Mouth + Raymer Redemption Spotlight Tonight’s WSOP Coverage
Sure, Joe Hachem won the $7.5 mil WSOP ME first prize in a grueling heads-up battle against the Weaz. But the real focus of this year’s WSOP, the topics that everyone wanted to discuss, revolved around two totally different forms of redemption from two totally different players: Mike "the Mouth" Matusow and his 2004 nemesis, Greg Raymer.
Tonight, both get their-fair-share-of-face-time with ESPN’s continued WSOP coverage.
Matusow spent six month in the clink before coming out and playing the best poker of his life during the WSOP ME. Expertly working his way through the massive field, Matusow rebuilt his rep as one of the best NLH players in the world.
Maybe because of the glasses, maybe because he was an Internet-qualifier many thought would flame-out like Chris Moneymaker, but Greg Raymer never gained the full respect that some of his 2004 final table opponents, such as Josh Arieh and David Williams, received. However, Raymer’s overall 2005 WSOP performance was even more impressive than last year’s world championship bracelet victory. Raymer cashed in three 2005 WSOP events (including a final table appearance), and if not for a river suck-out, would likely have cruised to another ME final table. Best of all, when he wasn’t busting every player in sight, he was threatening to bust a weirdo spectator’s head open.
While Matusow occupied the featured table for much of Day 4, the best action was actually at the REAL featured table, which included Phil Ivey, John Juanda, and Howard Lederer. Lederer eventually was sent to the rail, but Juanda and particularly Ivey came out with an arsenal of chips.
Tim Phan continued building an impressive stack on Day 4. And a host of foreign players showed that poker is right up there with futbol and the planet’s favorite past-time.
While Day 5 saw Russell Salzer continue to receive history’s longest massage, most of the talk centered around the top pros building mountainous stacks of chips, including Greg Raymer. Raymer was joined at the Day 5 featured table by the sole remaining chick with a chip, Tiffany Williamson. The chip lead changed hands several times during the day, but when play completed with 27 remaining rounders, Mike Matusow sat with the biggest stack.