If you happen to see 2004 World Series of Poker main event champ Greg "Fossilman" Raymer around town this week, you'll probably be tempted to ask him to play a little Texas Hold 'Em. It's understandable; I feel ya. And maybe he'll take you up on the offer; he's a nice guy--doesn't drink, doesn't smoke, just likes to play cards and talk cards and tell amusing anecdotes about pros he knows. He barely even swears; ask him who he hates playing against, and I believe the response will be, "Buttheads." Oh, and going all-in pre-flop with a pair of aces against any other hand is a pretty good move.
I know this because Raymer actually accepted our home game's invite to play poker at the Lodge last night, a game that lasted till about 2 this morning. Raymer--in town to promote the PokerStars Web site, which just announced it was going public--also had with him some of the site's marketing men and the publicist, who has Fossilman all over local radio and probably TV this week, leading up to his appearance tomorrow night at the Dallas Mavericks game, where Raymer's scheduled to shoot some hoops with Mark Cuban and play cards with fans between quarters. (PokerStars and the Mavs are partners, which means if you belong to the gaming site's VIP Club you get access to some box seats at ball games.) Today, at an undisclosed location, Raymer will be teaching some media folk and Mavs (including Jason Terry and Jerry Stackhouse), how to play. Wasn't gonna go--on a deadline--but may have to now. I ain't great, I ain't awful, I am just mediocre enough to get bored easily.
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Of the game last night, I am sure my pals here and here will have better recaps as soon as they wake up; I was so exhausted last night (by which I mean "not drunk") I couldn't have told you what I won with, much less how everyone else made or lost their hard-earned. Though I do believe occasional Observer contributor Dan "The Big Suckout" Michalski played his exceptionally gutsy brand of call with any two cards, while former Observer associate editor Eric Celeste made enough to put his kid, and mine, through a very inexpensive land-grant college for a semester. I made enough to buy a pack of smokes and a large gas-station coffee; coulda been much worse, though you're likely to save all your scratch when you're dealt 7-2, 8-3, 9-4 and K-2 and J-3 offsuit for something like 32 hands in a row. If only I'd seen aces. Raymer tells me that's a very good hand. --Robert Wilonsky