WSOP Main Event: Eric "Rizen" Lynch

by Brad "Otis" Willis

I'm one to make bold statements. It's my nature. I'm rarely right (like that time I said, "New Coke is the best marketing idea EVER!"). That's what makes moments like today so much better.

Eric "Rizen" Lynch is still alive and has an above average stack in the middle of Day 4 of the 2006 World Series of Poker.

Now, I'm not saying I'm poker's version of Nostradamus. I didn't see Rizen play in some Kansas home game and declare him to be the next great player in the poker world. However, I did spend a lot of time watching Rizen online and reading his blog. It was then (about six months ago) that I decided Rizen was the real deal.

When Rizen made the final table of the $1,500 PL Hold'em event back in Event #3, I wrote this:

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.

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.

The thing about Rizen is, you don't see him coming. I knew he was still alive in main event. But he's not the type of guy that jumps up and screams when he wins a pot. He's not the type of guy that has huge swings that draw the attention of the ESPN cameras and writers.

Here's a reason to pay attention: the dude is still alive in Day 4 of the main event with a better than average stack.

Now, let's start paying attention.

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in World Series of Poker