MEET THE LATEST WSOP CHAMPION – GREG OSTRANDER
Name: Greg Ostrander
Birthplace: Oakfield, New York
Childhood: Upstate New York
Current Residence: Webster, New York
Profession: Professional Poker Player
Marital Status: Married
Education: B.A. Criminal Justice
Previous Occupation: Police Officer in Monroe County Sheriff’s Office (Rochester, NY)
Other Facts: Once modeled for Calvin Klein menswear
AN INTERVIEW WITH THE WINNER
Question: You made a great comeback against your final opponent. How did that happen?
Ostrander: I am pretty good with a short stack. What I needed was that break last night. Obviously it turned out the way I wanted it to. Just when I started making my way back after Jackie got me down, I thought here we go again and fortunately I came out on top.
Question: Can you describe how Jackie Glazier played? Tell us about your experience playing with her, since she started heads-up play with a 3 to 1 chip lead.
Ostrander: Jackie was like two different players yesterday. When we were ten handed, Jackie was a very tight player, only playing premium hands. The minute Jackie got down to three-handed it was like she switched gears and became more aggressive which is very difficult to play against. I wasn’t ready for that and I think that was what made me go from 5 million to 3 million in that big pot. I think from that point on yesterday it was tough for me to recover. I wasn’t prepared for her switching gears again. Today, I had that same game plan, I did not think that she was going to change and I thought I was going to have to switch gears if she did, but thank god I got the right hands when I needed them.
Question: It seems we had two different final tables yesterday. Ten-handed was playing so tight and slow and when we lost one player to get to nine-handed, it went crazy. Will you tell us about that stretch?
Ostrander: It was unbelievable. That honestly was a difficult table. JP Kelly was one of the best players at the table and he ended going out in 10th and I had never really seen him play that tight before and I really wasn’t ready for him to be playing like that. The guy in Seat 9, I am not sure who that was but I believe he just won the UniBet, he was probably the most dangerous guy at the table. He was tough, a nasty player and I did not look forward to playing a bunch of pots together. Unfortunately, we were in a lot of pots together. But fortunately, I came out on top and it actually helped me maintain my stack. Once we lost JP Kelly there was two or three eliminations right in a row. From there, it just snowballed. It was amazing to go two and half hours without losing a player all the way down to three handed in I do not know how quick it was.
Question: How important was it for you to win a gold bracelet? Talk about the victory if it presents any validation to you.
Ostrander: I mean it’s the goal for everybody. I cashed in the Main Event and I think I finished in the 232 spot and I thought that was a really good achievement out of 7,000 players. However, one thing I have learned over the years is no matter how far you go in a tournament unless you end up winning the tournament you are always feeling defeated. I had a little monkey on back today because of the three-to-one chip lead. My friends have the mindset and other players that in poker guys feel like it’s a man’s world. I hate to say it because there are a lot of great female players out there like Jackie, Vanessa Selbst - that are much better than a lot of guys. But if I did not win, I felt like I was going to hear about it forever from my friends. My friends do not realize how good she actually played. I thought she was going to be easy until we got heads up but to be honest with you but she got the best of me at some point.
Question: Aside from poker, tell us more about Greg Ostrander.
Ostrander: I modeled for about 10 years through several different agencies. I modeled for Calvin Klein, Banana Republic, and Tommy Hilfiger. As I was doing that out of college, I got a degree in criminal justice. I became a police officer, a sheriff deputy in Rochester, New York for about eight years. Believe it or not, in my eighth year I ended up getting into a confrontation with a person that had been arrested. I got bit in the neck and had to go through testing and it was like my third time having to go through a test like that, which is a scary thing. I thought, I am only making $60,000 to $70,000 a year and I was playing underground poker games at the time where in a week I was making more than I made in a month as a police officer. I thought I am just going to quit this eight years and I actually did quit. What happened was I had a four-year degree and I could not find a job making as much as I was making as a cop at the time, everything was paying like $30,000 to $40,000 and instead of taking one of those, I just kept playing poker. Unfortunately, poker is a game you become good at when you lose at first because the only way you are going to win is to realize why you are losing. When I first started poker I was very bad and was determined to be good at something and the drive was always there. I just kept playing and getting better and better and better and I turned it into a career which was the last thing I thought would happen.
Question: What is toughest -- being a model, a poker player, or a police officer?
Ostrander: The toughest is probably a poker player because you don’t have benefits thrown at you. It is a grind, you can have one large score that would set you for life, but if you do not and just have a chunk of scores the variance is so great and that is why people have a lot of backers. As far as job wise, being a cop is probably the best because financially it was fine, benefits were awesome, you had vacation and everything was there for you. But the modeling was toughest -- being out in front of people in my underwear was kind of tough!