WSOP Main Event: Raymer Plays Like a Champion

Don't miss: Greg Raymer--Large Field Guru by Dr Pauly

by Wil Wheaton

I stayed out a little too late[1] last night, so I got into the Rio excessively late today, long after Team Blog had begun its soon-to-be-award-winning work.

I dropped off my backpack, grabbed my notebook, and found Pauly at the rail, keeping an eye on Greg Raymer. Greg's stack has taken some hits today, and was sitting around 15.5K when I finally navigated my way through the teeming mass of railbirds.

"What happened to Greg's chips?" I asked Pauly. We both really want Greg to go deep, and his aggressive game creates swings in his stack that can give guys like us a touch of the vapors.

"It's just the way he plays," he said. "He's got two huge stacks to his right, and they're entering pots before he can. He's been picking up pots here and there, though, and staying tough."

We both looked at Greg for a minute, and Pauly added, "That's what champions do, you know?"

A floorman brought a new player over to Greg's table, and sat him under the gun to Greg's left. The floorman said, "Oh, here you are, sir. A nice and easy table for you."

This new guy had several racks of chips, and fired out a big raise before he could even get them all stacked up. It was folded around to Greg, who looked at his cards in the small blind, thought for a second, and mucked. The big blind also folded, and the new guy flipped his pocket queens face up as the dealer shipped him the pot.

Pauly and I talked about Tom and Joe, both of whom are doing very well, and figured out how we're going to split up our duties today when I saw Greg glance our way.

I lifted my hand to wave, when I realized that he wasn't looking at us, but was looking at his wife, Cheryl, who was against the rail a little bit behind us. Greg smiled at her, and she smiled back. I was struck by how Greg can stay so cool under such pressure, and identified with Cheryl's concern (well, as much as I could, since I'm just Greg's friend, and not his, uh, wife.)

Greg went back to his cards, and open-raised from the button. The small blind folded, and the big blind (the new guy) called. Greg put on his holographic glasses, and rested his chin on his hand.

The ESPN crew stood up and started rolling. A few railbirds snapped pictures, and the rudest photographer I've ever seen in my life shoved his way between me and Pauly, then bumped the ESPN camera, then blocked someone who was already set up to take a photo. Good work, dude. On behalf of all the writers here, I'd like to applaud your professionalism and courtesy.

The flop came out: 8d-8h-2d. The new guy checked, and Greg checked behind. The As fell on the turn, and the new guy checked again. Greg bet 2000 into a pot that looked to be around 3000, and the new guy folded.

"See?" Pauly said. "That's how he's been doing it all day. Just chipping away and picking up small pots."

Just like a champion.

[1] By "a little" I mean "there were errors."

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in World Series of Poker