Annie Duke is one of the few stars who can claim to have played alongside Greg Raymer. Duke was the last person standing in the inaugural WSOP Tournament of Champions, an invite-only, winner-take-all tournament that featured 10 players. Duke banked $2 million for the win and received nearly instant poker fame. Her company at the Tournament of Champions table included Chip Reese, Main Event champ Greg Raymer, Doyle Brunson, Lederer, and former UB.com colleague Phil Hellmuth, who was the runner-up. This year, Duke bested Seidel in the National Heads-Up Poker Championship, which aired on NBC.
Duke wished the crew at UB.com nothing but the best going forward, telling Poker News Daily, “I wish them all the best and wish nothing but good things for the brand. I think that UB.com started some of my development as a businessperson. That was very much the most enjoyable part of it. I wanted to do more of that. I wanted to do much more of that than I had an opportunity to.” Among Duke’s other endeavors are MyMixedNuts.com – a custom trail mix outfit – and Ante Up for Africa, a charity that brings money and attention to the victims of the crisis in Darfur.
Greg Raymer has extended his support for online poker laws. The most recent and serious attempt to overturn the UIGEA took place this past summer. 2004 WSOP Champion Greg Raymer, along with the Poker Players’ Alliance and many other writers, players, and activists, have lobbied representatives for passage of such a bill. It came out of the House Financial Services Committee by a vote of 41-22, but did not come to the floor for a full vote.
For the last several years, the Poker Players’ Alliance has worked with many in Washington to modify the legislation or pass new laws which would legalize, but regulate, online poker sites. The scandals of Ultimate Bet, which revealed gaping security flaws in poker clients, have taught that a strong licensing and regulation body is needed to ensure security of these sites, given the amount of money that can potentially change hands.
Greg Raymer has offered advice to next WSOP champion. So they might be wise to listen to the advice offered by Greg Raymer, who won $5 million when he won the Main Event in 2004.
“Don’t spend any real money anytime soon,” said Raymer. “You hear stories about these guys that go out and they immediately buy a new house. Who buys a house in two days? You should be spending weeks to determine what neighborhood you want to live in and what school district will be good for your kids. And you shouldn’t go out and buy a $100,000 watch. Do you really want to walk around with something on your wrist that muggers will recognize as a $100,000 watch? What happens sometimes is these guys will spend big money and then a few months later they’ll say, ‘God why did I blow this much money on such a silly thing.'”
Greg Raymer, who is nothing if not practical, is also very observant. Even though a lot has changed since his 2004 title, he insists that the pressure of the crowd inside the Penn & Teller Theater inside the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino isn’t that much different than what he experienced six years ago inside Binions.