First HPT win in more than seven years
2004 World Series of Poker Main Event champ Greg “Fossilman” Raymer won the Heartland Poker Tour (HPT) Ameristar East Chicago $1,650 Main Event on Monday, the fifth HPT title of his career. That extends the record he already held as the all-time wins leader on the Tour.
Raymer won all four of his previous Heartland Poker Tour crowns in 2012, when he received the HPT Player of the Year honor.
For the victory, Raymer banked $171,411 and a $3,500 prize package for the HPT Season XVI Championship. The purse elevated Raymer’s lifetime HPT earnings to $655,297, allowing him to jump from fifth to third on the career list. He now only trails Craig Casino ($860,837) and Reginald “Shawn” Roberts ($720,333).
Fossilman overcame major heads-up deficit
Raymer was right in the mix going into the nine-handed final table, sitting comfortably in second place. Evan Bethyo was well ahead though, with 50 per cent more chips than Fossilman. The two players led all the way through to the heads-up portion of the tournament.
But Bethyo had widened his lead significantly, taking an 11 million to 4.1 million chip advantage into the one-on-one match.
Calling that hand “just luck,” Raymer told HPT Tournament Director Jeremy Smith afterward (as reported by PokerNews) that:
luck was on my side in the heads-up play, for sure.”
Bethyo regained the lead briefly, but Raymer soon pulled away. He got a little lucky again on the final hand. Bethyo had flopped middle pair to Raymer’s bottom pair, but the turn gave Raymer two pair and it was then that Bethyo put his last 2+ million chips into the pot. He got no help on the river, and Raymer had his fifth HPT title.
One of the poker boom’s first stars
Greg Raymer leapt into the spotlight when he won the 2004 WSOP Main Event and $5 million. It was the year after Chris Moneymaker won, sparking the poker boom, so Raymer quickly became one of the top few names in the poker world. His game was very aggressive; he did not give opponents room to breathe when he had an advantage.
The year following his WSOP victory, he made another deep run, finishing in 25th place. At the time, it was an astounding feat, as the Main Event fields had exploded to sizes nobody had imagined just a few years earlier.
When he put opponents to big decisions, he would don holographic reptilian eyeglasses and stare them down.
His demeanor at the poker table was also notable. He was not boisterous at all, but rather very calm and very friendly. When he put opponents to big decisions, he would don holographic reptilian eyeglasses and stare them down. The glasses became a popular item among poker fans.
Raymer was also famous for using a fossil as a card protector, hence the nickname “Fossilman”. He gives his fossil to whoever knocks him out of a tournament. But the one from this week, he said, is going on his trophy shelf.