It has been quite the week for Ren Lin at the PokerGO Studio inside the ARIA Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.
The Georgia-based poker player kicked off his trio of final-table finishes in a seven-day span by placing second in the 2023 PokerGO Tour Pot-Limit Omaha $25,000 buy-in championship event for $352,750 on Mar. 19. Six days later, he backed that up with a seventh-place finish in the $10,500 buy-in opening event of the U.S. Poker Open for another $52,500. He completed the hat trick by emerging victorious in event no. 2 at the USPO, another $10,500 NLH tournament, the very next day. Lin defeated a field of 105 entries to secure his first PGT major title and the top prize of $231,000. The score increased Lin’s earnings for the week to $636,250.
Lin now has a total of eight final-table finishes under his belt in 2023. The 600 Card Player Player of the Year points he was awarded for his victory in this event were enough to move him into third place in this year’s POY race standings, which are presented by Global Poker. He has already accrued 3,555 total points so far, with more than $1.6 million in POY earnings booked along the way.
Lin also secured 231 PGT rankings points with this win. He now sits in first place in the USPO player of the series standings, and sixth in the year-long PGT points race with four qualified cashes and $666,250 in earnings on the high-stakes tour.
This event played out over the course of two days. Day 1 ended with seven contenders remaining and FiveThirtyEight founder and Editor in Chief Nate Silver in the lead. Lin was third in chips when cards got in the air on day 2.
Silver added to his lead in the early going, with his A-Q suited holding against the A-9 suited of Steven Veneziano (7th – $52,500) to narrow the field to six. Lin surged up the standings thanks to a crucial preflop coin flip that saw his pocket sevens best the A-J of nine-time bracelet winner Erik Seidel. The Poker Hall of Fame member flopped an ace, but Lin turned a seven and then improved to a full house on the river. Seidel earned $63,000 for his sixth-place showing, growing his career earnings to just shy of $44 million.
Aram Zobian’s run in this event came to an end when his pocket eights ran into the pocket queens of Silver. Neither player improved and Zobian was knocked out in fifth place ($78,750). This was his fifth PGT cash of the year, with one win and $569,996 in earnings. He now sits in fifth place on the 2023 PGT leaderboard as a result.
Silver and Lin were the two largest stacks among the final four players. The pair got involved in a massive pot that all but spelled the end of Silver’s run for the title. The action really began to heat up on the turn after a single raise preflop and a couple of checks on the flop. With a board of Q1087 Lin bet 250,000 into a pot of 700,000. Silver raised to 850,000. Lin moved all-in for around 3.8 million total and Silver called with 87 for eights and sevens. Lin revealed the 96 for a ten-high straight. A blank on the river saw Lin drag the massive pot of 8.3 million, while Silver was left with fewer than two big blinds. He was eliminated shortly after that, earning $99,750 for his latest deep run in a poker event. This was the third-largest score on Silver’s poker resume, after a runner-up finish in the 2021 World Series of Poker $10,000 limit hold’em championship for $151,842 and a second-place showing in a 2022 Poker Masters $10,000 no-limit hold’em event for $140,600. The media company founder now has nearly $630,000 in tournament scores on his record.
Robert Chorlian was the short stack early in three-handed action. His final hand saw him open-shove from the small blind for just over 15 big blinds with Q-9. Lin called with A-K and held to send Chorlian to the rail in third place ($126,000).
Lin entered heads-up play with 11,000,000 to the 2,125,000 of another red-hot player on the live tournament circuit: Nacho Barbero. The bracelet winner from Argentina managed an early double up, but was soon all-in and at risk again with K7 trailing the A5 of Lin. The board ran out 5329A to give Lin aces up for the win.
Barbero earned $168,000 as the runner-up. This was his second final-table finish of the series and seventh of the year, with two titles won along the way. Barbero has already accumulated more than $3.2 million in POY earnings in 2023. With 4,950 POY points, he now has a 1,320-point lead over second-ranked Aliaksandr Shylko in this year’s POY standings. Barbero is also a top contender on the PGT leaderboard, with his six qualified cashes putting him in third place in that race.
Here is a look at the payouts and rankings points awarded on day 2:
|Place||Player||Earnings||POY Points||PGT Points|
Photo credits: PokerGO / Enrique Malfavon.