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Benny Glaser is the typical accidental pro poker player, but his story veers off the course of most others with his 2016 World Series of Poker accomplishment. It not only sets him apart from the majority of WSOP gold bracelet winners but makes him a true Omaha specialist. This summer, he won two WSOP events in the course of one week.

Glaser’s father was partly responsible for his son’s interest in online poker, but the younger Glaser is solely responsible for the skill level he practices today. Over years of play and study, he eventually became a professional player, competing mostly online and playing predominantly Pot-Limit Omaha.

The Southampton native eventually began to test his poker proficiency at the live tables, and he scored his first victory when the EPT and UKIPT tours came to London in 2013. After that NL Omaha Hi-Lo win, he made a few more final tables before trekking to the WSOP in 2014. That trip was uneventful to say the least, and a disappointed Glaser returned home and back to the online tables.

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Persistence paid off, though. Glaser made another trip to Las Vegas in the summer of 2015. He cashed in the Millionaire Maker event, and ten days later, he was playing the $1,500 2-7 Triple Draw Lowball tournament, something a little deeper in his wheelhouse. And he won the event, taking home his first gold bracelet and more than $136K.

Back in Europe, he went on to final table tournaments at multiple EPT events and win EPT trophies in Prague and Monte Carlo while also tossing in other victories, like at the WPT National series in Brussels. Glaser was then on a plane back to Las Vegas this summer and put his ever-improving skills to work quickly. He finished 12th in the $1,500 2-7 Draw Lowball event and then fifth in the $10K 207 Draw Lowball Championship. Days later, he won the $1,500 Omaha Hi-Lo Split-8 or Better and followed that up immediately with a bracelet victory in the $10K Omaha Hi-Lo Split-8 or Better Championship. He also notched cashes in the $1,500 NLHE/PLO event and $1,500 Seven-Card Stud events soon after.

Glaser has gone from an online PLO8 specialist to the record books of the 2016 WSOP. Poker Update had the chance to ask him a few questions about his career and most recent experiences.

Poker Update:  When did poker first come into your life?

Benny Glaser:  When I was around 14-15, I saw my dad was playing it online, and I became interested.

Poker Update:  At what point and under what circumstance did you go pro?

Benny:  Turning pro was a pretty gradual process for me, over a long period. I considered myself part-time professional for probably around two years, while I still was doing one or two other things at the same time, and I wasn’t putting that many hours playing it to really consider it a full-time job. Then around two to three years ago, poker was basically my only income and I guess I officially considered myself professional, and also increased the amount of time I spent studying and working on it.

Poker Update:  How much time do you spend each week playing online poker?

Benny:  It depends on the week, I guess around 25 hours on average of actually playing, plus more time studying. But, for example during SCOOP, which was when I last played online, I played something like 70-75 hours a week.

Poker Update:  What attracted (and still attracts) you to non-Hold’em games?

Benny:  I was interested in PLO8 quite early on, something like seven years ago. I found it both fun and also it seemed very profitable and lucrative, with very few other good players. I then enjoyed just trying out one or two other new games out of interest and fun, as well as for some variety.

Poker Update:  Your 2014 trip to the WSOP… was it the “dream” of playing in the WSOP that took you there?               

Benny:  I had always wanted to go to the WSOP. It’s almost every poker player’s dream to go to the WSOP and have success. I think that year in particular I wanted to go because I felt like poker was getting increasingly tough in general, and also is/was somewhat of an unpredictable environment, so if I was going to go to the WSOP at just one point in my life, I thought the sooner the better.

Also, I just wanted a bit of a holiday then. 🙂

Poker Update:  With no cashes in 2014, what brought you back in 2015?

Benny:  I actually almost didn’t come back last year. But I still knew that the WSOP was (expected to be) a profitable venture in the long run, and I had also improved since the previous year, so I decided to give it another shot.

Poker Update:  You have a lot of wins in side events at major poker festivals. What do those victories mean to you?

Benny:  Well it depends on which win as to how much it means to me. The very first one meant a lot, as it was my first real live win. Winning any tournament is always fun. The tougher the field, the bigger the tournament/money, and the more prestigious it is, the more it means.

Poker Update:  You came very close to another $1,500 2-7 victory. What or who stopped your run?

Benny:  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to play the event I won last year because I was still in the $10k O8. I really wanted to though. As for my 12th in the Single Draw, I think it was just a pretty standard bust.

Poker Update:  Final tabling the $10K 2-7 and then winning two WSOP events in a week is the roll of a lifetime for a poker pro. Do you feel that you’re getting the credit you deserve?

Benny:  Now I do actually, yes. It’s generally nice. Quite a big deal was made of it, and it’s still pretty fun/nice for me when random people who I’ve never met congratulate me, as well as respected pros.

Although at the same time it was also fun to be undercover before this publicity, when almost nobody knew who I was (even after my first bracelet win)!

Poker Update:  What’s next? And do you have anything special planned for your winnings?

Benny:  I played the $50k Poker Players Championship, which I wasn’t originally planning to play. I didn’t cash it, but it was fun and I don’t regret playing it. I still felt pretty comfortable in it.

As for plans for what to do with the money, one thing I said to myself last year was if/when I win my next bracelet, I would buy myself another guitar, a particular expensive one, which I’ve been dreaming about since I was about 15. So I’m looking forward to that. Other than that, and more financial freedom in choosing a flat to move to, I think a holiday to somewhere is in order. Lying on a beach somewhere for a week or two sounds pretty good right about now.

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Jennifer Newell

Jennifer has been a freelance writer in the poker industry for a decade. She left a full-time job with the World Poker Tour to tell the stories of poker. She now lives in St. Louis, writes about poker while pursuing other varied interests, and speaks her mind on Twitter… a lot.