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Raymer offers advice to next WSOP champ

7 Nov 2010

By Aaron Todd
LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- The players at the final table of the 2010 World Series of Poker Main Event – even Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi – were playing for a prize that dwarfs anything they've ever won before. Mizrachi's largest payday prior to the 2010 Main Event was $1.86 million, while the eight other players had never won as much money as they were guaranteed to win by making this year's final table.

So they might be wise to listen to the advice offered by Greg Raymer, who won $5 million when he won the Main Event in 2004.

"Don't spend any real money anytime soon," said Raymer. "You hear stories about these guys that go out and they immediately buy a new house. Who buys a house in two days? You should be spending weeks to determine what neighborhood you want to live in and what school district will be good for your kids. And you shouldn't go out and buy a $100,000 watch. Do you really want to walk around with something on your wrist that muggers will recognize as a $100,000 watch? What happens sometimes is these guys will spend big money and then a few months later they'll say, 'God why did I blow this much money on such a silly thing.'"

Raymer, who is nothing if not practical, is also very observant. Even though a lot has changed since his 2004 title, he insists that the pressure of the crowd inside the Penn & Teller Theater inside the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino isn't that much different than what he experienced six years ago inside Binions.

"We didn't have the roar of the crowd, but there was still a significant audience of a couple hundred people," said Raymer. "It's not the same environment, but it's similar."

Raymer, however, does believe that the break that the players had until November Nine play began made the experience very different for the players.

"They had four months to stew, and that could be either a very good thing or a very bad thing depending on their temperament and on the type of friends they have," said Raymer. "They might say something like 'You're third in chips, you're going to have to screw up pretty bad to do worse than fifth. Fifth place pays $2 million.' That puts pressure on you and that's not the way you should think. You should be thinking about playing each hand as perfectly as possible."

Raymer hadn't had the chance to speak with many members of the November Nine prior to the beginning of final table play, though he did meet fellow PokerStars player Jason Senti at the EPT London and came away impressed with his maturity and his approach to the game.

"He's young, but he's not a kid," said Raymer during the early stages of final table play on Saturday. "He seemed like a really nice guy and when I've seen him more recently on TV, he comes across as a really nice, likeable guy with the right attitude – someone who doesn't go on tilt when he loses a big pot and who doesn't over celebrate just because he won some chips in a big pot. He seems a little more mature than some of the other players at the table."
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