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Ren Lin Takes Down Inaugural PokerGO Tour Texas Poker Open

by Erik Fast |  Published: Jun 12, 2024


The inaugural PokerGO Tour Texas Poker Open is now in the books, with more than $3.9 million in prize money awarded across the nine events of the series that qualified for PGT points. The new festival spanned from April 26 through May 3 at the Champions Club Texas in Houston, with the centerpiece of the schedule being the $2 million guaranteed $3,300 buy-in no-limit hold’em main event.

That marquee tournament attracted 735 entries, surpassing the guarantee to build a final prize pool of $2,205,000. The lion’s share of that money was ultimately awarded to high-stakes standout Ren Lin, who secured the belt buckle trophy and $400,000 for the win.

This was the seventh-largest score of Lin’s career, and his 30th cash for six figures or more. He now has more than $11.6 million in lifetime tournament earnings.

Lin has now made seven final tables in 2024, with this being his first outright victory. This win saw him earn 1,368 Card Player Player of the Year points. With 3,051 total points and nearly $1.6 million in to-date POY earnings, he is now ranked eighth in the POY rankings presented by Global Poker. He’ll be looking to improve on the career-best fifth-place showing he posted last year.

Lin also earned 400 PGT points for this win, enough to move him to 20th place on the season-long PGT leaderboard.

This event ran from April 24-29, with eight starting flights preceding two days of combined-field action. The top 86 finishers ultimately cashed, with big names that ran deep including Andrew Lichtenberger (33rd), Brad Ruben (32nd), Victoria Livschitz (28th), David Coleman (27th), Jeremy Becker (21st), Isaac Kempton (16th), Shaun Deeb (15th), Jeremy Ausmus (11th), and DJ Alexander (10th).

Lin was in second chip position when the final table of nine was set, but he sat with roughly half as many chips as big stack Yunkyu Song.

2013 World Series of Poker main event champion Ryan Riess was the shortest stack when the final table began. Riess outlasted Miguel Use (9th – $40,000) and got all-in with pocket kings leading A-4 for Song. The board brought four clubs, though, giving Song the nut flush and the knockout. Riess earned $52,000 as the eighth-place finisher.

Lin scored his first knockout when his A-10 bested the K-Q of bracelet winner Tyler Brown (7th – $66,000). PokerGO commentator and bracelet winner Brent Hanks soon joined Brown on the rail, with his flush and gutshot straight draws failing to improve against the top pair of Jonathan Tamayo. Hanks earned $83,000 as the sixth-place finisher to grow his lifetime earnings to nearly $2 million.

Daniel Holmes (5th – $103,000) was the next to fall, with his K-J suited failing to overcome the A-Q suited of a surging Lin. A cooler then saw Lin take a sizable chip lead during four-handed action, with his flopped top two pair improving to jacks full on the river to best the fives full of Song, who had flopped bottom set. Song ultimately bowed out in 4th place, earning $133,000 for his efforts.

Tamayo’s run concluded in third place when his K-10 ran into the A-J of Daniel Moran. An ace-high runout saw Tamayo head to the cashier to collect $180,000.

Lin entered heads-up play with only a slight lead, but a preflop cooler resulted in a brief battle, as all of the chips went in on the first hand of the clash. Lin raised on the button with pocket jacks and Moran three-bet with pocket tens. Lin’s four-bet was met with a five-bet shove from Moran. Lin called and the board ran out ADiamond Suit JHeart Suit 5Heart Suit 3Spade Suit 5Club Suit to give Lin jacks full and the title. Moran earned $275,000 as the runner-up.

High Stakes Regulars Shine In High Roller Events

There were eight events with buy-ins of $5,100 or more on the PGT Texas Poker Open schedule. The first high-stakes side event saw 13 players post the buy-in of $5,100 for some turbo no-limit hold’em action. The top two finishers earned a share of the $65,000 prize pool, with Victoria Livschitz capturing the title and the top prize of $45,500. Two-time bracelet winner Michael Wang placed second for $19,500.

Livschitz has made six final tables already this year in events awarding Card Player Player of the Year points, accruing $357,000 across those scores. She now has more than $1.7 million in recorded tournament earnings after this victory.

Livschitz backed up her win with a third-place showing in the second turbo no-limit hold’em high roller. This time around there were 18 total entries, building a $90,000 prize pool. Livschitz took home $14,400 for her efforts.

Aram Zobian, fresh off a series championship victory in the U.S. Poker Open, came out on top ($48,600), while Jeremy Becker earned $27,000 as the runner-up. Zobian has more than $6.5 million in career tournament earnings, including a WSOP bracelet win.

Zobian sits inside the top 20 in the 2024 POY standings, and is also ranked second on the season-long PGT leaderboard.

The third turbo event drew an even larger field, with 33 entries made by the end of registration. That resulted in a $165,000 prize pool that was split among the top five finishers.

The lion’s share was captured by reigning WPT World Championship winner Dan Sepiol. He took home $52,740 for the win, but was not yet finished making deep runs at the festival.

Josh Arieh finished second for $54,510. The two cut a deal based on their chip counts at the time and then ran a pot-limit Omaha flip to determine who would take home the title and the belt buckle trophy.

Zobian placed third for another $26,400. Three-time WPT champion Chino Rheem cashed for $18,150 as the fourth-place finisher.

The fourth and final $5,100 buy-in no-limit hold’em event of the festival saw 49 entries build a prize pool of $245,000. Sepiol made it down to heads-up for the second straight tournament in a row but ended up finishing second to Clemen Deng.

Deng earned $87,750 as the champion, while Sepiol cashed for $53,900. This score pushed Deng past $1.1 million in earnings, while Sepiol climbed to more than $7.1 million in career cashes. Bracelet winner Andrew Lichtenberger rounded out the podium finishers, taking home $35,525 for a third-place showing.

The first of several pot-limit Omaha high rollers drew a 105-entry turnout, creating a prize pool of $525,000. The top 15 finishers cashed, with six-figure payouts for the final two. In the end, four-time bracelet winner Brad Ruben came out on top, earning $115,250 for the win. Frederic Normand finished second for $105,250, while Tyler Brown made another final table, placing third for $60,375. Ren Lin, just a few days removed from winning the main event, placed ninth for $15,750.

Joey Weissman bested a field of 29 entries in the $10,100 buy-in no-limit hold’em event, earning $116,000 for the win. The bracelet winner based out of Las Vegas defeated three-time bracelet winner Upeshka De Silva heads-up to secure the title. Weissman now has nearly $7.2 million in lifetime earnings.

The $290,000 prize pool was split amongst the top five, with current POY and PGT race points leader David Coleman adding to his haul with a fourth-place finish for $31,900. Coleman has four wins and 13 POY-qualified final tables. With 4,134 total points, he now sits 176 points ahead of second-ranked Stephen Chidwick in the standings.

The final two events of the festival were pot-limit Omaha affairs. The $5,100 buy-in saw 38 entries made, creating a $190,000 prize pool. David Mzareulov dragged the last pot, earning $68,400 for the win.

The PLO standout cashed in five events at this festival, including four final tables. He now has more than $2.4 million in career earnings after cashing for nearly $300,000 at Champions Club. Brown recorded his third final-table finish of the series, adding $20,900 to his haul.

Isaac Kempton took down the second and final $10,100 buy-in PLO event. The 16-entry field made a $160,000 prize pool for the top three finishers to share. Kempton cashed for $86,400 to eke his way past $5 million in career earnings. Andrew Lichtenberger earned $48,000 as the runner-up, while David Mzareulov completed his great run with another $25,600 for third. ♠