In the high-stakes world of professional poker, Matt Glantz was a relative latecomer.
Right out of business school, Glantz went to work at the Philadelphia stock market. He loved it.
It wasn’t until a decade later that Glantz decided to make a career change. A big career change.
“I talked to my wife about leaving the stock market and trying poker for a year,” said Glantz, who up to then had played poker only as a hobby. “It was very successful from the start and I never looked back.”
Earlier this year, Glantz was retained by Rush Street Gaming of Chicago as a consultant to help boost Rush Street’s growing poker portfolio — including the casino that Rush is building in Schenectady.
In his new gig, Glantz is serving as a producer and event manager for Rush Street Productions, owners of the Poker Night in America television and web series.
In Schenectady, Glantz will be asked to ramp up Rush’s poker room at the future Rivers Casino and Resort at Mohawk Harbor. The 15-table Electric City casino is expected to open in 2017. Glantz also will be working closely with Rush Street’s SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia and River Casino in Pittsburgh.
The Daily Gazette caught up with Glantz recently to discuss his past, his future — and poker in Schenectady.
Q: What do you do as a pro poker player?
A: Around 2003, I started playing poker full-time. I played to earn a living. I played poker games in Atlantic City because there was no poker in the Pennsylvania area. When casinos became legalized in Pennsylvania there was a poker room near my house and I was asked by the Parx Casino to come on board in 2012 until last year. This year I joined Rush Street to help them with the SugarHouse and the Rivers and eventually in Schenectady.
Q: You have a TV show with Rush?
A: We have a TV show under our umbrella on CBS Sports. It’s called Poker Night in America. It’s on every Monday night from 9 to 10 p.m. We go to different casinos around the country and have celebrities and professionals play poker. I have been working with them on the TV show for two years.
Q: What do you do now at Rush’s casinos in Pennsylvania?
A: SugarHouse is only about 35 minutes from where I live. I have been to both of their casinos numerous times over the last month. I’m trying to build poker and make those places as player-friendly and customer-friendly as possible to give them the best experience and a lot of competition. I have a following of poker players in the area so I always want to make sure they come to the rooms I’m attached to.
Q: How did you get involved with Rush?
A: Rush Street reached out to me when I was still at Parx almost a year ago now. I was under contract at Parx for three years until the end of 2015. After six months of negotiations I was able to make the transition. Rush Street was a great opportunity because it’s a growing company and very unique in the East Coast gaming market. Rush is aggressive and has a lot of exciting things happening.
Q: Will you be making frequent visits to the Schenectady casino?
A: I’ll be there a lot in the beginning. Before we open the poker room, I’ll make sure everything is exactly what we want. I would expect to be there at least once a month and do everything we can to bring great poker tournaments and the TV show twice a year up there. Then Schenectady will get a chance to see those big-time players.
Q: Have you ever been to Schenectady?
A: No, but I hear it’s a great area. I have a buddy that lives not far from there in Troy named Shaun Deeb. He’s a local pro and grew up around there. He tells me a lot of great things about the area. There are actually a lot of poker players up there.
Q: What is your outlook on casino gaming in upstate New York?
A: I think the population is more than large enough in the surrounding area to support a nice poker room. There are poker rooms all over the country now. I know New York and East Coast people like poker so I don’t see an issue.
Q: What makes some poker players better than others?
A: Discipline is huge and an analytical approach and money management. About 90 percent of people play for entertainment purposes. It’s no different from playing blackjack or craps. Poker you are playing against other players and not the house. Some people like that aspect. It’s more competitive. The odds are the exact same for every player.
Q: Do you have any tips for newbies?
A: Poker is a great game. My advice for the new poker player is to realize that poker is just a game. Keep your wins and losses at a level where you will always be able to enjoy the experience no matter what the outcome. Poker is a fun, social adventure where you consistently get to meet interesting people from all walks of life.
Reach Gazette reporter Haley Viccaro at 395-3114, [email protected] or @HRViccaro on Twitter.