The 2004 World Series of Poker (WSOP) was held at Binion’s Horseshoe after Harrah’s Entertainment purchased the casino and the rights to the tournament in January. Harrah’s announced that future WSOP tournaments will be held in a moving circuit of member casinos. There were 2,576 entrants to the main event more than three times the number of the previous year. Each paid $10,000 to enter what was the largest poker tournament ever played in a brick and mortar casino at the time. Many entrants, including the overall winner, won their seat in online poker tournaments.
2004 Final Table
SEAT 1: MATTIAS ANDERSSON Chip Count: $740,000
The only non-American to make the final table this year is Mattias Anderson, from Sweden. At age 24, he’s one of four 20-something players in the finale. Andersson previously worked as a salesman in a toy store before crafting his poker game playing on the Internet. Over the past year, he’s supported himself financially playing from his home computer. Andersson noted that “Poker School Online” at PokerPages.com helped him learn about strategy. In his spare time, he also enjoys soccer, pool, miniature golf, and other card games – including “Magic.” In fact, Andersson won the national “Magic” championship in Sweden in 2001. This is his first time to play in the World Series of Poker. Andersson’s motto: “Respect all of your fellow players and try to play your best game.”
SEAT 2: JOSH ARIEH Chip Count: $3,205,000
Josh Arieh was born in Rochester, NY and now lives in Atlanta, GA. He’s a 29-year-old professional poker player who once worked as a courier for a law firm. Arieh won a gold bracelet at the World Series in 1999 in the $3,000
buy-in Limit Hold’em event. This is his fifth year to play at the World Series – where he has cashed ten times. He started playing poker several years ago, mostly to kill time after the local pool hall closed. Arieh is married and has two children. About his life, he says, “I’m just a family man trying to make a decent living.”
SEAT 3: AL KRUX Chip Count: $1,305,000
Al Krux is originally from North Carolina, but now lives near Syracuse, NY. Prior to becoming a professional poker player, Krux worked as a diamond merchant. He won a World Series gold bracelet in 1996 in the $1,500 buy in Pot Limit Hold’em event. He also made the final table in the main event in 1990, when he finished 6th. Krux is married and has four children.
SEAT 4: GREG “FOSSILMAN” RAYMER Chip Count: $8,215,000
The chip leader coming into the finale is Greg Raymer, a 39-year-old corporate patent attorney from Stonington, CT. Raymer is originally from North Dakota, and worked around the country before settling down with his wife and daughter in the woods of Southeastern Connecticut. Raymer’s best tournament finish was third in the main event at the World Poker Finals, back in 2001 at Foxwoods. This is his first final table at the World Series of Poker – and he comes in with a significant chip advantage at over $8 million. Raymer is known as “Fossilman,” because he collects antique fossils – which he often proudly displays on the poker table. He also has the most unusual shades in poker. Raymer’s motto: “I only appear to be wacko in reality, I’m much worse.”
SEAT 5: MATT DEAN Chip Count: $4,920,000
Dean is a 25-year-old aspiring math teacher from Woodlands, Texas – located just outside Houston. He’s currently working on getting his teaching certificate, in order to teach high school math. Dean started playing poker just one year ago. He learned to play poker online, and at his local fraternity house on the campus of Southwestern University. Dean is single and enjoys playing sports, including tennis.
SEAT 6: DAN HARRINGTON Chip Count: $2,245,000
Dan Harrington is the 1995 world poker champion. He also made the final table in the main event last year – finishing third. This year’s repeat performance means he’s made three final tables within just the past ten years a remarkable accomplishment by any measure. Harrington grew up in Boston and became a successful investor before turning to poker to make his “second fortune.” Harrington is jokingly referred to as “Action Dan,” a teasing reference to his rock-solid playing reputation. The fact is – Harrington is capable of playing many different styles and has proven to be one of the most dangerous players in the game of No-Limit Texas Hold’Em. Harrington now lives in Santa Monica, CA.
SEAT 7: GLENN HUGHES Chip Count: $2,275,000
Glenn Hughes, a.k.a. “The Big Cat,” is a 38-year-old married father of two children who now lives in Scottsdale, AZ. He’s a graduate of the University of Mississippi and is now semi-retired. When Hughes isn’t spending time with his family or playing poker, he’s usually out on the golf course. Hughes has finished in the money several times here at the World Series and other tournaments, as well but like many of his opponents, this is his first foray onto the world’s brightest poker stage.
SEAT 8: DAVID ANTHONY WILLIAMS Chip Count: $1,575,000
David Williams is the youngest player at today’s final table. His 24th birthday comes up in just two weeks. Williams currently lives in Dallas, Texas and is currently a student at S.M.U. where he’s majoring in math and economics. He started playing poker seven years ago. Interestingly, Williams credits “The Flying Dutchman” Marcel Luske — as the player who helped him most with his game. Last night past midnight, Luske busted out tenth in this event. About his future, Williams says: “I never want to have a boss. I will open my own business if poker doesn’t work out.” Williams credits his mother who is here with him today who is very supportive of his decision to play poker.
SEAT 9: MIKE McCLAIN Chip Count: $885,000
Mike McClain is a 39 year old pro poker player from Lemoore, CA. He earned a BS degree in engineering and worked in the computer industry before turning pro in the East Bay area. McClain is perhaps best known for having his face shown literally hundreds of times nationally on television as the “AGONY OF DEFEAT” shot, during ESPN’s repeated World Series of Poker broadcasts last year. Perhaps this year in 2004, McClain can turn that “agony of defeat” memory into a “thrill of victory” reality. McClain is married and has two children.