Well, that was unexpected.
The moment the “Greg Raymer was arrested for soliciting sex with a hooker on Craigslist!” story broke, our phones were blowing up. Friends wanted to see if we knew about it (we had no advance knowledge), and find out if we knew more to the story (we did not).
Raymer is one of the few well-known players who has mostly operated above the fray in poker. Most people would agree WCP is fairly connected within the industry—and we’ve heard stories about vices and transgressions on just about everyone. Greg Raymer, not so much.
Misguided lawsuit with the WPT (and spat with Daniel Negreanu over it) aside, Raymer didn’t really have a stain on his rep. He has been more-than-gracious with his time with fans. He’s consistently represented the interests of poker players through his involvement with the PPA, or testifying on the community’s behalf as to why poker is a game of skill. He’s been a solid ambassador.
You could call Greg Raymer a lot of things, but “asshole” or “shady” typically wasn’t one of them.
And then this happened.
Crazy. In a period of just a week, with Jerry Yang going busto and Greg Raymer allegedly trying to bust one in a hooker, the two Main Event champs that EVERYONE thought weren’t like “us” (and by “us” we mean “most poker players”) are, well, just like “us” after all.
With that in mind, here are some stand-out things we’ve noticed about the Raymer story:
- Despite the Daily News “Poker Her” cover, the story already seems like old news in the poker world. We’re just over 48 hours away from the shock of it, but it feels like it happened months ago. That’s probably because the initial headline was significantly more tawdry, as TMZ and Chad Holloway both first erroneously reported Raymer was busted in a male prostitution ring. Raymer, as you may know, is married with a kid. So while nobody would rip Raymer for his sexual preference, they would rip him for being a phony. People hate phonies. When it turned out that it was a female prostitution sting and not a male one, a lot of the hot air went out of the balloon, and the story immediately became less interesting. It’s like breaking bad news to somebody with fake worse news. “Timmy, have a seat.” “Am I fired?” “No…but your family is dead.” “Oh my god! No! Why?!” “Ok ok, your family is not dead. But you are fired.”
- It seems like Raymer getting busted humanized him a little to the poker community. Turns out, he’s flawed. Welcome to the club!
- We’ve also been somewhat amazed at the support Raymer has gotten from the poker community, and could put forth the argument that this ends up making him more popular of a figure in the long run. From Twitter to 2+2, the poker community, which is historically VERY forgiving unless your name is “Joe Sebok,” seems to have already forgiven.
To his credit, Raymer from a PR-perspective has handled the situation as best as he could. He’s taken the anti-Epic/Jeffrey Pollack PR approach by not cowering in a corner and going radio silent.
When something very humiliating is made public about you, human nature is to go into a bunker and disappear. While that’s again very normal, what that does is create a vacuum for everyone else to fill.
Through his lawyer, Raymer quickly dropped a statement apologizing to his family, friends and wife. Then, instead of bailing on a tournament appearance at the HPT Prairie Meadows event, he actually showed up to play, just hours after the story broke.
As fate would have it, we happened to be there too.
We learned that Raymer apparently did not know the story of his arrest was going to break on Friday. While he didn’t really want to discuss the story (and as a lawyer himself, knew it might not be a good idea to do so), he wasn’t shying away from it. In the event, Raymer fired a bullet, got busted, and rebought again, making it to Day 2.
He wasn’t hiding from anyone.
While what Raymer allegedly did was bad, reprehensible even, the way he’s handled it since has been a valuable lesson. You fuck up, hopefully you learn from it quickly, and you rebuy and get on with life.