PokerMedia Australia Managing Editor Ben Blaschke speaks with Australian poker icon, WSOP bracelet winner and star of Survivor 2019, Jackie Glazier, about the upcoming APL Million at The Star in Sydney, running from this Thursday 27 February to Monday 9 March.
PokerMedia Australia: This is the 4th year of the APL Million at The Star. What sets this tournament series apart from the other major series across Australia each year?
Jackie Glazier: I think, for me, it does have a majority of grassroots players playing and it’s such a fun atmosphere. It’s probably the biggest tournament that a lot of these players have played in so there is a lot of excitement around it and it’s just a really fun tournament to play.
PMA: Does that change your approach, having a more “grassroots” field?
JG: I think there is a big misconception that the grassroots, recreational player doesn’t necessarily have a great poker game, which is not necessarily the case. Just because someone doesn’t choose to be a full-time poker player doesn’t mean they can’t be very good or that they don’t put a lot of time into their game. There are so many great recreational players out there so to sit at a table and pre-judge someone on their game based on whether they are a “pro” or an APL player would be a mistake. You’ve still got to work out their game as quickly as possible, so I treat it like any other tournament.
I mean, you sit down in the WSOP main event and you have a really wide demographic of players there as well, so my job stays the same – to adjust to the table dynamics. You never know what your table draw is going to be.
PMA: Is it fair to say there are fewer soft spots these days than there used to be?
JG: Yeah and the recreational players do still invest a lot more time these days and they have so much more information available to them now. There are so many online training sites, so these players do invest a lot of time into training and learning more about the game. They are more knowledgeable than they used to be so I think the game has evolved a lot. Players that want to invest more time into it can do it from home these days. Players are getting better.
PMA: What are your thoughts on the health of the live poker scene in Australia right now?
JG: It’s looking very good. The longer online poker takes to come back the more detrimental it will be in the long term for poker in general but we haven’t seen too many detrimental effects just yet in terms of the lack of online poker.
PMA: How important has the APL been to the development of poker in Australia?
JG: I think it’s pivotal. Without grassroots players you don’t have professional players. That’s where everyone starts. Places like the APL, this is the future of poker in Australia. Players aren’t starting online anymore, they are going to their local pub and having a game and that’s where our new players are coming from. They are instrumental in the growth of poker in Australia.
PMA: How did your association with the APL begin and how has it developed over the years?
JG: I’ve been with APL for a very long time. Even when I was with Party Poker I was still working with the APL and doing a couple of appearances and so forth with them. I’ve always been really passionate about grassroots poker and have always seen it as a really important part of the growth of poker. Also, the APL community has been so supportive of me in my career. When I’ve been doing well in tournaments around the world they’ve been the ones that have been most vocal in their support of me and when I’ve been down in the dumps they’ve been sending their condolences. It’s a community I’ve always wanted to give back to. I love working with the APL and the players especially.
PMA: What is your schedule looking like for the APL Million?
JG: I arrive on Thursday 5 March and I know I’m playing the Teams event because we’ve got a competition running on Facebook to find a teammate for me!
I’ll play the main event and whatever else they tell me to! Plus I’ll do some work on the live stream if I bust from the main event. I’ve never actually made Day 2 of the APL Million main event to be honest so my track record is not the greatest! I’ll be out on the floor talking to players and having some fun out there as well and helping them out, because for a lot of players this is the biggest tournament they’ve ever played in so I want to support them to have a good time.
PMA: How is 2020 shaping up for you?
JG: Probably similar to last year. I had a pretty normal schedule in 2019. Obviously there are tournaments that I play every year like the Aussie Millions, WSOP and then the major tournaments here in Australia but I did less travel last year. I stepped back from the travel side of things. This year I’ll do the WSOP but I’ll step back again on the overseas travel.
Without the online poker support, financially it’s very difficult, so I find it easier to spend more time playing in Australia. I mean, in 2018 Jamie (Jackie’s husband) and I spent a lot of months apart. We were crossing paths for most of the year and we decided that, given he had supported me for a lot of years, I would take a step back with the overseas travel.
PMA: Of course, aside from your poker prowess you also appeared on Survivor last year. How has life changed for you since Survivor?
JG: Life hasn’t changed whatsoever. I ticked something so amazing off my bucket list that I never thought I would tick off. I mean, who gets to say they have gone and played the greatest game in the world? I’m such a big Survivor fan so that was such a dream come true and I’m very, very grateful.
Other than that, nothing has changed for me other than the fact that I’m now part of this amazing Survivor community. It’s not just my season, but other seasons too that I have a close connection with. I feel super grateful to have had that opportunity but it hasn’t been life changing.
PMA: What similarities can you draw between the challenges you faced on Survivor and those you face at the poker table?
JG: None. None at all. Climbing walls and playing poker are two totally different things. I guess back in camp is more similar – reading people and getting a gauge on your environment, who’s trying to bluff you, who is lying, who to trust, so the camp I suppose is more similar. But there is definitely no similarity in the challenges.
PMA: Lastly, do you have any advice for players playing in the APL Million for the first time?
JG: I think the biggest advice is that coming from your normal APL games which are Turbo structured, because they have to be – no one wants to play on a Wednesday night and be finishing at 4am – so my advice is don’t panic. If you lose chips early on Day 1, the structure is amazing and you have plenty of time to get them back. Just have fun with it and take your time.