Aaron Barone

Aaron Barone Won $1 Million in 5 Years. Now He Joins the Upswing Poker Team

The newest member of the Upswing Poker coaching team brings 15+ years of experience from the online poker grind.

You might know Aaron ‘abarone68’ Barone from his Twitch channel, where the poker pro regularly streams mid-stakes tournaments to his 16,000 followers. Aaron has traveled the world and played on every imaginable poker site, building a reputation as one of the top high-volume tournament players in the game.

Aaron now brings that experience to members of the Upswing Poker Lab as the newest coach to join the team. 

A brief history of Aaron’s life as a poker pro includes:

  • Poker pro since 2009
  • Achieved Supernova Elite status on PokerStars
  • Traveled the world as an online poker pro
  • Switched focus to online MTTs in 2017
  • Profited nearly $1 million in the last 5 years with no single win over $60,000
  • Started live streaming on Twitch in 2021
  • Joined the 888Poker StreamTeam in 2023

The year 2024 is off to a great start for Aaron, who posted back-to-back $30k+ profit months in January and February.

Aaron comes to Upswing Poker as a multi-table tournament coach. While GTO poker theory will certainly be part of the discussion, look for Aaron to focus more on practical tournament strategy.

Aaron’s Upswing debut comes in the form of a Play & Explain series that covers a recent $44 buy-in MTT, which he won for an $8K payday. Look for that P&E series, along with MTT modules, in the Upswing Poker Lab throughout 2024.

Note: Want to become the best tournament player at the table? Join the Upswing Lab now to learn from pros who consistently beat the games you play. Here’s what you get:

  • 439 preflop charts for a variety of situations
  • 59+ hours of tournament lessons
  • 107+ hours of tournament play & explains
  • And much, much more

Get access to the Upswing Lab now to check out Aaron’s first video.


Aaron Barone Welcome Interview

I wrote a few questions to Upswing Poker’s newest addition and he sat down to record his answers.

Q: Where are you located now?

Aaron: I’m located in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. I moved here after Black Friday in 2011, and I’ve been here off and on for the past 14 years

Q: What poker formats and stakes do you primarily play?

For the past five years the format that I play primarily is MTTs. I play about $110 average buy-in (started about $70 ABI and I’ve had that climb up a little bit recently).

Before that, I played Sit and Gos and Spins (i.e. three Max Bounty jackpots). Had a good 10 years of doing that. I’d say the first seven and a half were Sit and Gos. I played all sorts of formats, started out in nine max, but added 18-mans, 45-mans, 180-mans, et cetera. I played turbos, hypers, reg speeds, and then I played Spins — $60 to $180 buy-ins. At the time, I think $60s were the highest buy-in, and I played that. And then when they introduced $100s, I added those two, did that for about two years, and then I moved to MTTs.

Q: How did you get into poker? And what attracted you to the game?

Got into poker in 2003, 2004. I had a group of friends who saw it on TV.

They saw the WSOP with Moneymaker and Ivy and all those old school legends, and we decided to have our own home game.

We would play Thursday nights, $8 buy-in, 1 cent, 2 cent blinds. I have no idea why we chose those limits. I have no idea why we chose an $8 buy-in.

Unconventional. Sure. But we had no idea what we were doing. We just thought it was fun. And every week it seemed the same person in our group would win. Good friend of mine, love him to death, but I could not stand seeing him win every week. So I wanted to get better.

The internet was still sort of new, but search engines were a thing. And so I looked up how to get better at poker, and I found articles. I found message boards, and after reading a lot of information, absorbing it and trying to make it part of my game, I was the one who started winning every week.

And I just thought to myself, huh, I wonder how good I really am. So I put some money online and I never looked back.

Q: How do you study poker?

When it comes to studying poker, I think there are many different approaches you can have and they could all have relative levels of success. Sort of depends on the person.

I don’t think there’s one approach you have to have to be successful, but I can tell you what works for me…

When I mark a hand these days, I want to look at it first through the eyes of a solver. I want to put it in some program that tells me, okay, well what is the optimal line here? What am I supposed to do? What is my opponent supposed to do? Et cetera. And so that gives me a foundation of solid poker theory.

Then I want to look at it from a practical standpoint. Okay, this is what I’m supposed to do and my opponent’s supposed to do, but do I think that’s the case here? Will my opponent react the way that the program expects him to? And if not, how can I approach this spot differently to make more money, to make more equity, et cetera?

