June 23, 2009

A Viewpoint - Coaching with BBB

A while back, as some may be aware, I was floundering quite badly on iPoker. I was in the middle of what would turn out to be a 350BB downswing and feeling really down on both my luck and poker in general.

What, in a way, made me even more irritated was the fact that everyone who I’ve spoken too for the past year was generally positive about my game and confident that I would be making a stride up the limits, even during my appearance on RLMG Entity said that he was looking forward to seeing more videos as I climbed the limits.

It didn’t happen.

Now, fortunately, at this point a few things matured which allowed me to put aside a little cash and I decided that what I needed, more than anything, for my game was literal 1-1 sessions from someone who’d seen it all, maybe would help me see little things that I and others had been missing and generally be able to point me in the right direction.

So I perused the DC Coaching page and BigBadBabar (From now on referred to as BBB) was one of the standout names and after confirming his availability and a few small points I decided to have a chat with him about a potential long term plan.

I wasn’t disappointed.

During our first informal chat we laid out a plan of how we were going to proceed. I’d made it clear that I was looking for a long term deal and BBB was happy to oblige. Our sessions would consist of hand reviews, video reviews, sweat sessions and BBB would be available for chatting if and when needed.

There were a few things BBB immediately identified all within one hand review and a small video, nothing major but small things that maybe don’t come up when you’re discussing things on a forum:

1)Completing the SB more, and all-in-all getting involved more vs bad players

2)Turn Value-Betting vs Value Checking. Section here which really helped put a lot of thought into turn play rather than the “auto 2-barell” or “auto-check” you can see a lot of on the turn.

3)Get more hands in – A big weakness of mine and one that was preventing me both overcoming variance and moving up.

4)No Auto-acting!! It’s very tempting especially when playing online to turn your brain off and act automatically. Always maintain focus

5)Consistency in decisions. “Because I felt like it” isn’t an excuse, always keep logical reasoning behind your decisions.

6)Believe. Things were not going well at the tables but even from the first Hand Review Sessions BBB was confident I’d eventually leave 0.5/1 a complete smoking ruin and I’d be solid at 1/2 just based on what he’d already seen. That has developed more recently and hopefully is beginning to snowball.

Now something this also introduced me to was how necessary it is to have some poker buddies on IM. This is something I hadn’t had for almost 2 years, aside from Ribbo obv, and I can’t even begin to imagine the impact it has had. From the Microlimit FL Group started on DC to some of the best players at 5/T and above I have managed to chat to them all in the past 3-4 months and BBB was one of the first.

All of a sudden I could get feedback on any hand I had doubt about, I had a group of poker buddies all playing similar limits whom I could help and they could help me.

I’ve got to admit I’ve certainly gotten more than my money’s worth from BBB just though the conversations we constantly have regarding all things from hands to mental game to “Spaceship Blowing Up” strategies (DC inside joke…sorry) to how he’s promised to one day shout “Sir Alex WHO?” in a Man Utd pub and run for it leaving me standing there (Preferably with a sneaky Man City or Liverpool shirt thrown at me), and more than that he’s developed into a good buddy as well.

When BBB talks you’d do very well to listen. He has a very jovial personality allowing you to chat freely but everything he has spouted regarding poker to me has been liquid gold and presented so well that you can’t help but understand.

BBB seems to really enjoy his side of the coaching and is desperate to make sure his students are getting the most out of it as well. We are both capable of going off on tangents, anyone who knows me is well aware of how I’ll go on for 2 hours if I get grabbed on a subject, but he’ll occasionally bring us back into line and the situation at hand. He’s extremely open to questioning regarding any reasoning and is even open to having his mind changed on a subject occasionally (smug) and he genuinely seems to also get something out of coaching as well.

He’s also been supportive, if firm, when I was down in the dumps at the bottom of my downswing making sure to appeal to my ability and logic that he saw rather than the performance anxiety I was suffering at the time and was supportive in providing recommendations regarding where to move to when I decided to make the jump.

The only weakness BBB may have is that he may not realise just how good he is which is why you can still hire him for the price you can. Although this may be a result of targeting the micro and small stakes community, it’s an opportunity which no-one who’s serious about their game should miss. Personal Coaching is always going to be that little bit more expensive than the general coaching a training site will give but it’s that bit more personal and tailored to your needs and you will be much better off for it.

Would I recommend a 0.5/1 player with no reload capacity blow 50-70% of his roll on long term coaching? No probably not, and to be fair neither did BBB when I first approached him. He wanted to make sure I wasn’t dinging my bankroll as the first priority is and will be for the next few months, getting out of the so-called “Rake Trap”. You’re getting honesty and a great poker mind and a great guy to have as a buddy. As with all things you will get out of it what you put in but BBB will put in just as much as you will if not more…A thorough recommendation.

And the result….

Well I’ve been working with BBB for a while now and I’ve made back my investment and then some on top and that’s from starting out at 0.5/1 on a 200BB downswing which developed into a 350BB one before it was through. I’ve just finished my first session of 2/4, my confidence in my play is higher than it has ever been and I now understand so much more about the game than I used to which has in turn removed much of the fear. There’s still a long way to go yet before I’m ready to start bleeding 5/T but I’m pretty sure with BBB’s aid and some hard work that it will happen and with a little luck, sooner rather than later.

Also I believe I’ve come up with a way of overcoming my greatest weakness which is getting hands in…

Join me next time as I go through some thoughts on this and a weekend of poker I won’t forget in a hurry, but for once for all the right reasons.

Later, Boomer

Posted By Boomer at 08:07 PM



Blavdes posted on June 24, 2009 at 19:12 PM


Hi, cool blog.

I'm just going through a real bad month in my first month on ipoker currently playing 100nl so to see your blog has given me some hope for the future at least.

PygmyHero posted on July 03, 2009 at 12:58 PM


Hey Boomer, this is great stuff. I'm really happy (and unsurprised!) about what you and BBB have been able to accomplish. :)

Boomer posted on July 03, 2009 at 19:38 PM


Thanks Mike, I'm blushing now!!

A lot of it came down to me getting off my backside and playing. tbh it's been a bit of a shock to the system for me but apparently not to some... :)

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