Greg Raymer WSOP Legend

2004 World Series of Poker Main Event Champion

Greg Raymer Poker WSOPGreg Raymer is a professional poker player from Raleigh, North Carolina. He is best known for his win at the 2004 World Series of Poker. This came at a time when the online poker boom was just beginning, becoming a big boost to the series. Known as ‘Fossilman’ - because he has a love of collecting fossils - Raymer has career earnings in excess of $8 million.

While he is best-known for his WSOP Main Event victory, Raymer’s poker record is impressive – both for cash games and tournaments.

The 2004 World Series of Poker Main Event

In 2003, Chris Moneymaker won the WSOP main event, in what was a pivotal moment for the game.

Moneymaker won after qualifying through an online satellite event. Suddenly poker players across the planet saw the same opportunity open to them, and the online poker boom started. The WSOP became a much bigger deal on the back of it.

In 2003, the main event featured 839 players. In 2004, suddenly there were 2,576 taking their chance and paying the $10,000 entry. Many of the players being online qualifiers, PokerStars alone supplied 315 entries. Greg Raymer was one of the players in this huge field, which now expanded to seven days.

The first prize for the Main Event had also doubled, with now $5 million on the table for the eventual victor.

Greg Raymer 2004 Main Event Winner

Final Table Filled with Pros

With the final table set, Raymer was sitting pretty, leading the way with more than 30% of the chips. However, 1995 champion Dan Harrington was lurking in 5th place, while previous bracelet winners Josh Arieh and Al Krux were also in contention. American David Williams, with no previous WSOP cashes, was sat in 6th place as the final table began.

Of the names listed above, Al Krux was the first to go, finishing in 6th place. Dan Harrington would finish fourth and pocket himself a $1.5 million prize for doing so. The final three were Josh Arieh, David Williams, and Greg Raymer.

Arieh would finish third, making it a heads-up match between Raymer and Williams.

The heads up would last only seven hands. Williams held A4 and Raymer held 88. The board ran out 5, 4, 2, 2, 2. Each player had a full house, but Raymer’s eights had the advantage. All the chips went in, and Raymer was declared the winner.

Other Major Tournaments for Greg Raymer

One of the most significant moments in Raymer’s career was his defense of the Main Event. 2005 saw 5,619 entries and Raymer made it all the way to the final three tables, eventually finishing in 25th place. This is considered one of the best defenses of the title in the modern game. In finishing in the money, Raymer would pocket more than $300,000, to give him the third highest pay out of his career.

The second biggest cash of Raymer’s career came in the 2009 WSOP. Raymer entered the $40,000 No Limit Hold’em event, the second event in that year’s series. He would eventually finish third (in a field of 201 players) and collect more than $750,000 for his efforts.

Outside of the WSOP, Raymer has been incredibly successful on the Heartland Poker Tour. Raymer has won five times on the tour, with an amazing four wins in 2012 and a sole victory in 2020.

Poker Playing Style of Greg Raymer

Fossilman PokerRaymer is a tight aggressive player at the tables. One move that he helped to popularize was the stop-n-go style, where instead of simply pushing all-in late in tournaments, he would bet both pre-flop and on the flop in a move that gave more options.

Life Outside Poker

Greg Raymer would move many times when he was young, taking in Michigan, Florida, and Missouri. He would major in Chemistry at school and graduate from the University of Minnesota in 1989. He then went back and studied law, graduating again in 1992. His career saw him became a patent attorney, which much of his work with pharmaceutical company Pfizer. Much of his spare time is spent collecting fossils and he is known for using a small fossil as a card protector.

Could you be the Next WSOP Champion?

The World Series of Poker is a series that is open to anyone, just as long as you either pay the entry fee or win a qualifier. Online satellites can cost just a few dollars and eventually see you becoming as famous as Raymer or Moneymaker. If you are lucky enough to qualify for the WSOP main event, you could find yourself sat at a table with legends of the game. If you play well enough, you could be comparing bracelets at the end of it all.


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Image credit: Wikipedia, with a little help from free picture editor Canva.

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