There is a phenomenon in poker that few people get to experience. While everyone at a tournament table wears a target, those big name pros who have spent hours on television are painted with the biggest bullseye you'll ever see. It doesn't matter what big name pro you talk to, the situation rarely varies. When people come in this room, they are looking for a story to tell. They want to be able to say they busted a big name.
Greg Raymer is no stranger to this phenomenon. Since his $5 million win in the 2004 World Seres Main Event, players around the world have settled their scopes on the FossilMan. Sometimes, it works to his advantage. The following year in the World Series, Raymer had a banner year and threatened a repeat appearance at the final table of the main event. Sometimes, though, it works against him. This World Series was one of those times.
Raymer had one of the most frustrating World Series of his poker career. Out of more than 20 tournaments this summer, he cashed in one. The main event was Raymer's chance to come back, his chance to shake off the bullseye and recover for the year. Before the end of Level 2 today Raymer's opportunity disappeared.
From a distance, it looked almost peaceful. The crowd gave an appreciative clap and recognized the world champion's departure. Raymer stood and put his trademark duffel bag over his shoulder. He walked around the rail and toward the back door. The omnipresent ESPN cameras followed behind. It was only as Raymer drew closer to this reporter's desk that it was clear the FossilMan was done letting the bad beats roll off his shoulders. He had had enough.
The resulting conversation is neither for print--or despite the presence of the TV cameras--for broadcast. Suffice it to say, Raymer found his nemesis at the table today. "He sucked out on me three times," Raymer said. The final time, the guy ended up having an overpair to Raymer's top pair. Raymer, usually a cool customer, was decidedly ready to blow off some steam.
It was an illustration of a reality few people recognize. Even some of the top players in the game can have terrible years. Tens of thousands of dollars can be invested without any significant return. As this room filled up with 1,158 people today, it was clear that for many of them this would be the only big tournament they'll play this year, and maybe in their lifetime. To win this thing...to even make Day 2...takes the confluence of superior skill, good timing, and no small amount of good fortune. The latter did not grace Raymer's cards this year.
It was the same kind of day for Team PokerStars Pro Daniel Negreanu Set over set sent him out in Level 1. He talks about his exit in the video blog below. Be sure to check out all of our video blogs at PokerStars.tv.
Watch WSOP 08: Daniel Busts on PokerStars.tv