- Birthdate: 1945
- Birthplace: South Africa
- Residence: Johannesburg, South Africa
- Biggest Win: $3,048,025
- Total Winnings: $3,515,656
- Sponsored by: ex PokerStars
- Sponsor Site Username: Ray Rahme
Raymond Rahme is married to Teresa and the couple have six children. Up until 2004 the family ran a successful bed and breakfast hotel until Raymond decided to retire. Having played 7-card stud regularly for the previous thirty years, he was initially skeptical about the new variation, Texas Hold’em, that was sweeping the world but, with more time on his hands, he decided to give it a go. He had only been playing Hold’em for two years by the time, as a sixty-two year old, he won his staggering prize in Las Vegas.
It had never been on Raymond’s mind to enter the WSOP but, in June 2007, he finished in fourth place in the All Africa Tournament. He had scraped into the lowest position that would win an entrance into the WSOP main event, expenses paid, and his WSOP finish helped put the Swaziland-based Piggs Peak Hotel and Casino on the map.
Rahme was offered and accepted a place on Team PokerStars Pro and has since cashed in tournaments in Australia, San Remo and Monte Carlo. He seems to have a stoic attitude to the game and when he was asked about a hand which knocked him out of the San Remo EPT event, he laughed and replied, ‘I played bad’. He had called an ‘all in’ with an Ace Two against pocket aces.
When not travelling the world for poker tournaments, Raymond spends the majority of time with his large family. He also finds time to frequent Piggs Peak Casino and in May 2008, played outstandingly to win his first tournament, the All African, the one that set him on the road to success. ‘This is my best tournament so far,’ he said afterwards. And Rahme’s tournament winnings of almost $3.5 million isn’t bad for someone who says poker is ‘just a hobby’.
Raymond Rahme, along with Jerry Yang and Tuan Lam, were the final three left in the 2007 World Series of Poker No Limit Hold’em main event. He was holding a K♠ K♥ and the flop was J♥ 8♥ A♦. The pot had swollen to over 35 million chips when Rahme went ‘All in’ with another 17.4 million. With Lam already folded, it was just up to Yang to make his play. He stood opposite Rahme and asked, ‘do you think I should call?’ Rahme looked almost amused at Yang’s obvious attempt to get a read on him and replied in a deep South African accent, ‘It’s your decision, you must decide what to do’, making it sound like a piece of fatherly advice.
Yang seemed unsure but, with a massive chip advantage, called the bet and with A♣ 5♠ had the top pair. ‘Good call’, Rahme responded, realizing his game was likely to be up. But hope springs eternal and watching the turn intently, he called for a ten or queen of hearts. It was 3♠. Only a king would help him now but the river was a 2♦.
However, Rahme looked content with third place and his prize of over $3 million. He was smiling as he shook the hands of Lam and Yang and as he walked over to be congratulated by his wife and the cheering travelling support, he saw faces beaming only with pride. He had become the first man from the African continent to make the WSOP main event final table and his fans, who had come all the way from South Africa, were going to throw a party for him that night.
Last updated July 2013