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The Scoop: Matt Glantz

by Diego Cordovez |  Published: Jan 25, 2012

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Matt GlantzMatt Glantz is one of the most respected high-stakes mixed game players in the poker world, with years of success in the largest cash games. Glantz also has more than $4.1 million in tournament earnings, making the final table of the prestigious $50,000 Poker Players Championship twice in the five years since its inception, finishing fourth in 2008 and fifth in 2011.

Glantz recently joined Card Player Magazine as a featured columnist, answering reader questions on mixed-game strategy. Readers can email him directly at matt.glantz@cardplayer.com in order to get their questions addressed.

Glantz stopped by the set of Card Player TV’s The Scoop to talk to host Diego Cordovez about mixed-games, how he learned to play the different games, and the biggest mistakes he sees talented players make when first getting into the mixed-game format.

“Truthfully, I’ve never felt like I was the best at any one game or discipline of poker. I feel that if I played at a table with eight of the best players in any one game, I’d be a big underdog. But, I feel that if we are playing a 12-game mix, and I’m playing against the top players in the world, I’m going to do fine. I am going to find spots, leaks that the other players have in certain games. I don’t think I’m better or worse in any one game than any of the others, but I do feel that I am decent in all of the games.

“For me, this came from poker instincts. I was never one to really study the games. No-limit hold’em is the first game that I have ever really studied. I probably should have studied more earlier in my career, and I probably would have been more successful than I have been in poker. It would have been a faster process. But that was never the way I learned, not in college or grad school. For me, learning by trial and error was always the best way to go. Watching really good players play, seeing what they are doing and then analyzing their play.

“One smart thing I always did was, when they added a new game that I had never heard of before, like badugi a few years ago, I would play in the game and just play super nitty and watch the game play. I would be in the game, not sitting out, but I would pretty much just pay my blinds and play the nuts. You know, I was giving up a little equity by doing that, but I learned the games that way.

“The biggest problem I see some of the newer players in mixed games make results from the fact that they feel they are really good in one game in particular. Say someone is a specialist at limit hold’em, what I see happening is them playing too many hands when that game finally comes around, knowing that he won’t be playing that game again for another hour and a half with all of the other games in the mix. So they force themselves to play more hands in the game they feel confident in.

“The guys who feel confident in all of the games have a big advantage, because in these big mixed games, the truth is that you aren’t really trying to outplay your opponents. At least in my philosophy, I’m not trying to be better than the other players in any one game. I am just trying to play all the games at a level where I am not making any mistakes and I am exploiting the mistakes that players make in certain games. That is how I make money in poker, is through other people’s mistakes, not by me playing so over-the-top.

“When you look into Bobby’s Room and you see a table of known players, every player in there thinks to themselves that they are a favorite in the game and really believes it. Obviously not everyone can be a winner in every game, but everyone feels like they’re a winner. That is the beauty of poker, sometimes it’s hard to really tell objectively, so everyone has a subjective opinion about themselves. Everyone feels like they’re a winner in most every game they’re playing. There are games that I sit out of because the field is too tough. It’s not often, but it does happen. I would love to say that I think I’m a favorite in every field, in every game, but it’s not true. So sometimes I won’t play. I’m not there to give away money. I am not there for entertainment. That’s my job. I do enjoy playing poker, don’t get me wrong, but I’m not going to enjoy it if I feel like I’m losing per hour in the game.”

To see Diego Cordovez’s full interview with Glantz, check out The Scoop on CardPlayerTV.com. ♠