As April turns to May, poker players everywhere check off the days on their calendars in eager anticipation of the fast-approaching World Series of Poker. But a particular subset of players have reason to be especially excited.
Those who specialize in games other than no-limit hold'em get their one chance during the year to play high-stakes tournaments in their best variants. While high stakes no limit hold'em events can be found dotting almost every single month of the year, the summer is pretty much the only chance to play $10Ks in games like stud, Omaha hi-low and 2-7 triple draw.
Count British pro Benny Glaser among those primed and ready to attack the non-NLHE events with a vengeance at the WSOP. For now, he's getting reps here at PokerStars Championship presented by Monte-Carlo Casino®, and it's going well. It may have been only a 16-player side event, but he won the €550 H.O.R.S.E. for €3,880, topping former EPT champ Jean Montury heads up.
And that win came on the heels of his victory in the very same event at EPT Prague in December, defeating a field of 48 for €6,900. He also won the €550 Six-Handed Quadruple Stud for €6,400, besting 43 other runners.
Today, he switched gears over to no-limit and fired in the €2,200 PokerStars National High Roller.
Glaser is coming off of an epic summer in 2016, one in which he stamped his name on the poker map by winning a pair of bracelets. Both came in Omaha hi-low. Glaser shipped the $1,500 event for $244,103 and then followed it up just a few days later with victory in the $10,000 event for $407,194.
Add in two more final table finishes and a 12th in another event, and it all comprised what Glaser called a dream summer.
Though he was already the owner of a WSOP bracelet from a small triple draw event in 2015, Glaser certainly opened up some eyes with his rampage in 2016. Most would say it's impossible to repeat such a performance, but Glaser admitted he feels he has something to live up to now.
"Yeah, I do feel a fair bit of pressure," he said. "That's partly why I won't go super-hard on myself in the draft this year like I did last year."
Friends and acquaintances in the poker community have already been clamoring to get a read on Glaser's plans for the summer, trying to see if he can help carry their squads to victory. Fear not, prospective buyers, Glaser has his eyes on a full schedule stocked with $10K events and $1,500s, with the potential for another shot in the $50,000 Poker Players Championship mixed in.
But how does one follow up a dream summer? Almost any result Glaser puts up in 2017 will fall short of what he accomplished in 2016.
"It's kind of hard to say," he said when asked what he'd consider a success. "I'm not expecting to get as big of a summer. I'm not expecting three bracelets this year or whatever.
"One bracelet, I'd for sure be happy. I think a top-three finish in certain events, I'd be happy."
He's preparing in much the same way he did last year. He plans to play a full schedule in PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker, which features plenty of mixed-game action leading almost right into the WSOP. Then, he'll be taking a week of what he called "semi-relaxation."
When the time comes to fly over the pond, Glaser had best be ready, since one of the stretches he's most anticipating will kick off opening week. The two Omaha events he won in 2016 begin during the first week of competition.
"Going back-to-back would be nice," Glaser said.
After that, he's most looking forward to the Poker Players Championship and the Main Event. When it comes time to sit in for the $50K, Glaser will be back to a role as one of the more anonymous faces in the field despite his status as a three-time bracelet winner.
If his results over the past year are any judge, he might have added another to his collection by then.