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The Poker Ace

For Greg Raymer, winning the world series of poker took knowledge, skill and a little luck
Michael Kaplan
From the Print Edition:
Greg Raymer, Sept/Oct 2004

(continued from page 5)

Although his chip stack got shaved down a bit—he was bet out by Arieh and beaten on the river by Al Krux—Raymer never relinquished his lead. He came close after losing a large pot to fourth-place finisher Dan Harrington. Harrington made a $900,000 all-in bet after the flop. Raymer called with the top pair of jacks to Harrington's 9s. But this time it was Harrington's turn to get lucky on the river, and he wound up winning the hand with three 9s.

In the end, however, Raymer needed only 14 hands to knock out the last two players. Arieh bit the dust when two queens came on the flop, giving Raymer a set to Arieh's pair of 9s. Just six hands later, Raymer won the tournament with an unexpectedly superior hand: both he and David Williams had full houses after the flop, but Raymer's pair of pocket 8s beat Williams's pair of 4s. "During the instant after he called my all-in bet, I felt he had to have me beat," says Raymer. "Then he turned his hand over and I tried to figure out how he won."

A split second later, Raymer realized that Williams hadn't won. Raymer had the best of it. He raised his fists, raked in the piles of cash and made poker history.

Michael Kaplan is Cigar Aficionado's gambling columnist. He won the media tournament at the 2004 World Series of Poker.

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