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Poker News | People in Poker | Poker Superstars

Michael Lynn: ESPN Feature Table

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Activision sells a video game for Microsoft's Xbox 360, World Series of Poker: Tournament of Champions. To promote their newest release, they brought six owners of the original game to Las Vegas, awarding a seat in the WSOP Main Event as well as an alternate. The alternate, Michael Lynn, bested the field to face Chris "Jesus" Ferguson heads-up. He was pretty excited, as this meant he would play the next day in the Main Event.

Michael grew up in Chicago, a big-time athlete throughout his youth. "He played baseball, basketball, football, golf; you name it," said Liz Lynn, his mother. "They called him Mini-Jordan because he can jump." Michael played AAU basketball on the national level, defending some of the best point guards in America including Shaun Livingstone. "I loved all sports; I'm just very competitive in everything I do." After high school, he worked in a variety of jobs around Northern Chicago, doing carpentry work and construction. He debated whether to join the Marines, all the while smitten with poker.

"Our family played cards all the time when we were together. After Rounders came out in 1997, I started playing games with my friends. We would always have a home game going growing up, and I started playing online when I turned 18. I play mostly at Bodog now; they've been just really supportive. Live I play $10/20 limit mostly. I went on a sick run on Bodog, cashing in 9 of 20 tournaments and winning four tournaments. I wanted to move up the Bodog Weekly Leader board, and it was a nice run."

Mikey, as his friends call him, busted out of an early $1.5k event at the World Series, and when he got home he received an email from Activision that he was an alternate for their Main Event promotion. "I was just ecstatic. I wanted to just focus on getting to the final three, and then I felt like my experience would come into play." It did, and now he's in the Main Event.

He started the following day, Day 1A, and he showed up an hour late. "It was a huge grind, just super-tight. The whole table was a tight table, so you'd never get paid off; it wasn't even worth stealing blinds at that level, so I just sat back and won some small pots." His table broke, and he took his $27k to a new table. "The new table was extremely aggressive, so I knew I could sit back and pick off some guys." He knocked out two people, adjusting his style of play after reading the people around him.

Michael started Day 2 with $43,325, good for 236th place. "There were two solid players at my table. I played tight, but I kept getting great hands. It looked like I was playing really loose, and I got no respect. I just kept getting action and getting paid off." Once he reached $100k, he took control of the table. Others got intimidated, and by the end of the night he was at $291k, which was good enough for 12th place heading into Day 2.

Table 126 had two strong players to his left, Mark Vos from Australia and Annie Duke, sister of Howard Lederer. "I may be a bit more aggressive at the table," he said. "I heard how they play, so I may be able to move up a bit early."

When he arrived at the Rio on Friday, Liz couldn't believe where he was being escorted: to the ESPN Feature Table. "I can't believe this," said Liz.

Michael's baseball coach David Rigowski was in the stands for support, and his friends, David Rigowski, Jr., as well as Ricky and Timmy Larson, were all ready to cheer him on to a big day. "It's so great to have all the support from Activision and Bodog, but my Mom is my good luck charm."

He may have won his seat via a video game, but Michael Lynn has proven that he's got game. He's in great shape to go deep in this tournament, a strong showing as midnight approaches on Day 3.

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