The Sun Also Rises on Mike Linn
 
College Student Majoring in English Wins WSOP Gold Bracelet
 
Mike Linn, Cal-Poly Student, Collects $609,493 in Prize Money
 
Through 49 WSOP Events -- WSOP Attendance Increases 26 Percent from Last Year
 
For the tournament portal page for this event, including official results, click HERE.

OVERVIEW

Michael Linn was the winner of the $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em championship at the 2010 World Series of Poker.  This marked his first career WSOP gold bracelet victory.  Linn collected $609,493 in prize money in what was only his third time to cash at the WSOP.  Linn’s most notable previous achievement was cashing in last year’s WSOP Main Event championship, where he finished 191st out of 6,494 players.

Linn is a 22-year-old student from La Jolla, CA.  He is majoring in English.  Linn enjoys playing online poker in his spare time and intends to finish his degree before making further decisions about what to pursue in life.  His uncle is poker star Barry Greenstein.

The runner up was Taylor Larkin, from Siloam Springs, AR.  Second place paid a very respectable $378,905.

The top 270 finishers collected prize money.  Former WSOP gold bracelet finishers who cashed in this event included – Roland de Wolfe (60th), Marc Naalden (134th), Robert Cheung (183rd), Matt Matros (194th), David Daneshgar (201st), and J.P. Kelly (208th).

Allen “Chainsaw” Kessler (191st place) became the first player at this year’s WSOP to cash eight times.  The record for most cashes in a single year is 10, held by Nikolay Evdakov in 2008.  Kessler is now in serious contention to match or break the record with seven WSOP events remaining, plus five more tournaments to be held at WSOP Europe in September.

THE CHAMPION – MIKE LINN

The $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em champion (Event #49) is Mike Linn, from La Jolla, CA.

Linn is a 22-year-old college student.

Linn was born in San Diego, CA.

Linn is majoring in English.  His mother is an English professor at a college in San Diego.  “My parents taught me what’s really important,” Linn said in a post-tournament interview.

Linn’s favorite book is “The Sun Also Rises,” which was Ernest Hemmingway’s first novel.  Linn says the book is his favorite because “it has some good morals in it.”

Linn began playing poker during his freshman year of college.  He rarely played before then.

Linn plays basketball very seriously.  He was a star athlete in high school and plays on Cal-Poly’s intramural team.  In a sign of his competitiveness, he has broken his nose six times.  Four days before this event began, Linn broke his nose again.  His face was swollen and he was in pain during most of the event.  Linn is believed to be the first WSOP gold bracelet winner with a broken nose.

Linn plays online with several top young poker pros.

Linn collected $609,493 for first place.  He was presented with his first WSOP gold bracelet.

According to official records, Linn now has one win, one final table appearance, and three cashes at the WSOP.  His career WSOP earnings now total $649,341.

Linn’s uncle is none other than three-time gold bracelet winner Barry Greenstein.  Oddly enough, Linn’s prize money won in this event, amounting to more than $600,000, is more than all three combined gold bracelet payouts achieved by Greenstein.

When Linn began playing poker seriously, he did now know his uncle was the famous poker player Barry Greenstein (Linn’s mother is Greenstein’s sister).  Once he discovered his uncle was a renowned poker pro, Linn talked to Greenstein, who had some strong words for the aspiring poker pro.  Greenstein stated he would not give Linn any funding or poker advice until after he finished school.  Greenstein was on the rail cheering for Linn at the final table.  But to this day, Greenstein has not tutored nor backed his nephew in any way, which he hopes will stress the importance of finishing his college education. 

WINNER QUOTES

On thanking those who were responsible for his victory:  “I want to shout out to all my friends at Crandall Poker, who taught me how to play poker.  I want to thank my mother and father, too.  I love them.  My brother, too -- and all of my friends.  I always wanted to do one of these (interviews).  This is pretty fun.”

