An Interview With Matt Glantz

5 years ago
An Interview With Matt Glantz
13 May

Many of you will know him from the popular Poker Night in America show, others from his highly successful playing career, and others yet from his no-nonsense approach to the world of poker in general – so a delve inside the life and mind of Matt Glantz is sure to unearth a wealth of stories and views!

Getting the Pennsylvanian pro to name names, however, is a different matter altogether – my journalist’s nose meeting a professional brick wall when I ask him to name the worst player he has had on the PNiA show.

Poker Night in America

“I am a Producer on the show,” Matt tells me, explaining, “I have many roles and put out many fires, mostly dealing with players who play on the show, naming Mike Dentale and Mike Sigel as his favorites because “both players wear their hearts on their sleeve”, but the worst? “No comment”.

Which is absolutely fine, because digging deeper into the questions and answers shows Matt as someone with a very positive view towards life and the poker world, and you get the feeling he wants our game to grow and not be labelled by its negative characters or events.

His feelings on the Dentale-Hall match up which made daily headlines in the poker world, often of the wrong kind, were the positive and pragmatic:

“Glad we did it. Glad it’s over. Great for both players and great for Poker Night in America.”

PNiA, and Glantz himself, have their critics of course – the recent Salomon ‘HashTagKing’ Ponte appearance being the “nut low” according to many fans of the game – but it’s the characters in poker which Glantz sees as defining the future of the game.

“Any poker player that understands his role as an entertainer at the table is great for the game.  There doesn't have to be TV cameras rolling for a true pro to entertain the recreational players at the table.  Players need to understand that recreational players play poker for entertainment purposes.”

Slow-rollers and high-rollers

One of those players is Shaun Deeb, a regular on PNiA whose slow-rolls are all part of the act, and described by Matt as:

“Great for the show. He brings a lot of emotions and subsequent reactions. Deeb is one of the select few players that knows what it takes to be a professional poker player and a professional entertainer at the same time.”

As for the others and what they have to offer to the future of the game, Glantz says:

“I like to be optimistic but also realistic.  Players need to make a more formal and consistent role in moulding the game of poker into what they want it to become.”

A sneaky question about what billionaires say when talk turns to money, however, meets with the ‘silent treatment’. “Never comment about what billionaires say. They tend not to like that!” So, suitably chastened for my nosiness, it’s time to change the subject!

Player and creater

Matt Glantz, of course, is not only PNiA. As a player he has won over $6million in tournaments alone, and has won and lost cash game pots of $80K at a time, naming ‘Mike the Hat’ as the best player he has ever faced.

But it’s not the big wins which fill him with his greatest sense of achievement, as he explains:

“Winning the London EPT HighRoller was fun and making the final table of the $50K Players Championship twice and a 12th to go with it is a sense of pride.”
“But, I think my biggest professional accomplishment to date was creating the ParxBigStax Tournament Series with the help from Bill Entenman.  I am now looking at ways to do even bigger things with our Rush St Properties in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and NY.”

It’s a busy life away from the table, but Matt does plan to get as many hands in as possible at this summer’s WSOP, telling me:

“I will be back and forth a few times from the east coast to Vegas.  I will play when I am able, but can't play a full schedule.”

Surprisingly, to me at least, Glantz doesn’t seem to have been hit by the vlogging bug, admitting "I don't know anything about vlogging,” although he does follow Joey Ingram’s podcast when time allows.

 “Joey is great at what he does,” says Matt, and I finally force him into something a tiny bit negative when asked whether Chicago Joey ought to take a tougher line with guests on occasion:

“Yeah, I wouldn't mind him hitting with a hard question from time to time.”

Skeletons? No sir!

Speaking of which, Matt’s tweet a while back which stated: “It's a wonderful thing having no skeletons in the closet. U get to say what u want, when u want, to whoever u want, and always be real,” had my ears pricking up. Really? No skeletons in your closet?

“None that I can think of,” says Matt. “And with all the know-it-alls and self-righteous hypocritical characters in poker always trying to take me down, it would have certainly come out by now.”

Fair enough, but what about the skeletons in other players’ closets? There must be some juicy stuff Matt has come across in his years in the game and the industry?

“Ha, I know a ton,” says Matt, but the lips are still zipped tight when it comes to naming names. “I just worry about doing the right things myself. I don't tell other people how to live their lives.  That's on them, but I have no desire to take anyone down, so no comment.”

Of course, my journalistic skills know no end (no beginning some might say!) so a quickfire, first-thing-that-pops-into-your-mind series of questions might drag the hidden ‘nasty’ side of Glantz out from hiding.

  • Doug Polk: Rising Star
  • Daniel Negreanu: Top Dawg
  • Phil Hellmuth: Legend
  • Jason Mercier: Great Kid
  • PokerStars: Old
  • PNIA: Growing
  • the poker media: Fake News (ouch!)
  • online poker: Dust
  • live poker: The Future

It’s a revealing interview in many ways, Matt quite happy to give his frank and forthright views on many things, but obviously of the opinion that any ‘individual problems’ which might pop up should be settled in private, or on his PNiA baby, because at least that will bring poker to the masses.

It seems as good a time as any to pop in the questions: Who or what is currently the ‘best thing for poker’? And the worst?

“The best thing about poker is the people of poker.  Poker is a fantastic collection of inspiring, intelligent, diverse people.”
“The worst thing about poker right now is the overriding sense of entitlement with many players who still don't get it.”

And that, you get the feeling, is something that Matt Glantz will be working on for the next while – encouraging the good people to keep doing good, and the bad to sort themselves out, to better themselves and the game!

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Andrew from Edinburgh, Scotland, is a professional journalist, international-titled chess master, and avid poker player.Read more


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