Raymer’s Reign Ends With Pocket Kings
Greg Raymer had an amazing run in his quest to once again become the World Series of Poker (WSOP) champion. A huge field of 5,600 players had bought in initially, and with 54 players remaining, Raymer had become the chip leader. At the end of day five, with 27 players left, he was still going strong in third-chip position. Then, with 20 players remaining, a huge hand came up between Raymer and Aaron Kanter.
With the blinds at $20,000-$40,000 and an ante of $5,000 a player, Raymer opened for $100,000 to go, with Kh-Ks. Kanter called the $100,000 with Qh-Jh, and the flop came down 6d-5s-3h. Raymer bet out $150,000, and, for some reason, Kanter called the bet. At this point not much good could happen for Kanter: he was sitting only 7 percent to win the pot, and a queen or a jack on the turn could encourage him to put all of his money into the pot with only five “outs,” as an 8-to-1 underdog (39 losing cards against five winning cards).
When the 7h came off on the turn, Raymer bet out $300,000, and Kanter made his move, raising it up $500,000 more ($800,000 total). Kanter was representing a straight, but Raymer wasn’t going for it, sensing that Kanter forgot to pay attention to him. Suddenly, Raymer moved all-in, and now Kanter was forced to call the all-in bet of about $950,000 more. Kanter barely looked up at Raymer.
Here’s a tip: If you’re going to make a bluff, you should give yourself a chance to read your opponent. If Kanter had figured out that Raymer was strong, he could have simply called the bet with his flush draw, or even better, folded his hand on the flop.
In any case, Kanter was now a 4-1/2-to-1 underdog — he had eight “outs,” to 36 winning cards for Raymer. For roughly $4 million, Kanter hit his flush when the 2h came on the river and went on to finish fourth. That was the end of Raymer (he did have a few chips left), but what a run he had. Last year, he beat 2,500 players, then almost 5,600 more this year. Wow!
Raymer represented the poker world extremely well for 14 months as its reigning world champion. He came out to all of the poker tournaments, did his level best, signed all of the autographs, never complained, showed considerable class and made a lot of friends. I hope the newly minted 2005 World Champion — the Australian Joseph Hachem (pronounced “hash-im”) — represents poker half as well as Raymer did.
Hachem has the cool look of an Aussie surfer — someone who just came in off the beach — who found a way to win the richest payout in WSOP history: $7.5 million. I believe that having an Australian as the reigning world champion of poker will be good for the poker world. Talk about diversity: now we have Hachem; Mansour Matloubi, an Iranian living in London; Noel Furlong, an Irishman; Stu Ungar, from the Bronx; Doyle “Texas Dolly” Brunson, a cowboy from Texas; Huck Seed, from Montana; Raymer a patent attorney living in Connecticut who wears goofy sunglasses; Chris Moneymaker (the greatest name in poker), an accountant from Tennessee; Chris “Jesus” Ferguson, a doctorate-level game theorist from southern California who likes to wear a black cowboy hat over his “Jesus-like” hairstyle; me, from Wisconsin; and Chinese-American Johnny “Oriental Express” Chan on the Wall of World Champions.
The chance of hitting a flush with just one card to come in Hold ’em is roughly:
A) 3-to-1 against
B) 4-1/2-to-1 against
C) 6-to-1 against
D) 4-1/2-to-1 favorite