On his relationship to his uncle, Barry Greenstein:  “I always knew my uncle was a gambler.  But I had no idea he was a very good poker player.  Six months into me taking poker seriously, I realized he had a lot to do with the game.  To be honest, his deal with me is that he will not mentor me or coach me in any way until I graduate from college.  But now that I think about it, when I graduate from college I should teach him! (laughing)”

On why he thinks it’s important to finish his education:  “I’m trying to quit poker to stay in school (laughing).  I feel like the experience of being in college is far more important, especially for someone in my situation.  It’s far more important than the degree.  The piece of paper is not really going to help me that much.  But the people I meet and the growth you have are far more important than shutting yourself away in another world with a computer.”

On what it means to win a WSOP gold bracelet:  “I don’t know how much this is going to change my life.  Hopefully, I am going to go back to school and be the same person.”

THE FINAL TABLE

The final table included no former WSOP gold bracelet winners, which guaranteed a first-time champion.

The final table began nine-handed.

The final table included players from three different nations – Romania (1 player), Russia (1 player), and the United States (7 players).

The runner up was Taylor Larkin, from Siloam Springs, AR.  He is primarily a cash game player.  This was Larkin’s first time to cash at the WSOP.  Second place paid $378,905.
  
The third-place finisher was Mihai Manole, from Targoviste, Romania.  This was the highest finish ever for a Romanian national at the WSOP.  Manole, a poker pro who has enjoyed several big cashes mostly in Europe, also made a WSOP final table two years ago, finishing in fifth place.  Manole’s fine effort paid $268,189.

The fourth-place finisher was Ben Smith, from West Palm Beach, FL.  He is a 22-year-old part-time poker player.  This was Smith’s first final table appearance, which paid a very pleasing $193,418.

The fifth-place finisher was Chad Grimes, from Greenville, NC.  He almost pulled off a trifecta for North Carolina poker players.  Close friend Chris Bell won his first gold bracelet three days ago.  Another colleague, Ken Aldridge, won a gold bracelet last year.  Grimes went deep, but eventually busted out in fifth place, which paid $141,235.

The sixth-place finisher was Alexander Kuzmin, from Moscow, Russia.  He is originally from Latvia.  This was Kuzmin’s third time to cash at the WSOP, which now includes two final table appearances.  He collected $104,354 in prize money and has now earned more than $160,000 this year.

The seventh-place finisher was Justin Zaki, from St. Petersburg, FL.  He is a graduate of the University of Central Florida who now plays poker professionally.  Zaki earned $78,067 for seventh place.

The eighth-place finisher was Erle Mankin, from Sacramento, CA.  This was his third WSOP cash and biggest payout, to date.  Mankin earned $59,082 for eighth place.

The ninth-place finisher was John Myung, from Vienna, VA.  He has more than $2 million in overall career tournament winnings, including two major wins.  This was Myung’s highest WSOP finish since 2005.  Ninth place paid $45,247.

The final table began at 8:30 pm and ended at 2:20 am, a duration of about 5 hours and 50 minutes.

OTHER IN-THE-MONEY FINISHERS

The top 270 finishers collected prize money.  Former WSOP gold bracelet finishers who cashed in this event included – Roland de Wolfe (60th), Marc Naalden (134th), Robert Cheung (183rd), Matt Matros (194th), David Daneshgar (201st), and J.P. Kelly (208th).

Allen “Chainsaw” Kessler (191st place) became the first player at this year’s WSOP to cash eight times.  The record for most cashes in a single year is 10, held by Nikolay Evdakov in 2008.  Kessler is now in serious contention to match or break the record with seven WSOP events remaining, plus five more tournaments to be held at WSOP Europe in September.

ODDS AND ENDS

This is the 877th gold bracelet event in World Series of Poker history.  Note:  This figure includes every official WSOP event played, including tournaments during the early years when there were no actual gold bracelets awarded.  It also includes the 11 gold bracelets awarded to date at WSOP Europe.

