WSOP Event #3: Rizen hits final table with chip lead

There was a man with an adult son nearly in tears after realizing he'd just made his first final table. There was another man so set on making the final table, he laid down pocket queens pre-flop. It was the kind of anxiety and tension you'd expect on the TV bubble of a World Series of Poker event.

Eric "Rizen" Lynch barely cracked a smile.

"There's a long way to go," he said, with a matter-of-fact tone that was almost unsettling.

There are people in the game I would describe as "robotic." Ivey, Juanda, to be sure. But, Rizen is no robot. There is humanity in his eyes that lets you know he has an appreciation for what he has just accomplished.

Photo copyright Rob Gracie -- IMPDI
Eric "Rizen" Lynch

As I wrote just yesterday, Lynch is a guy who just six months ago was a working stiff like the rest of us. Sure, he played online poker, but he had a family to support. Still, there was something that told him he had what can only be described as "it."

Lest you think I'm simply and unfairly touting the accomplishments of a PokerStars player, just consider his accomplishments in the past month. He took first place outright in the PokerStars Sunday Million. Then, just a few weeks later, he traveled to the World Series of Poker for his first events--first events EVER. Just three days into playing the WSOP, he's headed to international television as the chip leader in the $1,500 Pot Limit Hold'em event.

Of course, Rizen refused to accept accolades as he filled out his biography form for ESPN and bagged nearly 1/3 of the chips in play. Even when asked the most stupid question ever, "How does it feel?" he only offers the slightest hint of a shrug. "Long way to go," he says.

Photo copyright Rob Gracie -- IMPDI
Eric "Rizen" Lynch on TV

I know Rizen has a lot of fans out there who are supporting him on his blog. After watching him play for the last two days, you can count me among the people rooting for Rizen to take it down on Friday afternoon.

Play begins at 2pm. The PokerStars Blog will be on the story from beginning to end.

Good luck tomorrow, Eric.

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in World Series of Poker