Eric "Rizen" Lynch is considered on of the best online tournament players around. He's won the Sunday Million Dollar Guaranteed on PokerStars, including numerous other tournaments online. The former IT guy from Kansas recently quit his job to focus on playing poker full tine. Rizen qualified for the WSOP main event after winning a $160 shootout on PokerStars. He turned that small investment into $494,797 after he came in 24th place. Earlier in the 2006 WSOP, Rizen made the final table of a Pot Limit Hold'em event and finished in 3rd place.
I had a chance to catch up with Rizen after his elimination at the WSOP main event. He was surrounded by his family, which is no surprise because Rizen is a dedicated husband and father. I was impressed with how calm and cool he was a few moments after he busted out. He still took the time to speak with me. Pauly: Do you feel weird being known as an internet player?
Rizen: No. That's what I am. That's me. I don't think it's a bad term, not like it used to be. I know some people who use it in a derogatory sense. Online players have had a lot of success recently, so I don't mind that term at all.
Pauly: Why do you think the play went so fast during the last few days of the WSOP shampionship? Rizen: I saw a lot of really aggressive European players, especially the Swedes and some of the guys from Moscow. They are very aggressive. I hate to stereotype a whole group of players but the Scandinavians, in particular the ones I played with are very aggressive. When you play a very aggressive style, things are going to happen quickly.
Pauly: At any point did you think that you could possibly go all the way?
Rizen: I tried not to. I was playing the best I could and focused on that. All of this hasn't sunk in yet. Pauly: How has your family being around helped? Rizen: That helps a lot having these guys around. It gives me a sense of normalcy when I leave the Rio. I'm still going to a hotel room, but I'm not going back by myself. I'm with my family.
Pauly: Does this 24th finish at the WSOP change anything? Rizen: I don't think so. We'll see where it goes from here. I've had a lot of success this year. By far this is the best that I've ever done. This is just another step. I'm definitely pleased with how I did. I'll remember this moment for the rest of my life.
Pauly: Which do you prefer online play or live poker? Rizen: I prefer playing online because it allows me to stay at home and be by my family. It's fun playing in the big live events. But being away from home is a strain. I won't be playing too many live events this year with my wife expecting our second child in December. I want to be home for that.
Pauly: People are finally gonna put a face with the name "Rizen." Are you prepared for your impending fame?
Rizen: I have not prepared for it at all. We'll see how everything happens after the episodes air on ESPN. I have no idea what to expect. I'm a pretty laid back guy so I'm not even sure I'm excited about the prospects of being recognized.