A Chat With Greg Raymer, Part 2

Here's the rest of our conversation about the new abundance of non-Hold'em games at the WSOP and what games he loves to play himself.

Something else I've written about with you before is how out of all the recent Main Event champions, you actually have a track record in games other than No-Limit Hold'em. You're known for playing other games as well.

I would say that No-Limit Hold'em is not even in my top three.

So how did you enjoy the new schedule this year, with the greater variety of games being played for bracelets?

The more the merrier. If you were to let me be in charge - you know, back in at the beginning of the World Series, almost 40 years ago, it actually wasn't certain at first whether the championship would be NLHE or No-Limit 2-7 Draw. So if I owned the WSOP trademark right now I might change the World Championship to NL 2-7 Draw.

It was a fantastic event for me to cover from a reporter's perspective, because we really don't get to see it outside of the WSOP.

Greg Raymer
Raymer loves pure poker.

I think it's maybe the most pure form of poker that I've ever played, because it really is all about putting your opponent on a hand.

I think it's a lot better than Draw High, which used to be very popular. In NL 2-7, if a guy is only drawing one card, the math is basic. You don't know what he's drawing to, but there are much fewer possibilities than when a guy is drawing one card in Draw High. It becomes more about, "Did this guy make his hand, or didn't he?" If a guy draws one card in Draw High, you have to wonder if he made his hand and what hand he actually hit.

In some of these other games we're seeing the largest fields the WSOP has ever had for H.O.R.S.E., for instance, or Omaha Hi-Lo. Do you think a lot more people are starting to pick up these games, that they're starting to trickle down from the higher limits?

I do think it's trickling down. You know, we have a wide variety of non-Hold'em tournament on PokerStars, and we've added new limits in Omaha Hi-Lo and Stud. We've added other games, too - we added Triple Draw a while back. I keep asking them to add Badugi but I don't think they will. I think they figure that the programming time and money doesn't justify the few people who will play it. I like to play it though; I think it's a fun game.

Greg Raymer
Fighting the tyranny of the ace in Hi-Lo.

Do you play any other games that you don't normally find online?

One of the things I like when I'm playing cash games on the side is 2-7 Razz. So it's Seven-Card Stud Razz with 2-7 rules.

And I've always thought - I haven't had a chance to play this game yet but this is an idea I had a year ago - we should play Stud Hi-Lo Split, but instead of having an eight qualifier there should be no qualifier and you would use 2-7 to measure the low. That means the ace is now a high-only card, whereas in regular Stud Hi-Lo the ace is such a ridiculously powerful card.

You know, if you start off with K-K-Q with two hearts and I start off with a three and catch an ace, you basically have to fold. I've either got four to a low with an ace that I can hit to beat you, or I've made a pair of aces and I've got you beat you right now.

So now you're drawing to catch up and even if you catch up I might catch two more low cards and take half the pot anyway. You're in such a bad spot that it's often correct to just fold immediately when the guy with the low card catches an ace.

It's kind of silly that the one card should be that powerful.

Thanks for your time, Greg.

Thank you.

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Very few of the big winners in major No-Limit Hold'em events in recent memory have been known as much or more for their skill in other games as for their NLHE prowess. Greg Raymer absolutely has to be included in that small category, and we're guessing that his acumen in those other games will lead to very different WSOP results for the champ next year.

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