BBZ Academy member Eike Onodera picked up a six-figure score in the recent PokerStars Blowout Series.

Any person starting off in poker dreams of having their own Moneymaker-esque moment, turning a small buy-in into a life-changing score. However, with the change in the poker landscape over the last 15 years, it now takes a lot more to get to the next level.

Long gone are the days where reviewing a couple poker hands would give you the tools needed to ascend from the low stakes to the big games in a timely fashion. Nowadays, to reach that level, poker players who predominantly play at the low stakes need to develop a deep understanding of the game and put in the work off the felt, if they want to see any real progression.

Thanks to the team at BBZPoker, they’re opening doors for aspirational poker players who grind the low stake tournament scene via their staking and team of elite coaches. The platform has recently embarked on a new adventure with the newly created BBZ Academy – a new staking team that’s focusing on full-time players, playing around the $5-$20 mark. Managed by Jake Brickman, the academy’s goals are simple, they want poker players to realize their potential and equip them with all the necessary knowledge needed to progress in this game.

”The reason we started this was to get more people from an entry level position into poker. The benefits that players will receive is not only the skills to become a pro but how to act as one. We want to make sure that by the time a player finishes their deal with us that they’re financially stable and able to continue on their own as a professional poker player or transition to one of our other programs such as the CFP (Coaching for Profit) program.”

From Micros to the Mountain Top

One player who has seen his fortunes turn around since joining BBZ Academy is 19-year-old Brazilian born Eike Onodera. A former prodigy in both tennis and table tennis, it was at a local competition where Onodera first began to swap the rackets and bats he was used to for playing cards.

“It was at a BBQ in a very casual tennis tournament that took place in my building, some friends got a deck of cards, poker chips and then we just started playing. It’s funny looking back as I’d never played poker before and didn’t even know the rules”

Poker gripped the up and comer instantly. He quickly ran home after his first soiree into No Limit Hold’em and found himself googling how to play the game later that evening. Little did he know what that court-side game would result in. Onodera’s competitive spirit soon transferred to the online poker felt, with aspirations from the get-go of becoming a professional poker player.

“For the first year I already had the goal of becoming a professional, but it was still a bit casual in a certain way, I started with a $100 bankroll on partypoker then managed to increase my bankroll kind of quickly playing the micro stakes. At the time I was studying but it was still very surface level and basic stuff.  As well as that, I didn’t know too much about how to study correctly or effectively”

The Brazilian’s journey into the BBZ fold began after coming across Jordan Drummond’s, founder of BBZPoker, Twitch channel. It was not long after that Onodera found himself joining the aforementioned CFP program. Acknowledging that becoming a staked player was one of the best shots of becoming a fully-fledged poker player, he decided to apply to the newly created BBZ Academy as soon as it was set-up. It was this move that would precede the biggest payday.

Winning a free $109 ticket from the Pokerstars Blowout Series Ticket Machine promotion, Onodera found himself with the opportunity to play an event that was well above his usual buy-in. However, after realizing the ticket was for a satellite tournament for the Blowout Series: $1,050 NLHE [8-Max, The Big Blowout!], $5M Gtd that instant euphoria subsided quickly. Onodera’s initial dismay didn’t last too long though and soon turned into delight after navigating the satellite event to win the $1,050 ticket prize. After two days of play, he found himself at the final table fourth in chips and over $82,000 already locked up.

The final result saw Onodera bow out in sixth with a six-figure prize of $167,360. An absolutely fantastic achievement being that his first recorded result on PocketFives was a 253rd place finish in a $1.10 online MTT in March 2019.

“It was an amazing feeling, I had only been in the BBZ Academy for a month when I had the score, but more importantly I had been studying with BBZ content for almost a year. That definitely was a huge factor in my game and helped me move in the right direction. Despite playing way higher than I ever had before, the lessons I had learned from the coaching I had received made me confident that I would not be so behind when playing against tough opposition.”

And when talking about how new poker players can best elevate their skills or looking for potential backing, it’s no surprise what Onodera had to say.

“I think any BBZ content would be great for a beginner as they are very experienced in teaching and explain the game in a very direct and efficient way. Getting a better understanding of how the game fundamentally works and its math is what people should expect.”

“If anyone wants to be staked, bias aside, I definitely recommend BBZ. They’ve been in the market for such a long time and in the past few months they have been doing a lot of video content. Poker is a competition so the more effort you put into studying, while still being efficient, will keep you ahead of most players. I believe being curious about how the game works, concepts, ideas, etc should be some of the traits of someone who’s seriously looking to improve their game”

BBZ Academy Continues To Recruit

The BBZ Academy is still looking for aspiring poker player who wants to elevate their game to the next level.

Players looking to apply will need to hit some requirements before having the chance to be one of BBZ’s newest recruits. They’ll need to have put in the hours and played at least 3000 tournaments over the past year to 18 months to be considered. Also, BBZ makes it clear that the Academy is no side hustle, players are expected to commit most of their time and effort in order to succeed.

More information on applications to the Academy can be found on the BBZ Poker website.