Benny Glaser put on a 2023 WCOOP performance that will surely go down in poker history. Over the past month or so, Glaser has won a record-setting 7 WCOOP titles, bringing his total COOP titles to a mind-boggling 25. It’s a high watermark that seems likely to stand the test of time.
That is, unless, Glaser sees fit to break his own record next year. Or, more dramatically, someone else rises to the challenge issued.
PokerOrg spoke with Glaser following the grind to ask him about how he managed to win all these titles and still miss out on the Player of the Series title, plus his plans for the rest of 2023.
A record-setting run, an unbeatable accomplishment
Seven titles. Wow. How are you feeling? Are you in recovery mode?
Benny Glaser: Kind of in recovery mode, yeah. Today…oof, that was kind of a struggle getting out of bed, I kind of wanted to just stay there, frankly. It’s crazy, it’s the first day in a while without plans to play online or sweat something. Now, it’s just a few days for recovery before the next travels.
I’m feeling overall relatively happy about the series, some kind of mixed emotions. It ended on a rough note and the last week was pretty tough. I felt a bit ill for the last week and a half.
Yeah, you know it sounds a little ridiculous to ask this question after you’ve won so many titles, but are you disappointed in the ending [not getting Player of the Series]? Does it diminish the accomplishment in your mind at all?
BG: Sort of, yeah, frankly. And it sucks to say that.
The last week just put a damper on it, especially when it’s all the bigger stuff: the Main Events, all the $10k buy-ins, that was pretty rough. Financially, compared to the rest of the series, it was tough.
Also, the Player of the Series. I did really want that title, it’s something that I’ve wanted for a while. I think of it as a cool accomplishment. So, I am honestly pretty disappointed that I didn’t get there, especially after having such an incredible series. It feels like, I don’t know, if I’m ever hoping to get it in the future…then that sucks.
I would like to be able to say that I’m only feeling positive emotions and only feeling delighted, but it’s been tough the last week.
“It’s just quintessential poker, it makes it great fun.”
Did you have a favorite win out of the seven, one that sticks out to you? Or is it all just a blur at this point?
BG: I can actually remember them distinctly. As for a favorite, it’s either the $1,000 Single Draw because that’s my favorite game and I’ve come second in that event twice before. It’s nice to win one in that variant. Or, it’s the $320 No Limit Hold’em, my first no-limit WCOOP. Battling over a thousand people, the field was huge. I was on a short stack for the final table, but battled hard and the heads-up was pretty tough. Yeah, I was pretty happy winning that one. That was the fifth one, it had made for such an amazing series so far.
I think it was that one I was happiest about.
You touched on this briefly, something we wanted to ask. You play, we would say, every variant, maybe there are some you don’t. Is Single Draw the favorite for you?
BG: Yeah, that’s overall the favorite. I think it’s the purest poker game probably. I find it the most fun.
Is it the fun that makes it your favorite?
BG: It’s also just the essence is so pure. It’s generally historically regarded as the purest variant for poker. It’s a simple game in some ways, but there’s still room for creativity and some extra ways to navigate and find edges. So, I still enjoy it for that as well.
The pure form of poker is just spots where it’s like, “Is he bluffing or not?”, for example. It’s just quintessential poker, it makes it great fun.
What about the rest of the year? Do you have plans to play more or are you taking life easy post-WCOOP?
Yeah, so I’ll be playing a fair bit. I’m not completely sure yet, but I have four more days here in Vancouver before EPT Cyprus. And that’s very exciting, it’s the first time the EPT has been there. After that, I’m not sure, I have a month off. I might go to WSOP Europe in Rozvadoz, but I might just skip it.
I might actually try to travel, I’ve been putting it off this year. So, I’m considering going somewhere like Thailand, or somewhere new, for some kind of cool retreat I’ve never done before.
And then Vegas in December, for the WPT [World Championship]. I don’t think I’ll go to Bahamas for WSOP, but maybe I’ll do both if I’m feeling up to it.
