Gregory “Greg” Raymer is a professional poker player who is best known for winning the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event back in 2004.
Born in 1964 in Minot, North Dakota, Raymer was considered an Air Force brat. However, when he was only a few months old, his father ended his military career and moved them to Michigan where his dad hailed from originally. Thus, the young Greg Raymer grew up in Lansing, MI until age 11 before consequently moving to Clearwater, Florida after. He studied Chemistry at the University of Missouri at Rolla and finished his Masters in Biochemistry at the same institution. He afterward got a law degree and successfully worked his way to being a patent attorney for a huge International Patents litigation firm based in Chicago for three years before he decided that corporate litigation is not for him. In 1998, Greg Raymer then switched to accepting a position at a research facility of one of the planet’s largest pharmaceutical companies at the time (Pfizer), wherein he stayed until just after he won the WSOP in 2004.
While in school at Minnesota, Raymer already made extra bucks by card counting at blackjack at different casinos in the area. But when he started his job at Chicago, he found out that there are no readily-beatable blackjack games/tables available. So while he’s hunting for blackjack games, he stumbled on a poker game and decided to play for fun. Raymer said that he already knew the poker basics from playing them with his fraternity buddies at the university but admitted that he was nowhere good at the game at that point. When he started playing the 3-6 limit poker in Chicago, that was the time when Greg Raymer decided to amplify his poker gaming skills and bought himself a few poker books for self-study. He gradually moved up his game to big bet limits and later on gained the reputation of being one of the best local tournament players in Foxwoods to being a well-known professional poker player.
Raymer first finished in the money during the 2001 WSOP at the $1,500 Omaha hi-lo split 8 or better which was ultimately won by another poker star, Chris Ferguson. Come 2004, Greg Raymer finished off David Williams to win the $5 million grand prize in the $10,000 no limit Texas hold’em in the WSOP of that year.
As a defending champion, Raymer finished 25th out of 5,619 entrants in the 2005 WSOP Main event which earned him a handsome amount of $304,680. Arguably, his 2-year performance ranks high as one of the most impressive rallies in recent years, along with Dan Harrington’s. Both of them posted deep runs in consecutive years (Harrington went in as 3rd and 4th place finisher in 2003 and 2004) and both also looked to repeat being world champions in a decade’s run (Harrington won the coveted Main Event tilt in 1995).
Also in 2005, Greg Raymer joined the very first British Poker Open which was filmed in London and was dubbed as the United Kingdom’s biggest live poker event in history. Launching himself as one of the favourites, he managed to get into the final table, finishing third which rewarded him with a nice amount of around 20,000 GBP.
2007 was the year when Greg Raymer won his first WCOOP (World Championship of Online Poker) bracelet when he emerged victorious at Event #6 –the $320 Pot Limit Omaha with Rebuys event. His winnings totalled $168, 362.
In 2012, he won in four Heartland Poker Tour events, an unprecented feat. Grey Raymer easily copped the Heartland Poker Tour Player of the Year (2012) which earned him $371,967 in winnings.
As of 2013, Raymer’s tournament winnings go over $7.4 million with most of it coming from his places in the money at different WSOP tournament events.
- Greg Raymer was also dubbed as the “FossilMan”. It was said that back in 1995, he made a deal with his wife stating that his bankroll for poker should be separate from his income, investments and savings. His initial bankroll at the time was $1000. If he grows it, then he can do whatever he wants with it, and if he loses it, then he will quit playing poker for good. It’s then quite easy for anyone to conclude that Raymer “grew” that bankroll on so many levels. He also went on to the business of buying and selling fossils whenever he plays poker so as to fatten his bankroll some more.
- In 2004, Greg Raymer was made a part of PokerStars Pro which is a group of poker professionals who endorse and represent PokerStars.com, the world’s biggest online poker site. He stayed on the team until 2010.
- In 2011, he started a poker training school in the name of Fossilman Poker Training which conducts 1-2 day training classes at poker rooms around the continental US and Canada. His typical fee is around $300 per student for a full day of training and enrolls roughly 30-40 students in each class.
- Being a lawyer that he is, Raymer lobbied extensively to have poker classified and regulated as a game of skill after the passing of the UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act) in 2006. He is now a part of the Board of Directors of the Poker Players Alliance.
- Raymer was reportedly involved in a mugging attempt where he was held at gunpoint as he is returning to his suite at the Bellagio Hotel after playing in a cash game. Grey Raymer held the robbers off until the authorities arrived and was unharmed at the incident.
- In 2013, Grey Raymer was back in the news after being arrested along with five other men in Wake Forest, North Carolina and slapped with charges of prostitution and crimes against nature. A representative from the concerned police department said that Raymer was one of the six other men who responded to a fake ad posted by an undercover police officer on a website that’s often being used by prostitutes. Raymer was released on a bond of $1,000. The charges were later dismissed but required Greg Raymer to do hours of volunteer work.