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Our own interview with Greg Raymer

16/10/2019 by D&B Poker

We’ve recently asked Greg a series of questions to find out more about the book itself, and his motivation to write the book:

The first question we’d like to ask is why did you decide to write a book and to put your ideas on paper ?

I have always loved to teach, any subject on which I can be of help to anybody. In college, my nickname was “Shell”, a reference to some ads that used to run on TV for Shell gasoline. In these ads, featured was the Shell Answer Man, an actor who would supply some quick info about auto maintenance. Almost everyone in my fraternity would come to me for help with their homework, and to prepare for exams, as I was so good at explaining things to them. Even if there were other people who knew the subject matter, they knew I could do a great job of helping them to understand it. The real question isn’t why did I write a book, but what took me so long, and why haven’t I written dozens by now. And the only answer to that, sadly, is pure laziness on my part. But I’m thrilled this first book is out there, and I hope it helps everybody who reads it with their tournament poker game. The plan is to keep writing, and produce a series of poker books.

“FOSSILMAN’S WINNING TOURNAMENT STRATEGIES”is a poker strategy book. Every champion has his own secrets and his own methods. Isn’t writing a book a kind of “confession” that would lead to giving away clues to your own technique ?

While it is true that somebody who reads my book will gain a better understanding of how I play, it is also true that a big part of what I teach in this book is how to use consistency to hide your hand strength. One of the most common errors I used to see in this game was players who would vary their bet size based upon their cards, betting more with their weak hands (to try to get you to fold), and less with their strong hands (as they wanted you to pay them off). And some players regularly did just the opposite. I teach players to base their bet size upon other factors, such as pot size, stack size, and board texture, but never upon their actual cards. With strategies like this, even if you know my methods, you still won’t be able to outplay me. Nor will you be able to outplay those who learn these strategies from me.

Throughout your book you try to simplify the techniques of learning the game at a high level, to make it accessible to the general poker playing audience. Is sharing your knowledge an essential concept in your passion for poker ?

I have loved poker since the first time I started to play the game seriously. And even before then. And while I try to avoid to much strategy talk at the table (since that’s not so good for the game), I love to talk strategy at any other time I can. If I absolutely could not share my knowledge, and grow my knowledge by doing so, it would seriously reduce my interest in the game.

The further into your book the reader goes,the deeper your analysis of the game becomes. It also becomes clear that there are a large number of factors involved if you wish to improve your game. If you had to note the four key points a poker player should take away from your book, like the four columns that support a house,which ones would they be?

Rather than 4 key points, I would like to focus on 1 key point. There is no cut-and-paste strategy to become a great poker player. There is no simple formula. While some sources will present things like charts of hands saying which hands to fold, call, or raise with in certain spots, such charts can at best make you only a mediocre player. The key point to becoming a great player is to continuously study, learn, and improve. You need to learn to consider and weigh as many things as possible in each decision you make. You need to constantly be paying attention to the game you are in, what each opponent is doing, and the information there for you to see. Only if you learn to gather in all of this information, and then process it in a reasonably proper fashion, will you be able to frequently make the best decisions. And that is what great poker boils down to. The best players regularly make the best decisions. But in order to regularly make the best decisions, you must be engaged and flexible, and intelligently apply all of the thousands of things you know about the game to each decision. If you look for shortcuts, or simplistic strategies, you will never be more than mediocre.

Last question, what would be the best example that you could give in your playing career to make our readers want to buy”FOSSILMAN’S WINNING TOURNAMENT STRATEGIES “?

I have been a winning player at this game for more than 25 years now. And I’ve put all of that knowledge that is tournament specific into this book. While there is always more to say (and I hope to say more in future books), this book is the foundation to becoming a great tournament player. I ran great when I won the Main Event in 2004, and ran great again when I won 4 HPT Main Events in 2012. But if I had not also played extremely well in those events, and in every other event I have won, then it would have taken me a lot more luck than I had. Nobody wins a tournament without getting lucky. But the better you play, the less luck you need. And with this book I have done as much as I can in 248 pages to help you reduce the luck you need to win !

You can pick up a copy of the ebook or paperback edition HERE