It’s the end of an era of sorts at PokerStars, the world’s largest online poker site. PokerStars had previously been known for its barrage of World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event champs, including Tom McEvoy (1983), Chris Moneymaker (2003), Greg Raymer (2004), Joe Hachem (2005), Peter Eastgate (2008), Joe Cada (2009), and Jonathan Duhamel (2010). Now, the list has contracted. Last year, Eastgate abruptly retired from poker and, over the weekend, Raymer parted ways with the site.
After some confusion over whether Raymer had actually left PokerStars, “Fossilman” broke his silence on TwoPlusTwo: “There has been a lot of discussion about my representation of PokerStars, and it is true that right now I am not representing them… For those of you who have been reading about and discussing this situation, I appreciate all of the positive comments I have received. It is very gratifying to hear so many nice things from so many good people, and I am touched by your support.”
Raymer’s likeness no longer appears on the PokerStars website. On why the former Main Event champion may have left PokerStars, we’ll turn to a series of Tweets from free agent Kathy Liebert. The Women in Poker Hall of Fame member and bracelet winner chirped, “I heard that PokerStars was cutting many of their Team Pros’ compensation. Take it or leave it. Raymer left it… I think it’s a bad business decision to cut their pay, but most won’t have a better offer, so they stay.”
Posters on TwoPlusTwo included a variety of brand name pros including World Poker Tour “Raw Deal” host Tony “Bond18” Dunst, who opined, “Always been a Greg fan, think he’s been an overall excellent ambassador. May have just gotten tired with all the mandatory travel stuff that goes with Stars’ deals and felt it was time to move on to other things, but hope to still see him active in the industry.”
Also weighing in was CardRunners Co-Founder Taylor “Green Plastic” Caby, who commented, “gl to Greg. I’ve always found his posts and interviews enjoyable. He’s a nice guy to play with at the tables, too. I haven’t played a ton live with him, maybe 5-6 hours or so, but he was getting constantly hounded by spectators/autograph seekers/fans. He was really nice to all of them.”
Raymer’s 2004 WSOP Main Event win was worth $5 million. He edged out recent PokerStars addition David Williams heads-up in a final table that also featured Josh Arieh and Poker Hall of Fame member Dan Harrington. Two years ago, he took third in the $40,000 buy-in No Limit Hold’em commemorative event held during the 2009 WSOP for $775,000.
According to the Hendon Mob database, Raymer has $6.9 million in career tournament poker earnings and is 32nd on the industry’s all-time money list. He’s been an ardent supporter of the Poker Players Alliance (PPA), the main lobbying voice for poker players on Capitol Hill, and is a member of the organization’s Board of Directors.
What’s next for Raymer is anyone’s guess. He joins players like former UB.com pros Phil Hellmuth and Annie Duke as the hottest free agents in poker. Raymer gave no indication of his future in a recent Tweet that read, “Thanks for all of the positive comments. Great to hear so many nice things from so many people and I am touched by your support.”