Poker is about the individual. One player per hand. One spot at the top of the tournament.
But perhaps now, more than ever, poker players are turning to each other, pooling their resources and knowledge to help each other move up in stakes and take down tournaments. Like boxers and MMA professionals, only one person gets their hand raised, but there is a team behind that athlete that helps them get to where they are. This is something Jordan Drummond knows all too well.
Drummond is the founder and CEO of BBZ Staking and Coaching, a business with a goal of providing support, both financial and informative, to professional poker players who are looking to make their own poker dreams a reality.
Drummond knows a little bit about what it takes to get to the top and the support systems needed to get there. The four-time PokerStars Supernova Elite boasts $10M in lifetime profits, but back in 2010 Drummond was a long way off from excelling in poker as he found himself selling door-to-door, nearly homeless and looking for his next steps.
“I had started out playing poker with friends,” Drummond said. “We started out just playing around the table and I did well in those games. Just little house games and things, but it was competitive. We played for really, really small stakes – just a game with buddies. We were kind of obsessed with it for a while.”
When Drummond was 19, prior to Black Friday, he was forced to move to Canada where he was looking to make ends meet and take the next step in his life.
“I came up to Canada and I did the door-to-door thing for a little while. I actually started out at a 7/11 – I was working like 80 hours a week,” he recalled. “We couldn’t do door-to-door sales in the winter and so I’d been studying poker a little bit, I’d been watching videos.”
So with winter upon him, his friend sent him $10 online and he began playing $0.10 games. He was crashing with a friend and without the ability to do his job he started to really grind. He played $0.01 360-man Sit & Go’s. He ran it up – enough that he was able to cash out his whole roll and pay for food and expenses and help his friend with rent. Then the next month, a friend gave him another $10 and he began to run it up again.
“I got to 2K within 30 days or something and I was like ‘Oh fuck, I just made $3,000 in a month.’ And I wasn’t making that much a month working,” he said. “I had a $3,000 bankroll and I had been playing seriously for 40 days. I said ‘I’m going to get Supernova this year.”
That was 2010. He didn’t get Supernova that year, but he came close. Close enough that he made six-figures, obviously after that Drummond was all-in.
After finding success in his own game, Drummond began coaching those close to him. He invested in a small staking platform, Sit & Go Reasons, and soon he was working with up to 15 people.
“Then Sit & Go Reasons basically got nuked with Black Friday,” Drummond said. “Black Friday was horrible for everybody, and it was horrible for me. I lost a lot of money. But I was in position, being in Canada at the time, to kind of hit the ground running where other people weren’t able to do that. That was fortunate and lucky.”
Drummond used his door-to-door sales experience and as he says “went door-to-door to a bunch of different stables that had gone broke” and began picking up players that had good fundamentals.
So right around 2012 BBZ Staking came to be. Drummond has spent the better part of the last decade putting his money back into poker players and using his insight into the game to keep his own investments profitable. Back when BBZ first started, they relied on conventional poker training and coaching, but now in the ultra-competitive landscape of 2019, the company uses everything at their disposal, including solvers, to keep those who rely on him on the cutting edge of poker tournament coaching.
“Staying [up to date] to the technology is kind of mandatory. You can’t compete if you don’t do that in high stakes. The notion that you can is just wrong,” Drummond said. “So if you’re not doing this on your own, you’re not going to win. That’s a fact. You will lose.
“I have guys who depend on me right? The same guys that I’ve been working with for a long time and these guys rely on me to be the information. I do the studying and they do the work, right?”
And some of those guys who have worked with Drummond are some of online poker’s more feared tournament players and include the likes of Conor ‘1_conor_b_1’ Beresford, Guntis ‘lovefee’ Aleskins, Parker ‘Tonkaaaa’ Talbot and Jae ‘Yugiohpro’ Kim.
“I need to make sure that I know everything that I can know so that the guys who put their faith in me and who bet their futures on me are able to compete at a level that enables them to win the type of incomes that they’re used to winning.”
The coaching available at BBZ is incredibly in-depth. Spots are broken down with an extraordinary level of detail and analyzed for maximum profitability. Drummond and his coaches go through every configuration to give his students the best snapshot of how to play specific hands, in specific positions, at specific stack depths against a variety of opponents bet sizes.
Recently, BBZ has expanded their coaching to allow non-staked players access to coaching sessions as well as the site is in the midst of expanding their video content library for more on-demand sessions.
“I’m using a $10,000 computer specifically for the purpose of running high-level simulations,” he said. “In order not to be left behind, to do all of the work that we do on your own – and play full time – I mean, maybe you could do it, but I think it’s getting harder and harder.”
It’s clear that Drummond takes great pride in the high level of education he’s able to give to his students. But BBZ is more than that for him.
“The thing that separates us from everybody else is authenticity,” he said.
“Every other platform that I know of pays the person who produces the content upfront. That person gets a check for producing 60 minutes of content whether it’s good, bad or ugly. The content that we put out, all of it, is being fed to a multi-million dollar bet – by me – on professional poker players being able to win money. You might not agree with what I put out, but what I put out is genuinely what I think is going to back my guys to win and compete in 2019.”