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Ryan McLane

Ryan  McLane
Ryan McLane was a poker reporter for Casino City. Although he has a strong background in reporting, the same can't be said for his poker skills. He has never won a major tournament nor is he a professional player. Currently, Ryan lives in Boston and occasionally makes international treks to cover tournament poker and news.

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Player Profile - Eric "Rizen" Lynch

8 Nov 2006

By Ryan McLane

The name Eric Lynch didn't ring many bells in the poker community this summer when the Kansas resident made his first appearance at the World Series of Poker.

But when he mentioned his online name -- Rizen -- word spread quickly at the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino that the online superstar was playing live, and ESPN wasted no time introducing the world to one of the most feared players on the Internet.

It wasn't long before the moniker Eric Lynch started to carry some weight as well.

Lynch finished third in WSOP Event #3 and 24th in the Main Event, netting him $599,341. He entered the final table of Event #3 as the chip leader and endured two miserable beats before finally succumbing. His run at the Main Event speaks for itself.

Lynch received television exposure in both WSOP events, allowing him to exhibit his live tournament skills to a national audience. He played well, earning kudos from Norman Chad and many of the professionals he played against.

The experts agreed - the poker world will continue to see Lynch's name appear on live tournament money lists.

But the Internet is where Lynch thrives.

His resume is impeccable. So far in 2006, Lynch has won the Sunday Million, the Big Deal, the $100,000 guaranteed, and the Friday Special.

"Rizen" has won $324,139 in Internet poker tournaments in 2006, tops on the Player of the Year (POY) money list. He also has 12 final tables and 69 cashes, good for fourth in the POY running.

There's only two months left in the POY competition, but there a few online players who would be surprised to see "Rizen" rise in the standings.

How did you start playing poker?

I played in a home game with some co-workers, although I started taking the game a lot more seriously after depositing $50 on PartyPoker and playing real money games online.

Do you prefer to play online?

Yes, with my family the convenience of playing online is better than live. That being said, I love live play and have to get my big live fix at least a few times a year.

How did you come up with your screen name?

As sad as this sounds, I used to play online games a fair amount, and all my usual names were taken. I decided a name with a 'z' in it would be rare, and Rizen just randomly came to mind.

Do you play on one site or a few?

I play on a bunch. I like to get a chance to play the best games every site offers rather than limiting myself to the selection of one site.

Do you get a sense of community from playing online?

There is definitely an online community. Most of the regular players know each other well, and I'd even consider many of them my friends although we may never have met in real life.

Who are online players your respect?

Pretty much everyone in the top 20 or so on IPOY, but to name specific players: Phat_cat, soupie, scgolfer, delaReine, and steely are probably some of the players I respect most and talk to on a regular basis about poker related topics.

How hard is it to win a big online tournament?

It takes a lot of skill and a lot of luck. I've been fortunate enough to win most of the 'major' regular online tournaments at some point in my career, but it's never easy. You have to play well, get lucky a few times, and most importantly avoid getting unlucky at key moments.

What are your expectations going into an online tournament? How do you prepare? What do you eat? How do you schedule bathroom breaks? Do you game plan?

I expect to win every tournament I play, but I know it won't happen. I make sure to eliminate distractions (TV, web surfing, etc) before I start. I usually play shortly after dinner, so I just try and make sure I eat a reasonable dinner. Something heavy enough I won't be hungry 2-3 hours in, but not so heavy my body wants to take a nap by the first break. Bathroom breaks usually happen very quickly, and sometimes I'll miss a hand or two because all the tournaments never go on break at the same time. I also don't game plan very much, because I believe it can make your play too rigid and not allow you to take advantage of profitable situations as they arise if you're sticking to a plan.

Do you follow the POY rankings? Does it play into your decision making? Would you like to win it?

I follow the rankings, and would be honored to win it, but I don't let it play into my decision-making. At the end of the day this is a job, and I try and make as much money as possible. I base all of my decisions off that and have ended up bubbling a lot of IPOY related tournaments that way. I think you can see from my overall winnings though, I'm accomplishing those goals fairly well.

Do you play for cash or prestige?

Cash. I like the respect of my peers, but at the end of the day I'm just trying to provide for myself and my family, and sometimes would prefer anonymity.

What do you think of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act?

Obviously I'm not a big fan. It's a really bad step for the game, but hopefully it will be the start of either making a carve-out for poker as a game of skill, or finally getting the game legalized and regulated here in the states.

In a perfect world, how would Internet poker operate?

They'd make sure I won every hand :-) Short of that, as long as it's easy for new players to get involved in the game and deposit money, and there are a variety of good tournaments for all buy in levels, it works for me.

Mucking McLane
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