WSOP Event #3: Rizen to the occasion

As a guy who spent ten years with a professional mission to not care about one person more than another, I find my sensibilities in a state of flux. For those who aren't aware, I worked as a news reporter for a decade before jumping headlong into poker coverage. In my old job, favoritism was more than a no-no. It was verboten. These days, I have the privilege, if you will, to root for PokerStars players. As Event #3 inches toward the money (99 get paid), I feel good that I can root for one of the good up-and-coming players in the game.

Maybe you don't know him. I mean, before the dinner break, there were names I'd mentioned here before. Jason Strasser was still in. So was ElkY. It appears they are now gone. Victor Ramdin, thankfully, is still battling his table. For the moment, however, I feel like I want to tell you a little more about Eric 'Rizen' Lynch.

Because Rizen has chosen to chronicle his exploits on his blog, I've been following his progress from regular dude to poker phenom for a little while. I've long been a big poker blog reader. Many of the blogs (a lot like the one I write for) are regular working stiffs like me who like to play poker. Rizen, however, has found a way to pull me into world that is far beyond what my ability allows.



Photo Copyright--Rob Gracie--IMPDI

After reading his blog for the past several months, I can't say I was at all surprised when Rizen took down the PokerStars Sunday Million a few weeks ago. Even better, Rizen provided a play-by-play commentary of the final table replay. I found it beyond entertaining.

So, I knew Rizen was on his way out to Vegas to play and I'd been looking forward to meeting him. Finally, I got the chance today. It was brief, but for a good reason. Rizen is on his way (given no bust-out has happened since I sat down to write this) to cashing in Event #3 of the WSOP.

I don't know what it is exactly. I mean, I'm fans of some of the big-name poker pros. But there's something about this guy who just six months ago wrote, "I'm a 27-year-old software engineer from Kansas City, Kansas who also happens to spend a lot of time playing online poker."

Now, he's routinely winning thousands of dollars in online tournaments and he's out here in Vegas fighting against the toughest pros in the business.

When I left Rizen a little while ago, his stack wasn't huge, but he was still in. Here's to hoping that he's still around when I walk back in the room.

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in World Series of Poker