Popularly known as “Fossilman”, Gregory Raymer (June 25, 1964) is one of the most famous poker player across the globe. This top notch player made his place in poker history after winning the 2004 World Series of Poker Main Event. Did you know he is nicknamed “Fossilman” because of his hobby of collecting fossils, and he also uses a small fossil as a card protector while he plays poker?
This great poker player is a poker theorist with his brainworks available on popular poker forums. He also owns a poker training school called Fossilman Poker Training. Raymer was among the original members of Team PokerStars Pro. He has campaigned exclusively to get poker established and classified as a game of skill. He is also a representative of the Poker Players Alliance.
In an exclusive ‘Interview with Gregory Raymer, he shares some of his poker dexterity that has propelled him to his current poker stature.
Hello Greg. Firstly we would like to Thank You for this exclusive interview with Online Poker News (OPN)
Q1 You won your first bracelet at 2004 World Series of Poker Main Event. In these 10 years, you have experienced the game of poker very closely. How do you think poker has evolved in the last 10 years?
GR- The game is obviously the same, but the way it is played now has changed a lot.On average, players are much more skilled than they were 10 years ago. Let’s say we go to a specific event- $1500 buyin bracelet event at the WSOP, and find a player who is, on average, the second most worst player at each table in that tournament. We take this person back in time,10 years back, and enter him into a $1500 buyin bracelet event. He would be the second best player at an average table. Players just don’t make as many mistakes, and as large of mistakes, as they used to do on a regular basis in the past.
Q2 How did your life change when you won WSOP in 2004?
GR- I was a middle-class American and worked for a typical 9-5 job in a corporation. I had a wife, a daughter and owned a nice house. Then, I started traveling the world for playing poker. In many ways this life is much better, but it is tough being out on the road all the time, and not seeing your family every night.
Q3 You weren’t a professional player when you won the WSOP. How you, as a poker player, changed from non-professional player to a professional one?
GR- Actually, I was a pro when I won. I was not a full-time pro, but I did file my taxes as a part-time professional poker player.I could have quit my job many years before I won the Main Event, and likely made a decent living out of it. But I was unlikely to have made a better living than I had as an attorney. Plus, the variance of poker can make things challenging even for the best players.
To answer the question, the things that have changed from becoming a full-time pro are mostly related to the travel, and being away from my family than not to being a pro as such. For most pros, the hardest part is the swings, enduring the negative times when you lose for an extended period of time. Fortunately, I can earn income other than by winning at the table (teaching, endorsements), which makes things a lot easier.
Q4 There are a lot of new poker players in the field. Do you think experience gives you an edge or the youth holds the key to the poker future?
GR- Experience is definitely an edge. The young players today are not as good as they are because of their youth. They are so good because of how they learn the game, and the fact that what they are learning is a lot more “correct” than what we were able to learn 10+ years ago. A new player today has teaching tools available to him that are vastly superior to what was available before the poker boom. As young players are obviously new to the game, they tend to learn using these tools, and this makes them better players. An older player who is new will also often use these same tools, and will likewise become a better player faster. And, older players like us who are already into the game can still make use of these new tools; it’s just that many older players do not choose to do so.
Q5 You have had a long career in poker. Can you tell our readers about some top tips to make a successful career out of poker?
GR- Stay in school, keep your job, play poker as a hobby, whether you do so seriously or casually. Most players who think they should turn pro simply aren’t skilled enough to succeed. And even if they are skillful enough, they often lack other qualities they will need to succeed. There are a lot of great players who are always broken because whenever they are doing especially well, they go out and gamble the money away in the pit or the sportsbook, or they overspend on fancy cars, clothes, and partying. To be a successful poker pro, you must be in the top few percent of all players skill-wise, and then not have any of those leaks that will lose all of your money away from the poker table. And then, even if both of these are true, you must love the game as much that you remain passionate about it for the rest of your life. I know many of pros who have made a living at poker for a long time, but then they become bored with it, want to quit. But they have a huge hole in their resume, and cannot get a good job anymore. So they are now stuck as poker pros who hate their job.
Q6 Do you regret what happened in 2013 when you got arrested?
GR- Of course. I regret that my selfishness caused so much of harm to my relationships with my wife, my daughter, my family and friends.
Q7 How did that affect your game? What did you do to bounce back?
GR- I’m not aware whether it had an effect on my game. It definitely had an effect on my ability to earn income away from the table. Hopefully, the entire issue has died by now, or will soon.
Q8 Earlier this year, you were seeking investors for your complete year. What is your take on investing/staking deals? How beneficial is it for the players?
GR- Investment is very beneficial for players because it can ease the swings for many players, and allows them to play more “freely”, as they are less concerned with short-term results. And, if the player is strong enough, it can be a good investment for the investor. However, the most important thing is that the deal is reasonable for both sides, and all expectations are spelled out earlier so there are no misunderstandings in the future.
Q9 Are you still involved in teaching poker?
GR- Absolutely, it is the primary driver of my schedule. Most of my travel is related to my teaching. Through my www.FossilManPokerTraining.com brand, I take live seminars at poker rooms around the country. I get the poker room to book me, and then do a full-day seminar for $300 per student. $300 per student is a very reasonable price that is much cheaper than most, if not all, of the other similar products out there. I want these seminars to be a big hit for the poker room, and not a costly endeavor, so that they book me repeatedly. As I also do private lessons and small group lessons, so anybody can potentially hire me for world-class poker training.
Q10 How can ‘sharemypair’ fill the void of a hand re-player? Is it very important for a poker player to get his hands analysed for future learning?
GR- www.ShareMyPair.com is a hand replayer for everybody. You simply need to input the hand details, and in couple of minutes, you can share the hand details with your friends, or the entire world through social media. No matter what method you use, it is definitely a great help for your game as you can analyse and discuss your hands with other players. It is through feedback received that you can more quickly improve your decisions, and thereby improve your likely results.You can join SMP, and get into the discussion with me about my hands, or of all the other great SMP pros. By the way, it’s free to use.
MESSAGE FROM GREG- Thanks to all of your readers for their questions and their interest. I hope to see them soon, either at one of my seminars, or at a live event where I’m playing. All of you can feel free to come up and say hello to me anytime I’m not in a hand. 😉
Thanks, Greg Raymer (FossilMan)