“Sensational” is how Brazilian grinder Leonardo “B1ack_b1rd” Santos describes our Cash Game Leaderboards. He may be a little biased because he recently topped the $1/$2 No-Limit Hold’em race and secured a $7,500 payday.

Leonardo is a 30-year-old cash game pro who lives in Aruja, Sao Paulo with his wife of three years and their one-year-old daughter. He started his poker career playing for play money and progressed through the ranks to the point where he’s been a professional six-max cash game player for the past 11-years.

From Video Games to Poker

“I used to play Age of Empires as a teenager. Some of the good players from that game discovered poker. After talking to them, I got to know the game and decided to take the chance. I had my first poker experience back in 2007-2008, first playing play money and micro stakes. I went broke a few times, but I eventually became a poker pro in 2009 when I reached the NL200 ($1/$2) stakes.”

The leaderboard champion admits he previously struggled with establishing a study routine, but he’s currently part of a poker team called BrpC and they’ve helped him remove a lot of bad habits. Leonardo now studies for an hour in the morning and puts in another study session later in the afternoon. All that went out of the window when he made it his goal to win the leaderboard.

“I had no time to study because I had to put all my effort into play. In fact, I gave up all my leisure time too, but this wasn’t difficult as we’re currently in lockdown because of the COVID-19 virus. Basically, I divided the day into 3-4 hours blocks with a 10-minute break every two hours. I also took a big one-hour break between each block.”

Mental Toughness is Key to Success

Grinding cash games against talented players for long periods can take its toll mentally, and it’s a strong mental game that Leonardo says separates the best players from the rest of the crowd.

“An interesting thing is that for the first three days, no matter how tired you are, it’s not so hard to maintain the routine mentioned above. But by the fourth day you just don’t want to see a poker table in front of you! Being able to handle this is what makes the players at the top of the leaderboards so special.”

Leonardo says his victory wouldn’t have been possible without the support of his wife, Debora. She fully supported Leonardo once he explained that he would need to dedicate the entire week to grinding online cash games.

“Without her, I wouldn’t have been able to do this.”

The Brazilian star has dreams of becoming a regular at the $2/$5 (NL500) tables as soon as possible, so is investing the $7,500 he won from the Cash Game Leaderboards into his bankroll.

Suggestion For Improving the Leaderboards

It goes without saying that Leonardo is a fan of the Cash Game Leaderboards, although he has a suggestion that would improve it for him and possibly other leaderboard chasers.

“The Cash Game Leaderboards are sensational! It encourages regulars to face each other and consequently creates more daily action. The rush of competing every day to be at the top of the leaderboards is exciting too.”

“As a suggestion, I think it would be interesting for the prize distribution to be better. For example, today they award the 12 players that generated the most rake. Maybe increasing this to 20 players and reducing the top three-to-five prizes a little would benefit people that also generate a lot of rake.”

Before he got back to the table, Leonardo gave the partypoker blog readers his tip to become a better cash game player.

“Take your time and don’t be hasty. The most important thing about poker is to never stop learning and improving. From that point on, evolution will come naturally.”

Cash Game Leaderboards Continue

The Cash Game Leaderboards continue throughout May with another $1 million being awarded across the 16 different leaderboards. You don’t need to opt-in, just hit the No-Limit Hold’em or Pot-Limit Omaha cash games or fastforward tables and you’ll earn leaderboard points. It’s as simple as that.

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