It’s been nearly 16 years since Greg Raymer won the WSOP Main Event, but he’s still stacking chips. On Monday, the former world champ shipped the $1,650 Heartland Poker Tour Main Event at Ameristar East Casino in Chicago. He won $171,411 for his efforts, and set a record with his fifth HPT title.
The always humble Raymer was quick to admit to having good fortune in the Windy City. After dusting off his heads-up opponent, Evan Bethyo, he said “luck was on my side in the heads-up play.”
The 2004 world champ battled back from a 2-1 chip disadvantage to defeat Bethyo. Part of that comeback was thanks to a lucky river card on the first hand of heads-up play. Raymer rivered a better two-pair to double-up into the chip lead right off the bat.
Bethyo didn’t win, but he picked up his first-ever large poker tournament score, so it was still a successful event. He earned $104,789 for his impressive performance.
Raymer Keeps on Winning
Raymer might be one of the most underrated world champions ever. After shipping the Main Event in 2004 for $5 million, he faded a bit from the limelight, but not from the poker community.
Instead of chasing even bigger winnings playing high rollers, Raymer decided on a different poker niche. He now grinds the mid-stakes poker circuit, such as the Heartland Poker Tour, where he’s now won a tour Main Event five times — the most in history.
Since winning the main event, Raymer has added nearly $3 million to his tournament resume. Considering the mid-stakes he’s playing, that’s quite impressive.
Raymer has proven his WSOP Main Event title was no fluke. He has yet to win another gold bracelet, but he’s racked up 41 cashes at the World Series of Poker, including six last summer. The fact is, he doesn’t need to continue winning bracelets to prove he’s a legit poker player. His five HPT titles and $3 million in cashes since becoming world champion speaks for itself.
“Fossilman” defeated a large field of 520 runners at the Ameristar. He’s been a master of weeding his way through massive field tournaments over the years, including the 2004 WSOP Main Event in which had 2,576 entries. Granted, that’s only about one-third of the field-size in that tournament these days, but that doesn’t make his accomplishment any less impressive.