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How ‘Bluffalo Sam’ Pulled Off a $100K Bankroll Challenge Speedrun

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Sam Insole set out on unlikely mission in March of 2023: turn a $100 poker bankroll into $100,000. At that time, the lifelong Vancouverite had a steady job working in real estate, his latest professional stage after time spent in the army, working as a bartender, and traveling around Australia and New Zealand , among other adventures.

Less than a year ago, Insole had developed an itch that he couldn’t really shake. He was closing in on his 30s and kept thinking back to the poker playing days of a decade prior – days when Insole would immerse himself in online videos featuring Doug Polk and Tom Dwan and try to absorb every kernel of knowledge.

He wanted to dive back into poker headfirst, even though his only exposure to the game for most of the last decade came in the form of a few home Games each year – a long ways away from grinding out $1/$3 and online Games with a five-figure bankroll, as he had when he first fell in love with the game.

Insole set aside that $100 with a lofty dream, imagining a scenario in which he’d steadily grind away for three years to reach six figures. His bankroll challenge followed in the footsteps of players like Polk, who completed a $100 to $10,000 journey a few years ago, among many others who have pushed themselves in similar formats.

But instead of 36 months, Insole’s journey from $100 to $100,000 took a grand total of 10 – riding a rollercoaster of swings that culminated in a wild trip to play on live streaming cash Games in Texas that pushed the man known as ‘Bluffalo Sam’ over the threshold.

Long before the five-figure trip that clinched the challenge for Insole, and cash games that got as big as $10/$25, Insole took $100 – a not insignificant amount of money for him at the time – and set out on March 24, 2023 to see what he could do with it.

“I started off originally by putting $100 onto PokerStars,” said Insole. “I kind of missed poker, I wanted to get back into it but I don’t want to lose more than $100. Money was a little bit tight with some very big monthly bills in Vancouver. I was gonna play some conservative poker.”

Insole was briefly content to confine himself to the smallest of microstakes tournaments, but that idea lasted him less than a week before he decided on a full send.

“I played for three or four days, and I’m at like $130,” said Insole. “I just decided I’m gonna register the entire roll into tournaments that day and see what happens.”

For the first and only time in this challenge, Insole had his whole bankroll on the table, virtually speaking. He won a tournament for $200, and by the end of the night he’d nearly tripled his resources to $360. In less than a month, Bluffalo Sam had over $1,300, cashed it all out and set out to River Rock Casino Resort to test himself in the live $1/$3 streets.

It was another early step in his challenge, but a familiar scene for Insole. When he was just 20 years old, working one of his first ever jobs as a Blackjack dealer, a friend and coworker introduced him to poker. They’d play 10¢/25¢, and after getting cleaned out on a regular basis, Insole got fed up.

“I found Upswing Poker and some Doug Polk videos online, and just studied,” said Insole. “Played a ton of micro stakes, and then from there, I played $1/$3 full time for about a year and a half. I was working a job that paid me like $70 a day for eight-hour shifts. I made $1,200 playing $1/$3 – why would I ever work a job?”

The success that ultimately stretched for most of that two-year stretch eventually ended in a 15 buy-in tailspin that Insole couldn’t pull himself out of, triggering his long hiatus away from poker. This time around, he hoped that he’d return to his early, most successful days and continue his upward trajectory.

As his return to live poker commenced, Insole began documenting his bankroll challenge on a newly launched vlog, under his BluffaloSam moniker. His first three sessions in Vancouver bumped him up to $3,000, but a nasty runout with pocket aces in a three-way pot knocked Insole back down to $900. Every high and low played out on Insole’s vlog as he documented his thought process, enjoyed a few drinks, and made sure not to take himself too seriously despite how committed he was to the challenge.

The shots at $2/$5 became more frequent along the way, as Insole pushed the limits of his bankroll and took bigger swings. At his lowest point, Insole was back down to just $900 but fought his way back up. By the time he banked Episode 45 of his vlog the bankroll had crested over $10,000, and Insole hit another crossroad that triggered his appetite for adventure and traveling.

“With the interest rate hikes, the real estate market had been dead for the last few months before I left to America in September, and winter is generally a slow season,” said Insole. “I took six months off work to head down to America, play some poker and see how it went.

“And it went a lot better than expected.”

Insole headed down the Pacific Coast, stopping in Seattle, Portland, and all over California. He got to Vegas in November and won over $12,000 on the trip. But the biggest bankroll challenge turbo boost would come when Insole arrived in Texas in December. He booked his first $10,000 day at the Texas Card House in Las Colinas outside of Dallas, playing $5/$10/$20 stakes.

Things escalated quickly from there, and the final six weeks of the challenge whirred by in a blur. With a willingness to reset if his momentum came crashing down, Insole reached out to three different rooms and got into his first livestreamed game at Poker at the Lodge. The $5/$10 game with a $10 big blind ante started to add multiple straddles, and despite booking a $4K loss, Insole found himself all the more determined to make a big play and finish the challenge with a flourish.

After a stop into the Peaks Dallas live stream, Insole lined up his biggest, riskiest shot to date – a $10/$25/$50 game at Champions Club Texas.

“The two or three days before I played my first $10/$25/$50 was nerve-racking,” said Insole. “But a few drinks definitely do help. After an hour or two, you start to realize that like a lot of these players are pretty close to same level as the ones you’ve been playing. They can’t just look at you and tell you what your hand is. Once I got over that it was kind of easy, even though the whole session I was still a little on edge.”

Just a couple of weeks later, Insole returned to Champions Club with a bankroll of just under $80,000. And in a matter of three big days at a variety of stakes, he banked a whopping $28,885 – pushing him over $108,000, and bringing the challenge to a swift end. You might wonder if there was a celebration on the decisive hand that pushed Insole over six figures, but a lesson learned at other milestones along the way set the tone for how he wanted to handle things.

“I really struggled with that at the beginning,” said Insole. “When I was around $9,000 in the bankroll, getting to $10,000 was a very big deal for me. I would put myself in spots that I knew weren’t good just because they had the potential to get me to $10K. And I did the same at $50,000. And so, when I got close to $100K, I decided, ‘I’m going to put the tracker away.’ I had no idea how close I was that entire Champions Club trip I took.”

Taking a small sum of money and multiplying it thousands of times over is a near-universal dream for most human beings, and Insole is living it. At stakes higher than $1/$3, Insole played 382 hours of live, deepstack poker, winning at a rate of $241.50/hour (38 big blinds/hour). And so, as far as his day job is concerned, Insole has a lot of factors to consider moving forward.

“I’m supposed to return to work in March,” said Insole. “But after having all this success, with the YouTube channel kind of coming up along with making so much from poker, I’m at a crossroads right now. And I don’t really have a definite answer for that.”

Insole listed a handful of goals moving forward, including playing as high as $200/$400, winning a World Series of Poker bracelet, and hitting 100,000 subscribers on his YouTube channel by the end of 2025.

As he’s made poker progress, Insole has also leveled up his production. Along the way, he self-produced 85 vlogs from Western Canada and the United States over the course of his $100 to $100,000 challenge, picking up tips and polishing his videos along the way through trial and error and YouTube tutorials.

And no matter which diverging path he takes – part-time or full-time poker player – Insole has been forever changed along the way.

“It’s all been me since the beginning,” said Insole. “But I do really enjoy learning and all aspects of that. I spend a bunch of time looking at videography, YouTube videos on how to get better camera angles, how to edit better, how to sync up music, overlays, and all that stuff. The videos have really improved over the series, and I’ve really enjoyed the journey – both in terms of video editing, and of course with playing poker.”

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