Grayson Ramage: Not in it for the accolades
Grayson Ramage entered the WCOOP Challenge Series with a simple expectation: he thought he could win it.
"I think it's very important to have the confidence that you can win any tournament you enter, or you probably shouldn't be playing them," he said.
It's not arrogance. Ramage isn't cocky. He's not the guy who measures himself by the numbers of titles he can pile up. All that doesn't mean much to him.
Where a lot of players are looking for laurels and wreaths around their neck at the end of the race, Ramage is fine to be pulling the plow in the field. At 26, he's a workhorse who doesn't need the attention, celebration, and cheering that go along with winning.
Still, that is exactly what he did when he entered the WCOOP Challenge Series Main Event and came out with half a million bucks. He won.
"It is always a lot nicer when you win, regardless of the amount of money," he conceded. After all, placing first eliminates a lot of the second-guessing that goes along with not winning.
Nevertheless, he still went back and looked over everything he did and found mistakes along the way. Regardless, he doesn't need or want a trophy for it.
"I consider winning the title to just be a nice bonus. I'm not really in poker for the accolades. It really all comes down to the money and freedom that poker gives me."
This comes from a man who has won more than a million dollars in live tournaments and banked untold amounts online. He's a man who doesn't mind working, as long as it provides him the opportunity to do what he wants. Unless SCOOP or WCOOP are on, he only plays a couple of days a week. On off days, he coaches, makes training videos, and gets some exercise.
"It's very nice to be able to make my own schedule, since Sundays are the only day I always feel obligated to play," he said.
It was on that one particular Sunday that he notched his $500,000 win. His own personal obligation earned him more in a couple of days than most people earn in years. It earned him more than that. His title winnings bought him another big chunk of one of the most important things in his life: freedom.
"The main thing poker has given me is the ability to travel around the world and live in several different countries," Ramage said. "I've seen quite a bit of Europe, and have been to Australia a couple times. I really enjoy traveling and have had a lot of great experiences."
So, at this point in his young life, that's what matters. He's got the freedom he needs to do what he wants. He can't even imagine himself or what he'll be doing after he turns 30, and that's just fine with him.
"I've never looked at poker as a long-term career," he said, "but as long as I am successful playing poker and until I feel like there is something else I want to pursue more, I will stick with poker.
Brad Willis is the PokerStars Head of Blogging