you feel is extraordinary.

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How did the final table go overall?

The final table was interesting. I came into it 6th of 9 with about 20 big blinds and because of the stack distribution, I knew I needed to play extremely tight. The first short stack got eliminated pretty quickly and then I was fortunate to have knocked out the next shorty with a set of sevens, keeping me from being the short stack. I found myself continuing to play extremely tight as players were getting eliminated around me.

It was surreal seeing the ICM value of my stack go up and watching the payouts get significantly bigger than in any game I’d ever played in. I ended up busting with pocking kings to the chip leader’s ace-king. With an ace coming on the flop–having me drawing nearly dead–I knew my journey had come to an end.

I wanted to be disappointed because of the bad beat, but seeing the amount of money come out on the payout screen had me speechless. I couldn’t be disappointed with my performance and I knew it.

This is the dream, having a huge score from a relatively tiny buy-in. I called my parents right after I busted and we were all in shock. This was just like any other Sunday; at the beginning of the day, I couldn’t have imagined final tabling this game.

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You mentioned this is the biggest win of your life. How will the money impact your life and your poker playing moving forward?

This score represents a lot more than just the money for me. Sure, tournament poker has a lot of variance and I may have gotten extremely lucky to get into that situation but I am so proud of my accomplishment. I really do believe I made the best of the opportunity.

It is extremely validating when you put so much time and effort into something and you have waited and grinded patiently to finally achieve something like this. Friends and family see the time it takes and although I love it, I’ve never really had anything significant to show for it. But now I do.

Poker can be so painful sometimes, but also so glorious. The money is just extra to me at this point. I already have a job and am financially stable, so the money is what it is. It will help me stress less when I spend more than I should, but for the most part, my life will continue unchanged.

As for how it will impact my poker playing, I will absolutely be investing in more training content, maybe even some private coaching. I’m a nit when it comes to moving up in stakes and honestly, I don’t feel that I’m beating stakes much higher than I usually play so it will probably take a lot for me to make any significant changes in my game selection.

I’d like to play some live poker, however where I live there aren’t many tournaments and there aren’t any series stops nearby. So I guess I’m not really sure if much will change at all honestly.

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If you could go back, what would you tell yourself 3 years ago when you grinding the micros?

My biggest mistake was not investing in training content sooner.

If I could go back I would tell myself to not be afraid to invest in myself. I was young and naive and I just wanted to have fun. This really doesn’t make a lot of sense because I had just finished getting an engineering degree and I was good at studying and figuring stuff out. I guess I was just burnt out.

I believe this game has a steep learning curve, and you have to be prepared to fail over and over. After studying that first free training course I remember watching a video about the Dunning-Kruger effect and realizing my confidence in my game was false. I realized how little I actually knew about the game and it really inspired and humbled me.

Even now, after studying some of the most exceptional training content in the space, I still feel that way. Inspired and humbled. What a beautiful game we play and love.

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