Greg Raymer has done it again! The American poker pro secured his fifth Heartland Poker Tour (HPT) title after taking down the $1,650 Main Event at HPT Ameristar East Chicago. Raymer defeated a field of 520 entries to take home $171,411 as top prize, alongside a $3,500 Championship Package for the HPT Season XVI Championship.
Raymer remains as HPT’s all-time title holder and is now the third-highest earning player on the tour, behind Craig Casino (1st), and Reginald Shawn Roberts (2nd). Reflecting on his latest win, Raymer said his heads-up match with start-of-day chip leader Evan Bethyo was tough, but luck was on his side, leading him to victory.
The 55-year-old is known as the “FossilMan”, for using a fossil card protector while playing poker. Since 2008, he has always taken that fossil with him and gives it to the player who defeats him.
$1,650 Main Event Final Action
The Main Event attracted 520 entrants, creating $748,800 in total prize pool, shared among the top 54 finishers.
Nine players battled it out at the final table, including Benjamin Craig who was the first to be eliminated when his ace-king failed to defeat Bethyo’s pocket queens which improved to top set on the flop. Craig busted in ninth place as a result, taking home $14,906.
A battle then ensued between Dale Hackney and Dave Gutfreund, with Hackney holding ace-king against Gutfreund’s pocket eights. Things initially went well for Hackney after he flopped top two pair, but his opponent was able to hit a set on the turn. Hackney failed to find any help on the river and he exited in eighth place for $18,633.
Matt Schurter’s ace-five shove was called by Bethyo who held ace-jack in the big blind. The eventual runner-up was able to make the nut flush by the river, sending Schurter to the rail in seventh place for $22,732. Bohdan Slyvinski suffered a similar fate, losing his ace-six to Marc Yofon’s ace-jack. Slyvinski earned $27,949 for his sixth-place finish.
Bethyo reinforced his knockout power by finishing off Tim Barany, whose king-jack failed to hold against Bethyo’s aces. Barany left the table in fifth place for $36,147. Bethyo went on to eliminate Yofon in a key all-in battle, further extending his lead. Yofon settled for fourth place with $48,295 in winnings.
The next player to hit the rail was Gutfreund, courtesy of the eventual champ. Gutfreund’s ace-deuce did not work out against Raymer’s ace-king. Gutfreund collected $69,462 for his third-place finish, setting up heads-up play between Greg Raymer and Bethyo.
Thrilling Heads-Up Battle
Bethyo was in the lead when the battle began, but Raymer took over as soon as the first hand was dealt. The following action saw the lead being passed back and forth between the two players – during one hand, Raymer flopped top pair against Bethyo’s bottom set, with Bethyo regaining the lead. But Raymer remained focused and successfully dealt with bluffs from Bethyo, while also hitting some flops, until he was able to build a 4:1 advantage.
During the final hand of the tournament, Bethyo limped in from the button with queen-deuce. Holding eight-three, Raymer checked and was able to pick up eight on the turn to give him the lead. Raymer check raised and it was called by Bethyo, putting all his remaining few blinds on the line.
Raymer’s two-pair proved superior against Bethyo’s outs, and when the dust settled, it was Raymer who secured the title. Not a bad result for Bethyo though, as his $104,789 runner-up finish in the event represents his highest career score to date.
Who is Greg Raymer?
Raymer is an accomplished poker pro and was the winner of the 2004 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event where he took home $5,000,000 as top prize. Apart from that, he has more than 30 WSOP cashes, with total live tournament earnings of over $8 million.
He started making a name for himself on HPT back in 2012 when he won four titles in five months, equivalent to a total of $371,967 in winnings, earning him the 2012 HPT Player of the Year title.
Raymer was among the original members of Team PokerStars Pro, alongside Chris Moneymaker, Joe Cada, Tom McEvoy, and Daniel Negreanu. He cut ties with the brand in 2011.