I think understanding poker from a theoretical standpoint gives you a really good foundation of how to approach the game. And then understanding it practically can give you an idea of how to exploit somebody, when to exploit them. And then in the cases where they have big leaks to take advantage of how to maximize your equity.

Q: Is it still possible to crush at poker in 2024?

Well, this is a promotional video for a training site. So what do you think I’m going to say? Of course I’m going to say yes, but even though you might think I’m a little bit biased, my results, you can rely on them.

Since moving to MTTs, five years ago, I’ve made nearly a million dollars in profit. And for most MTT players, a big chunk of that profit comes from a tournament score or two tournament scores, or maybe three, right, maybe for a million dollars a profit. They’ve got a 500K score and a 300 K score. And I don’t have that.

The biggest score I have since moving MTTs is under $60,000. It’s under 6% of the total money I’ve won. And what does that mean? Well, that means that without any big scores, I’ve made it all through smaller scores and you expand that thought out.

I’ve made this money through consistently making good decisions time and time again and putting in volume. And to me, that is the epitome of crushing not winning one tournament one time, but consistent results over a long period of time and seeing the graph consistently go up.

Q: I read that you were at one time at PokerStars Supernova Elite status, playing mainly SNGs and Spins. Is there still money to be made in those poker formats?

I still believe those formats are very profitable, but I haven’t put in the sample in five years to tell you with a hundred percent certainty how great they are.

I can tell you that other players are still beating those games for significant amounts. I can tell you that every time in my life someone has said that game’s not beatable. You can’t beat that game. No edge is there. They’ve been wrong.

It actually happened to me in Sit and Gos. People had said, you can’t beat these games, rake’s too high. You only win like three and a half buys, not worth it. Well, it was worth it for me.

People said it about Spins when they came out (i.e. three max bounty jackpots). They said, blinds are too low. How can there be an edge? There can’t be until someone came along and showed you could beat the games. And then I thought, well, those seem pretty good.

So I just say that to say when people will tell you there’s very little edge or no edge, whether it’s in shorthanded play or heads up or short sack play or whatever format it is, often it just means that they haven’t found that edge yet. But more often than not, it does exist.

Q: What are your poker goals for 2024 and beyond?

When it comes to setting poker goals for 2024 and beyond, I never set anything in regards to money. I never tell myself, “you need to win this much money in a year or you’ve failed” because that’s not fair to myself.

And part of the reason because I can’t control that. What I can control is how much volume I put in, how much work I put in, how often I’m studying, and how I’m being accountable to myself. Those are the important things. Even things like game selection or when you’re going to play all that matters.

Those are the things that I focus on when it comes to goal making because there’s a world where I do all those things. I put in the work, I play a ton of games, I am constantly improving. I become a much better player. I practice great game selection.

I do all the things I’m supposed to do, and I fall short of some arbitrary monetary goal. Does that mean I failed? It doesn’t seem like it. I succeeded in every sense of the goal, except I didn’t make the money I wanted to make. And the reason for that is not because of my work ethic, but it’s because of variance, which as I said, does play a role in our short-term results.

When you set goals, I would recommend thinking about things you can control and just trying to be the best version of yourself and hope it works out

Q: What do you hope to teach Upswing Poker students about poker?

My mind went blank because the topics that are typically discussed sort of pale in comparison to the big picture, in my opinion.

By that I mean how often you should check-raise playing with a short stack, preflop hand selection, should you bluff the river or not? What are good blocker combos?

Those are all study related questions, but those don’t seem to fit the bill here because for me, poker’s much, much more than that. It’s about discipline, it’s about accountability, it’s about growth. It’s about being willing to fail and get up again. It’s about perseverance through downswings and all the things that I just mentioned are also applicable to real life non poker situations.

We’ll all have to go through something that ups and downs in life and you just have to power through it. And poker has taught me so much about how to approach life, how to use logic more, how to try to remove emotion making or emotion from my decision making. And all the lessons I’ve learned in poker have really helped me get to where I am now, not only financially, but as a person. And so I hope people can understand and see my passion for the game and see how poker itself is a microcosm for life.

Learn from Aaron Barone now in the Upswing Lab!

Aaron’s first video is now available for viewing. Lab members can check it out here.

If you’re not a Lab member, sign up here.

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Home > Aaron Barone Won $1 Million in 5 Years. Now He Joins the Upswing Poker Team
Home > Aaron Barone Won $1 Million in 5 Years. Now He Joins the Upswing Poker Team
About the Author
Geoffrey Fisk

Geoffrey Fisk

Freelance writer and poker player based in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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