2007 World Series: Fossilman Arrives

by Craig Cunningham

David Vinot (2s) from St. Louis and Chance Maguire (3s) from Louisville sat quietly in anticipation of the start of their Main Event experience. Big grins hit their face when they heard Greg "Fossilman" Raymer was sitting in the 1s.

"I'm pretty excited," said Chance. "Actually, I introduced myself to Greg on the first day. I told him I had a feeling that we might be playing together, but I didn't think it would really happen." Like more than a few players in the field, Chance won his seat through a local poker club, and he hopes he has a chance to go deep today.

David jumped on his cell phone to call his friends with the news of his newest neighbor. He was still chatting as Greg came to his seat. "Is anyone sitting here?" he asked as he pulled the chair away. WSOP Commissioner Jeffery Pollack kicked off the day as Greg grabbed a quick bite of lunch.

He handed his Main Event bracelet to David and put the new pink Harrah's identification bracelet in his pocket. The pink bracelet is to let Harrah's Security know who is playing in the event, allowing them to quickly enter the Amazon Room. Greg won't have that problem, as the Main Event bracelet also allows a player to quickly enter the Amazon Room.

© Neil Stoddart

Greg never enters a room quickly, however. Greg sets the standard for any public figure in terms of his graciousness with the public. As the HORSE event got down to four tables, a railbird approached him with a fossil to sign. The fourth card of his Omaha hand was being dealt, but Greg took the fossil and pulled out his Sharpie. "Who should I make this to?" Greg said. He then personalized the autograph, handed it back, looked at his hand, and raised from middle position.

Greg's first Main Event experience was much different than Chance and David's. He played in 2002 at Binion's, busting out but staying for the Final Table to cheer on his friend, Russell Rosenblum. Russell finished 6th, but the event is more well known for Phil Hellmuth having his head shaved after stating that he would allow that if Robert Varkonyi won. "You can see me in the background of some of the video on ESPN from the event," said Greg.

His 2004 WSOP Main Event title saw Binion's bursting at the seams with 2,576 players starting the tournament. After today's 1,706 players starting on Day 1C, there are 4,538 and counting. Since beating David Williams heads-up, Greg has become the Ambassador of Poker and one of the most popular members of Team PokerStars. He's had nine other WSOP cashes since his title, including four final tables, 25th in the 2005 WSOP Main Event, and a 14th this year in the $50k HORSE event.

PokerStars qualifier Brian "Nairb09" Brubaker sits in the 7s, diagonal from Greg, and he's one player who is ready to sit at the table with Greg. The professional from Colorado plays regularly on PokerStars as well as has a win for $32,849 at WildHorse Resort and Casino in Oregon. "I've played for about four years and focus on tournaments and NLH. This is my fourth WSOP event this year."

© Neil Stoddart

Brian will be staring into Greg's sunglasses for most of the day, an intimidating sight for even the most seasoned pros. They'll both be working to make the dinner break with a nice stack in front of them.

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in