The official WSOP gold bracelet ceremony takes place on the day following the winner’s victory (or some hours later when the tournament runs past midnight).  The ceremony takes place inside The Pavilion, which is the expansive main tournament room hosting all noon starts this year.  The ceremony begins at the conclusion of the first break of the noon tournament, usually around 2:20 pm.  The national anthem of the winner’s nation is played.  The entire presentation is open to public and media.  Video and photography are permitted by both public and members of the media.

Linn requested that the national anthem of the United States be played at his WSOP gold bracelet ceremony, held Thursday July 1st, 2010.

TOURNAMENT PLAY

The tournament was played over four consecutive days, from June 28-30, 2010.

There were 2,543 entries.  The total prize pool amounted to $3,433,050.  The top 270 finishers collected prize money.

When heads-up play began, Mike Linn has about a 4-to-1 chip lead over Taylor Larkin.

Linn ended up winning the tournament when he was dealt     against Larkin’s    .  The final board showed          , which gave Linn a pair of deuces, and the victory.

Linn is to be classified as a semi-pro since he plays for extra income and also attends college.

2010 WSOP STATISTICS

Tournament attendance is up significantly from this same point last year.  Last year, through 49 events, there were 45,133 entries.  Thus far this year, there have been 57,000 total entries, an increase of 26.2 percent.

Prize money is also up from last year’s figures.  Last year, through 49 events, the amount of prize money won was $95,240,864.  This year’s prize money currently stands at $97,134,815, an increase of about 2 percent.

Through the conclusion of Event #49, the nationalities of gold bracelet winners have been:

United States (33)
Great Britain (5)
Canada (5)
Hungary (2)
New Zealand (1)
France (1)
Russia (1)
Norway (1)

Through the conclusion of Event #49, the national origin (birthplace) of winners has been:

United States (26)
Great Britain (5)
Canada (5)
Vietnam (2)
China (2)
Hungary (2)
New Zealand (1)
France (1)
Lebanon (1)
Russia (1)
Mexico (1)
Bangladesh (1)
Norway (1)

Through the conclusion of Event #49, the breakdown of professional poker players to semi-pros and amateurs who won gold bracelets is as follows:

Professional Players (35):  Michael Chow, Michael Mizrachi, Praz Bansi, Josh Tieman, Peter Gelencser, James Dempsey, Men “the Master” Nguyen, Matt Matros, Yan R. Chen, Steve Gee, Carter Phillips, Jason DeWitt, Eric Buchman, David Baker, Richard Ashby, Dutch Boyd, Sammy Farha, David Warga, Will Haydon, Matt Keikoan, Mike Ellis, Luis Velador, Ayaz Mahmood, Phil Ivey, Luigi Kwaysser, Scott Montgomery, Steven Kelly, Steve Jelinek, Dean Hamrick, Ian Gordon, Gavin Smith, Jesse Rockowitz, Chris Bell, Sigurd Eskeland, Shawn Busse

Semi-Pros (6):  Frank Kassela, Tex Barch, Miguel Proulx, Jeffrey Papola, Frank Kassela, Mike Linn

Amateurs (8):  Duc Pham, Aadam Daya, Pascal Lefrancois, Simon Watt, Vanessa Hellebuyck, Jeff Tebben, Konstantin Puchkov, Harold Angle

Through the conclusion of Event #49, here is the list of repeat WSOP gold bracelet winners:

Praz Bansi
Men “the Master” Nguyen
Russ “Dutch” Boyd
Sammy Farha
David Warga (* his first WSOP win was in a non-open event)
Matt Keikoan
Luis Velador
Phil Ivey
Frank Kassela (two wins this year)

Through the conclusion of 2010 World Series of Poker -- Event #49:

Youngest Winner – Steven Kelly (21) and Shawn Busse (21)
Oldest Winner – Harold Angle (78)
Female Winners (open events) – None
Multiple-Event Winners (this year) – Frank Kassela