The 1,000th Gold Bracelet in History

Greg Ostrander Wins First WSOP Gold Bracelet

Former Upstate New York Cop Wins No-Limit Hold’em Event and $742,072

Champion Poker Player Once Modeled for Calvin Klein

Jackie Glazier Barely Misses Chance to Become Second Female Gold Bracelet Winner of 2012

Ostrander Overcomes 3 to 1 Chip Disadvantage Against Glazier – Makes Starling Comeback


“The Bite that Changed Everything”
This is the story of a bite.
That’s right, a bite -- as in teeth penetrating human flesh, causing intense pain and creating a wound.
What does a bite have to do with winning a World Series of Poker gold bracelet?
Well, everything.
Just ask Greg Ostrander.  He’s the most recent WSOP gold bracelet winner, following his remarkable personal and professional triumph in the $3,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament (Event #41), which concluded at the Rio in Las Vegas.  Ostrander won the astronomical sum of $742,072 in prize money -- a gargantuan financial boost for a man who previously worked as a civil servant.
So, getting back to “the bite.”
There was a time when Ostrander pretty much stood bare-naked in front of the entire world.  When he was in his early 20s, he modeled for Calvin Klein menswear.  Ostrander posed in his briefs in several national ad campaigns.  If the designer’s popular slogan was “Nothing Gets Between Me and My Calvins,” Ostrander was the racy poster boy of provocation.
Ostrander used his assets wisely.  With the earnings he gained as a model, Ostrander went to college and earned a degree in criminal justice.  Next, he took a job as a police officer with the Monroe County (New York) Sheriff’s Department, which oversees Rochester.
The daily life of a cop has been chronicled in every popular medium – be it fiction, non-fiction, literature, television, or movies.  Of course, beneath the contrived thrills, the real grind of being a cop is one of frustration, mind-numbing-repetition and life-threatening danger.  It’s neither glamorous, nor necessarily exciting.  In short, it’s not like in the movies.
Ostrander knew this already.  But he did his job, and he did it well.  He continued to work faithfully as a dedicated and fiercely loyal patrolman for eight years.  During the course of his career, he endured just about all of the hardships that most cops face working a beat.  The never-ending domestic abuse cases.  The petty acts of theft.  The traffic accidents.  Then, there were the occasional acts of physical violence.
Ostrander had his share of clashes.  Most of the bad guys were petty punks and harmless drunks who thought taking a swipe at a cop showed machismo, when the fact was, it demonstrated blatant stupidity and disregard for common sense.  Ostrander was punched numerous times.  He was kicked.  He was even bitten a few times by assailants, leaving him scared and bloody.
Then late one night, Ostrander found himself in the fight of all fights.  Just as some out of control delinquent was being physically restrained so as to not endanger himself or others, the brute lashed out and munched at chunk out of Ostrander’s face.  His left face was mangled like $10 rib eye.
Not only was Ostrander bloodied and scarred, the incident required him to take a leave of absence to be tested for possible infections.  As Ostrander slowly recuperated, he began to reflect upon yet another brawl and the incessant dangers of his occupation.
By that time, Ostrander had discovered poker.  It had become a passion.  It was, well -- love at first bite.  Pretty soon, not only was Ostrander beating a circuit of local underground card games consistently, he found that he was spending more and more of his free time thinking about the game and its complex intricacies.  
Pondering the inherent dangers of returning to work and continuing life on the streets as a cop, not to mention the lack of compensation requisite of laying his life on the line every time he went to work, Ostrander finally decided he’d had enough.  He quit his job as a police officer.
It was a stunning move.  The decision seemed preposterous.  It was a ridiculous gamble.   
But Ostrander believed in himself and contemplated what really mattered to him most.  He also had the undying love and support of his wife and two children.  While being a cop provided a certain amount of comfort and security, the real gamble had been each and every day Ostrander put on a badge and strapped on a gun and headed out the front door to work.  It's a constant fear that every spouse of a police officer must some how grapple with -- every day, every night.
Ostrander's gamble and faith in himself ultimately paid off on this regal day, at the Rio in Las Vegas.  The 40-year-old poker pro who had once modeled underwear and put his life on the line to protect his community had his life-changing decision validated on this glorious day, when he managed to win his first WSOP gold bracelet.  He collected three-quarters of a million dollars -- which will provide at least some measure of security for his family from this point forward.
Of course, not every poker story turns out this way.  Not all stories have happy endings.  This is especially true for those involved in law enforcement, where each and every gamble is played for stakes, which can be a matter of life and death.
But this story ends well.  It ends happily.
For Greg Ostrander, a bite led to a $742,072 win and his first WSOP gold bracelet.

Greg Ostrander Wins $3,000 Buy-In No-Limit Hold’em (Event #41)
Las Vegas, NV (June 25, 2012) – Greg Ostrander won his first gold bracelet today at the 2012 World Series of Poker.

The 40-year-old former police officer from upstate New York won the $3,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em title.  This was the 41st of 61 gold bracelet events on the 2012 WSOP schedule.  The four-day competition attracted a tougher-than-usual lineup of No-Limit Hold’em specialists – 1,394 in all who started with high hopes of a gold bracelet victory.  It was a cop-turned-poker pro from Webster, NY who ultimately enjoyed his finest poker moment on the ESPN Main Stage, played to completion in an overtime session on a Monday afternoon at the Rio in Las Vegas.
Ostrander's only other notable WSOP accomplishment took place in last year's Main Event Championship, when he outlasted more than 7,000 players and ended up with an impressive 232nd-place finish.  This time, he went much deeper, collecting a whopping $742,072 for this victory.

The runner-up was Jackie Glazier, who barely missed becoming the second female to win a gold bracelet at this year’s WSOP, following a prior victory by Allyn Jaffrey-Shulman in the Seniors World Championship
Name:  Greg Ostrander

Birthplace:  Oakfield, New York

Childhood:  Upstate New York

Current Residence:  Webster, New York

Profession:  Professional Poker Player

Age:  40

Marital Status:  Married

Children:  Two

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


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!


This was the 1,000th gold bracelet to be awarded in WSOP history.

This was classified as WSOP schedule Event #41, since it’s the 41st gold bracelet of 61 to be awarded this summer in Las Vegas.  The tournament was played over three consecutive days and nights, starting on Wednesday at noon and concluding on Friday night at midnight.

The total duration of the final table was about seven hours, played over two days, with an unscheduled recess.

The final table included no former gold bracelet winners.

The runner-up was Jackie Glazier, from Australia.  She had a 3 to 1 chip lead when heads-up but lost her lead and came in second.  She would have become the second female gold bracelet winner this year had she won.

The top 144 finishers collected prize money.  Among the former gold bracelet winners who cashed were J.P. Kelly (10th), Scott Montgomery (17th), Kirk Morrison (31st), and Keven Stammen (104th).