Greg Raymer - Bioography

Chris Moneymaker may have started the poker boom, but Greg Raymer kept the wheels turning with his 2004 World Series of Poker Main Event win. His win was different than Moneymaker’s though. The 2003 WSOP brought a windfall of players the following year, so Raymer had to battle his way through a field 3x the size. But for his efforts he walked away with twice the prize – a cool $5 million bucks.

Given his win, continued success and poker advocacy, we thought our readers might find it interesting to learn more about him. So the following is a brief bio of his life and poker accomplishments.

Early Life

Greg Raymer was born in 1964 in Minot, North Dakota. As an ‘air force brat,’ Greg moved around a bit, starting off in Lansing, then moving to Florida and ending up in Missouri where he finished up high school.

After high school Greg attended college. He received a B.S. in chemistry from the University of Missouri, a M.S. in biochemistry and J.D. from the University of Minnesota. It was during his college years that Greg started to make money counting cards at blackjack tables around the state.

Once he was done with school he spent the next 6 years as a lawyer. First, he worked as a litigation lawyer in Chicago, then in a firm in San Diego specializing in biotechnology patent prep and prosecution. He didn’t care for being a lawyer, so he took a job at Pfizer, a large pharmaceutical company in Connecticut.

Greg found poker during his first job in Chicago. He couldn’t find any (beatable) blackjack games, so he decided to switch gears. Realizing he wasn’t very good at it, he picked up books to help him improve. With the help of The Theory of Poker, Greg went from new and clueless to someone capable of playing the 10/20, 20/40 and 150/300 games at Foxwoods. He also gained the reputation as one of the best local tournament players.

It was here that he honed his bankroll for a more lavish lifestyle, as well as a shot at several WSOP events. He was with Pfizer until he won the Main Event in 2004.

WSOP Attempts, Backing & the Main Event Winner

Greg’s first noted attempt at the World Series of Poker was in 2001. He bankrolled his own entry into the omaha hi/lo split tournament that Chris Ferguson eventually won.

In 2002, Greg spent a lot of money between improving his lifestyle and funding another WSOP trip. This time around he played a couple of events, including the Main Event, spending about $30,000 overall. This knocked his bankroll down to $15,000.

For him to continue playing the higher stakes at Foxwoods, as well as future WSOP tournaments, Greg decided to find backers. He went to forums like newsgroup and 2+2 with his proposal and was able to secure about $30,000 in funding. He also bought shares (about 1/3) using his own bankroll. In doing so he was able to secure about 60% of his winnings, the first 1/3 going to him, and the remaining 65% going to investors (which included him).

This deal continued throughout 2003, with investors buying out and new ones coming on. At the end of 2003 his shares were worth $600 (from a starting point of $500). When he beat David Williams to win the 2004 Main Event and the $5 million first place prize, each share was worth over $36,000. His largest investor earned well over 1/3 of a million dollars on a $5k investment.

The following year Greg played in the Main Event again and managed to finish 25th out of 5,619 players, a little more than double that from the following year. This cemented Greg’s place as a (serious) professional poker player, instead of a one-hit-wonder.

Poker Background, Results, Tournament Scores, Awards

Here are some of Greg’s top scores and bracelet wins.

  • 2002 WPT Finals – 3rd - $12,654
  • 2004 WSOP Main Event – 1st - $5,000,000
  • 2005 WSOP #39 (Lowball)  – 5th - $93,124
  • 2007 WCOOP #6 – 1st - $168,362
  • 2009 WSOP 40th Anniversary $40k Buy In – 3rd - $774,927

Raymer has earned more than $7 million in live and online winnings. Most of that comes from his WSOP scores.

Greg had another note worthy performance in 2012. Greg participated in 4 Heartland Poker Tour tournaments, and managed won all of them. The record prior to this was 2 wins (in a season). Greg won $371,967 and the Heartland Poker Tour Player of the Year for his efforts.

Prostitution Bust

Earlier in 2013, Greg got outplayed when he responded to a Craigslist ad for a date with a prostitute, but found himself with a cop instead. Being as he was in the ‘bible belt,’ he was charged with an attempted crime against nature. He was one of 6 men to be arrested and was released after posting a $1,000 bond.

The arrest didn’t appear to hurt his reputation too bad. He didn’t hide from it and still played in the HPT event later that week. You don’t hear much (if anything) about it today.

What is Greg Up to Today?

Greg continues to travel the world and play poker. He’s no longer a PokerStars pro (as of 2011), so he dimes his own games.

He also holds poker training camps called Fossilman Poker Training. These are 1-2 day courses held all across the US and Canada.

He’s known to be an advocate of poker regulation, too. He’s currently a member of the Board of Directors for the PPA.

Outside of poker Greg likes to play golf, spend time with his family and buy antiques at auctions for his home.

3 Facts About Greg Raymer

Here are some interesting facts about Greg Raymer.

1. Raymer stated in 2006 that he considered running for Vice President of the USA in 2008 for the Libertarian Party. He ended up not running.

2. In December 2004 he was robbed at gunpoint after returning to his hotel room following a cash game at the Bellagio. He managed to hold them off until police arrived.

3. Greg has mentioned on his website that he’s comfortable with a microphone, having been both a DJ and stand-up comedian. He admits that he’s not very funny, though.