The World Series of Poker $10,000 World Championship Main Event Champions club is one of the toughest groups to join. The world’s most prestigious tournament drew 7,221 entrants and one player earns a life-changing $8 million. Greg Raymer won the 2004 Main Event for $5 million but in the last year his memories of the win changed in a drastic way.
“Obviously, it’s a great thing – I watched the final table over again last night to relive all that,” Raymer said. “It’s emotional, exciting and inspiring for me – it brings all these feelings up. I was crying at the end of it because I saw my wife is crying.”
Raymer’s voice quavered when he said, “My dad was there on the rail, he passed away since last year’s Main Event. So, seeing him on the rail, hugging him at the end is a very emotional thing. But it’s a good thing to see that and remember that moment with him – I wish if I won again… it’d be nice to have him back.”
“Other memories are more significant – you hopefully live your whole life with your parents,” he said. “But it’s one of the few moments captured on video for me to see it, so in that sense it’s extra special.”
“But there’s all those other moments from growing up you tend to forget – him lying on the floor and picking you on his feet and pretending you’re Superman,” he said. “All those moments are more important in the grand scheme, but we don’t remember them with the clarity that we wish we did.”
After Raymer won the Main Event he’s been a pro players since. “This is a job, if it’s not then it’s a great hobby,” he said. “It’s a fun thing to do but it’s not necessarily going to define your life. I certainly didn’t expect it to.”
“There will be a handful of us that poker does define things,” said Raymer. “If I finished fifth that year instead of winning it, certainly it’s still a significant moment, but it’s not going to change who I am. Even winning didn’t change who I am, it changed the way people looked at me.”