Managing the tables
Talk to us about your setup for WCOOP. Do you rock the double monitors, twenty tables open, music blasting? Or are you in more of a zen mode?
BG: I think one monitor would be impossible, so, yeah I have two curved monitors. Although, one of them still isn’t set up properly graphics-wise, it’s got black bars on the side of the screen. For the leaderboards, I just have to have a bunch of tables open, up to ten or eleven at some stages. It’s hard in that way because I’d like to focus on the tables, but I also enjoy having my attention elsewhere. Occasionally music, but often like a Twitch stream up in the background. So, I’ll watch that, but try not to get distracted.
Unfortunately it’s really hard with this PC I’ve been using for the last three years. It’s a very good PC, but with PokerStars it has a ton of issues that are really brutal. Nobody knows this, or most people don’t, but every day I have really serious issues with PokerStars. My client will just freeze and it’s more prone to do that when I have more tables. I’ll hit register for a tournament and all the graphics just die so I have to restart the client. And this happens multiple times a day.
The extra crazy thing is it doesn’t disconnect me properly, it thinks I’m still there. So, even if I reconnect immediately, what happens is my hands have been open folded. I just forfeit the pot in every scenario. That happens every day. On final tables, three-handed. It’s cost me a ton of equity. I’m not kidding when I say I would have done better this WCOOP if this wasn’t happening. It’s brutal.
Wait, that’s insane. Is the issue something on your end or on PokerStars’ side?
BG: It’s a PokerStars’ issue with compatibility on my PC. The [PokerStars] devs have been working on it for like a good year now. They’ve been communicating all this time and they’ll think they have a fix, but it just hasn’t happened yet, I’m struggling to find solutions.
I’m somehow hoping it won’t be like this next year, but I may have to just buy a new PC specially for PokerStars.
It might be worth it, just for the peace of mind.
BG: At this point it’s definitely cost me enough in equity, probably like $10,000 in equity each series.
Finding success online and live
Aside from the obvious, what do you think is the biggest difference between live and online poker? You’ve had success in both arenas, so we’d love to hear how you manage to do that.
BG: They’re both draining in different ways. Online I’m playing so many tables, it’s a decision every second or two and that can be hard for eight hours a day, especially with limited breaks. That’s one of the toughest things, not having breaks, especially when it’s every day for a month.
Live poker takes a lot of physical stamina. You’re sitting in the chair a certain way for hours on end, trying to focus on not giving anything away physically. And you’re also trying to focus, visually, on the action more. If you’re trying to gain reads on your opponents for exploits, that’s a skill in and of itself.
Online can be more fun, there’s so much action happening, it’s more constant. Live requires much more patience and discipline in that sense, the action is slower. It’s nine-handed, you aren’t playing hands as frequently.
So, your preference is online then?
BG: I wouldn’t necessarily say that. As far as playing, it generally is, but it’s a more insular experience as well, that I don’t like. It’s just quite an isolating experience, especially for the long grinds. I’d say both have their own pros and cons.
Where do you derive such a massive edge from in the online mixed games events? To put it another way: how are you winning seven WCOOP titles?
BG: Obviously, there’s some luck. Experience is absolutely one of the key points, both just being there before in certain scenarios and because mixed games have rarer outcomes. There are still some adjustments you can make, the player pools are smaller so you generally know who you’re playing against. Given that they’re rarer games, people play them less. So, my edge over the players that play them less is greater.
Any closing thoughts looking back on WCOOP 2023?
BG: I hope after today I’m going to be able to look back on WCOOP a bit more favorably than I have this week. Focus more on the positives rather than feeling that dampening disappointment. Yeah, I hope I can get over that, the hangover of it.
It’s absolutely a cool achievement and I’m definitely proud of it. It would be very cool if it’s a record that’s never able to be broken.
We think there’s a good chance that one won’t be broken for a while, but who knows? Lots of good players out there, we’ll just have to tune in next year.
BG: Maybe it’ll be me.
That would be pretty sweet. Thanks for your time and insights, Benny. Best of luck with the rest of the year!