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A Poker Life: Jackie Glazier

Glazier Talks About Her Poker Success

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Jackie GlazierIt’s only been a little more than three years since Australia’s Jackie Glazier became a professional poker player, but during that time she has already grown from a local low-stakes grinder into a staple of the international circuit and one the best newcomers to the game today.

The 40-year-old has racked up $1.2 million in tournament cashes, a gold WSOP bracelet, and the title of last woman standing in the 2013 WSOP main event.

This is a look at her career thus far.

Growing Up In Melbourne

Jackie Glazier was born Nov. 28, 1973 in Melbourne, Australia as the older of two children. Her father was in law enforcement, working for the police search and rescue squad. Her mother worked in banking.

Glazier grew up loving competitive sports, playing tennis and even venturing into body boarding, volleyball, and basketball. Though she was a good student, she wasn’t always known for being on her best behavior and “was constantly in detention.”

Though she could’ve gone in any number of directions with her career, she ultimately felt lost until she discovered poker.

“I studied for a Bachelor of Secondary Education in Human Movement and Science (physical education) with a minor in Mathematics,” she said. “I loved these subjects but never really wanted to teach. To be honest I did not really have any idea about what I wanted to do after leaving school. Ideally, I wanted a job that involved travel and was challenging enough to keep me interested and motivated. I searched for a long time and I thought I was destined to be stuck in a job I had no passion for until I finally found poker.”

Poker Beginnings

Though Australia experienced a poker boom in 2005 after native Joe Hachem won the World Series of Poker main event, Glazier didn’t get into poker until 2008.

“My only experience with poker was playing a bit of draw poker as a kid with my Nan and Pop on school holidays,” Glazier recalled. “I grew up playing a lot of cards with my grandparents, but we seldom played poker. In 2008, I went to a $20 home game with some friends. We played a knockout sit-n-go tournament, which was the first time I had ever played no-limit hold’em. Later that year, I casually started playing some low-limit cash games on weekends at the Crown Casino.”

Glazier’s first tournament experience came during a ladies event at the casino.

“I think the buy-in was about $80 and I was so nervous. It was at this time that I decided I preferred tournament poker to cash games. I continued to play cash games to try and build a bit of a bankroll to try satellites and enter more tournaments. In 2010, I started playing more tournaments and by 2011 I was playing full-time tournament poker.”

Turning Pro

Perhaps Glazier was a bit too eager to join the professional poker player community.
“I started playing full time poker way too early,” she admitted. “It’s a very steep learning curve and it is hard to survive when you are making so many mistakes at the table. I tried a lot of coaching with various players to fast track my skills in the game but just before WSOP in 2012, I was ready to quit.”

Though she was at her wit’s end with the game, Glazier toughed it out and was rewarded handsomely for her patience.

“I played the Melbourne Championship Series that May and I told my husband that unless I had some good results, I was going to quit. Unless I won the main event, we would not be going to Las Vegas that year. I came second in the opening event for $35,000 AUD and went on to win the main event for $95,000 AUD. We booked flights to Vegas and I came second in a WSOP event and cashed in the main event. I am so glad now I did not give up but it can definitely be a tougher life than a lot of people imagine.”

Jackie GlazierFinding Major Success

It was a magical summer run for Glazier. Not only did she bank $458,996 for the runner-up finish, but she also notched her second WSOP main event cash, finishing in 284th place for $38,453. Although it was a life-changing score and gave Glazier the confidence to continue her career, she was heartbroken at missing out on her first bracelet.

“Finishing second in that $3,000 event was the most disappointing moment of my entire poker career,” she said. “It took me a few days to move through the disappointment and get to the point of celebrating. If I only ever took pride in winning, it would be very disheartening and I think I would hate the game. I try as much as possible to celebrate small achievements as well as the wins.”

Glazier followed up her impressive 2012 campaign with a deep run in the 2013 WSOP main event. She earned a lot of TV time as the last woman standing, finishing in 31st place for $229,281. It was her third cash in the most prestigious tournament in the world in the last four years, a feat rarely accomplished given the massive fields.

“In big field tournaments, like the WSOP, my strategy is not to take too many risks in the first few days of the tournament. Being the chip leader day 1, 2 or 3 is totally irrelevant. The reward to double up early or to play big pots does not outweigh the risks in the earlier stages of the tournament. I play fairly conservative at the beginning and start to make more moves as we get deeper. There are a lot of amateurs in the field as well. It makes sense to save your flips until you are up against the better players as the field is reduced.”

After the summer, Glazier took her talents to France for the WSOP Europe series. There, she managed to final table the €1,000 buy-in ladies event. Before playing out the final table, Glazier ordered a bottle of champagne, confident in her inevitable victory. Her prediction came true and she was rewarded withs her first bracelet and the €21,850 first-place prize.

“I am not 100 percent sure whether it was confidence or an immense hunger and want to win that caused me to go out and buy that bottle of champagne. I just had this overriding feeling before the tournament even started that I would win the bracelet. When I reached the final heads-up stage of the tournament I needed to take a few moments to calm my thoughts. The magnitude of difference between how I would feel if I finished second again, compared to how much I wanted to celebrate my first bracelet was so immense. When the final card was dealt I was slightly unsure if I had my opponent’s chips covered. Once the tournament director counted the stacks and I realized I had secured the bracelet my most overwhelming emotion was absolute sheer relief.”

Women In Poker

Glazier’s run in the WSOP main event and her subsequent win in the WSOP Europe ladies event have made her one of the top rising female poker players in the game today.

“I think that it is inevitable that for as long as women only make up such a small percentage of the field in the WSOP that there will be focus on a female making a deep run. I am proud of the title even though it was never my goal to just outlast the other female competitors. Unfortunately I think the focus on the last woman standing can cause a lack of camaraderie between the female players. I cannot wait to celebrate the day a woman wins. I hope it is me, but I will be extremely happy regardless.”

Glazier sympathizes with some of the prominent female poker players who don’t like the idea of a ladies event and just want to be viewed as equals on the felt, but also sees the event as an important part of recruiting more women to the game.

“Anything that promotes more females playing poker is great as far as I am concerned and this includes ladies events,” she said. “I think holding female-only tournaments during a series is a great way for women to get more involved in the game especially if they feel intimidated in the fields that are dominated by males.”

Moving Forward

Glazier’s recent success has led to other opportunities, including a sponsorship deal with 888.com.

“I am so proud to represent such a fantastic company. They understand the competitive nature of the game but they really want their players to enjoy themselves and have a good time. The players are really friendly and the group of ambassadors are a great support team. I feel very lucky to be part of the team.”

Though she admits it can sometimes be hard to form friendships as a traveling poker pro when you only see some people once or twice a year, she loves the lifestyle that poker allows her to experience.

“Over time I have met some amazing people playing and I try to associate with the players that have a similar positive outlook and have some balance in their lives outside of poker. I love how the game is always evolving and it challenges me every time I play. As my skills improve over time it makes me realize how much more I need to learn to become a better player. I still feel so blessed that I get to travel around the world doing something I really love.” ♠