Jackie Glazier: All in or nothing

Thumbnail image for PS Women logo.jpgBack in April we took a closer look at the women to watch for on the ANZPT. Since then Team PokerStars Pro Celina Lin went on to win the Macau Poker Cup: Red Dragon title, and more recently, another female player has created waves for the Australian women with an epic performance on the greatest poker stage in the world.

It's a classic story. A poker player on the bad side of variance. The rollercoaster life of a professional poker player was taking a dip for a little too long. Thoughts of returning to the "normal workforce" again began to surface. Thoughts of giving up the dream reoccurred.

For Australian Jackie Glazier, this was a reality just a month ago. And then momentum shifted. Within weeks, Glazier had gone from facing a chilly Australian winter and skipping another WSOP grind, to finding herself heads-up for a gold bracelet.

It all began when Glazier took down the Melbourne Poker Championship at Crown last month. It was a series to remember as she found herself heads-up for the title of the opening event, only to fall agonizingly short in second place. AU$35,000 was a nice compensation, however anybody who knows Glazier knows that nothing short of the win is quite enough. Every competitive player has that same feeling. Glazier took a brief moment to acknowledge the loss and then moved on to focus on the main job at hand. The Main Event.

"Initially I allowed myself a small amount of time to shed a few tears and feel sorry for myself. I then made a conscious decision to move on from the negative thoughts of dissatisfaction and concentrate on the other tournaments, with the intention to examine any feelings of letdown at the end of the series," Glazier reflected. There wouldn't be much time for reflection on feelings of disappointment. Glazier went on to win the Main Event instead.

"Winning a Main Event is a milestone I have been trying to achieve since I started playing tournament poker two-and-a-half years ago," Glazier said.

After the AU$98,000 boost to her bankroll, Vegas was back in the cards. Glazier had a couple more goals to achieve. One was that she had still not cracked a six-figure score.

"I can't believe I still haven't got a six figure score," she half-joked soon after her win. And of course there was the lure of the bracelet that commanded the attention of poker egos all over the world.


I've been lucky enough to know Glazier since meeting her at the final table of a Ladies event at APPT Macau a few years back. Glazier's face is a familiar one on the PokerStars APPT and ANZPT circuit. At the time, she stood out as a rare Aussie lady on the otherwise male-dominated felt. Her focus at the table whenever I watched her play always stuck in my mind. When Glazier was sitting at the table, she was there for business. I could feel the intensity. She gave me tips on how to play my short stack with the ridiculously fast structure. All in or nothing. And it's also the way I would describe her commitment to poker.

As it turned out, I used her tips to advantage as I'd like to remember, and knocked her out. But in reality, it was just the cards gave me some luck, but I didn't go on to win. What I did take away was a new-found passion for the game. I was inspired by Glazier's example. I was loving not only the media side of things, but the feeling of chips ruffling through my fingers and the adrenaline surge when a pot was pushed my way. Glazier was inspiring other women on to the felt long before the spotlight of a championship title shone upon her.

"I think it is such a shame more females are not playing poker at a more competitive level. Poker is one of the few competitive environments where women can compete against men on a level playing field," Glazier said when asked about being a role model for other women. "I am always looking for ways to promote or encourage more women to play and hopefully the opportunities to do this will increase with further accomplishments."

When I asked Glazier at the beginning of May whether she was heading to Vegas, she replied that chasing the dream was getting tough with the swings and the costs of poker taking their toll.

"I'll try to win the Melbourne Championship and then I'll decide," she had said at the time. How the swings can change in this game. It's often when we get knocked down and it's almost impossible to see how to get up that we find our greatest strength. It's the Sly Stallone "Rocky factor."

Now as the significance of her runner-up finish in WSOP Event #41 starts to sink in the mainstream Australian media begins to take notice of Glazier's achievement. As the reality of winning US$450,000 dawns, in classic Glazier style, she will not lose focus for very long. She will use the experience to her advantage. Instead of mourning about getting oh-so-close to the symbol of poker greatness--a WSOP bracelet--she will use it as further motivation. Because that's what a true professional does.

Glazier was a champion to many of us before the stories of the past month unfolded. It wasn't her championship title, or the accolades of forging her way into the top 20 all-time Australian tournament winners and top 25 of the all-time female tournament winners worldwide. She has long been touted the best female player in Australia. But she never wanted that title. She simply wanted to be the best.

After continuing to chase a bracelet in Vegas--her series is not nearly done--her next focus will be back on home turf at the PokerStars APPT Melbourne event in August. She may not be wearing a bracelet (yet), but she will be wearing the trademark Glazier smile, quietly masking the fierce competitive drive and steely focus that belies a champion. All in or nothing.

APPT Melbourne runs at Crown Casino 31st August - 3rd September 2012. Satellites are running now online on PokerStars.

Kirsty Mullins
@PokerStars in PS Women