View Full Version : Article on the World Champion

06-10-2004, 03:44 AM
Found this: Fossilman interview (http://www.newsday.com/news/local/wire/ny-bc-ct-fea--pokerchamp0604jun04,0,7981791.story?coll=ny-ap-regional-wire)

from the Assosiated Press


06-10-2004, 06:26 AM
Damn, the private jet fell through.

I want my Fossilman bobble-head now!

Poker champion flies home in no-frills style

The Hartford Courant

June 4, 2004, 9:46 AM EDT

Greg Raymer of Stonington recently flew back from Las Vegas on one of Southwest's standard no-frills flights, then spent a little time at the Crystal Mall shopping for a cell phone.

A pretty low-key celebration for a man who'd just won a record $5 million at the "World Series of Poker" tournament.

"Yes, we stayed on Southwest _ we'd already paid for tickets," Raymer said. "I'm going to be glad to go first class when someone else is paying, but I can't see spending $1,000 for a wider seat and free drinks for four hours."

Logic and financial self-discipline are part of the routine for Raymer, who recently won fame in international gambling circles at Binion's Horseshoe Hotel & Casino in downtown Las Vegas.

The phones have been ringing pretty steadily since then for Raymer, known in the poker world as "Fossilman" because he arranges a few fossils on the table in front of him before each game. Already he has been interviewed by CNN, scheduled by "The Early Show" on CBS for a morning appearance and approached by a poker-lovers' Web site with a bobble-head doll deal.

"Can you believe it? A Fossilman bobble-head? If you told me last week about that, I'd have said, 'Why would there ever be such a thing?"' the 39-year-old Raymer said.

Raymer, a patent attorney for Pfizer Inc., predicted that neither the money nor the fame would change his life, at least for now.

Poker has made a resurgence in the United States in the past couple of years, fueled largely by Internet games and televised coverage of high-stakes poker competitions. The Travel Channel's "World Poker Tour" is one of its top-rated segments, and the recent tournament that Raymer played in will be shown on ESPN this summer.

And for top-level players, that's translated into skyrocketing payoffs. Raymer's $5 million prize is twice as much as what the champion of the 2003 tournament received. This year's fourth-place finisher won $1.5 million, more than the 1999 tournament paid for first place.

Even so, Raymer doesn't plan a life at the tables.

"If you're not a fantastic player with extreme emotion control, an unlucky streak can kill your confidence and ruin your life," he said. "I'm not looking to make a career of playing poker.

"You've got to play great, but there's a big luck factor. There are still a couple hundred players more skillful than me, possibly a couple thousand for all I know. I'm pretty good, maybe very good, but I played the best I've ever played and I got lucky."

The $5 million isn't quite as much as it appears. Nearly half of the money is pledged to "backers," the friends and online poker acquaintances who've staked him to various poker competitions over the past several years, he said. And the government will want its share.

"I haven't heard a peep from the IRS, but I know I will," he said.

Raymer's wife, Cheryl, wasn't pleased when he started to play seriously several years ago. So he set aside $1,000 and promised that if he lost it, he'd give up for good. Instead, his winnings slowly built the bankroll, and his $22,000 win at a Foxwoods tournament covered the down payment on their house five years ago.

"He's become more aggressive, more unpredictable. He says it's the appearance of being wild. When he first started out, he played really tight, played only superior hands. Now he's really honed the psychological aspects of the game," Cheryl Raymer said. "When you're playing at this level with these tremendous players, there's more involved than how to play the cards."

Photographs from the tournament show Raymer wearing Mardi Gras beads and orange-and-green holographic glasses. How much of that is part of the game? The Raymers don't say, but Cheryl Raymer acknowledged that he doesn't wear the glasses at home.

After the pressure of the tournament, Raymer wasn't tempted to go on a high roller's spending spree, he said.

"After I won, a lot of people gave me logo shirts, things like that. So I wanted to get another suitcase," he recalled. "The only store open at the Aladdin was 'high-end' _ $800 for a suitcase. I said forget about it, even if I did just win $5 million. Somebody said, 'You can get a Rolex.' Why do I want to spend $5,000 on a watch? I'm happy with my $100 watch."

06-10-2004, 06:29 AM
Good article.

Sounds just like the Fossilman that has been haunting these boards....logical, to the point, and realistically humble.


06-10-2004, 09:00 AM
It's very cool he's down to earth about the win and with the money. Yet it's an awful shame, for the money too, that it's never going to see the insides of stripper's thong.