WSOP Event #49: Raymer's day 'Sucks'

wsop2009_thn.gifI hadn't yet found a chance to congratulate Greg Raymer on his $700,000 finish in the $40,000 event at the beginning of the World Series.

I picked the wrong time.

On break from the $50,000 HORSE event, I found Raymer sitting in the Poker Kitchen, his trademark duffel bag sitting on the table in front of him. A fan was taking a candid, paparazzi style photo with a cell phone. I didn't notice at first that Raymer wasn't smiling.

I touched his shoulder and told him congratulations on the big win. He looked up at me with barely a flicker of recognition in his eyes.

"Thanks," he said. He was clearly glum.

We've known each other for five years and I hadn't seen him since we'd been in South America on the LAPT. I quickly realized it wasn't the best time for a reunion. Still, I offered that it was going to be pretty hard for him to have a bad WSOP. When you nearly take down one of the biggest events of the year, the rest of the summer should be pretty good by default.

"The Series is good," Raymer said. "Today sucks."

I knew Raymer didn't look happy sitting at the table, but I hadn't realized how bad it really was. How bad was it?

"I started the day with 123,000," he said. "I have 23,000 now."

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Raymer's afternoon has epitomized how to run bad at the wrong time. He's not the type to prattle on with bad beat stories, but if he hadn't mentioned them, we would have had nothing to talk about.

It was a disgusting litany of poker's ability to depress the hell out of the happiest of people. In the Omaha 8/b round, Raymer flopped a set of aces and pounded the pot the whole way. His opponent rivered a straight.

"Only the jack was going to save him," Raymer said ruefully.

The next round was Razz. Raymer was getting hit in the head with the deck...for the first four cards. He'd start with four to a five or six, then brick the rest of the way. Meanwhile, his opponents took down the pots with next to nothing.

"Their hands are so weak, they can't even bet the river," he said. Still, even weak hands beat 2-3-4-5-brick-brick-brick.

It was clear Raymer didn't want to fill my head full of nastiness, so he changed the subject to a hand where he managed to hit three sevens on seventh street to an opponent who rivered two pair.

"That's the only hand I've won today," he said.

Raymer knows his poker heart is clearly next to his Team Pro badge...right on his sleeve. Normally happy and talkative, he's in the middle of getting eviscerated and it's showing on his face. We wondered aloud if there is anybody who could hide such a bad day.

"It's hard to tell if Bill Chen is losing unless you ask him," Raymer said. "Mark Gregorich, too."

I knew it was time to let Raymer get back to the event, although with 23,000 at the 3,000/6,000 stud limit, he was going to have to win a hand fast.

It didn't last half an hour. Within a few minutes, the FossilMan was signing a fossil and handing it to his executioner, Michael Saltzburg.

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Raymer was the first of the PokerStars crew to exit. Bill Chen, Chad Brown, Barry Greenstein, Daniel Negreanu, and Alexander Kravchenko are still in action.

When it was over, Raymer walked to an outer table where he sat alone and talking on his phone.

"I'll find something to get me out of this funk," he'd told me when we parted.

I'd suggest counting the $774,927 he's already won this Series. That's better than any antidepressant.

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in World Series of Poker