Online poker room UltimateBet is sure trying to clean up its image in a hurry.First, it signs Cliff “JohnnyBax” Josephy to its newly-created Star Player team.Now it has inked another online star respected both for his skillful play and character: Eric “Rizen” Lynch.
Lynch is one of the coolest customers at the poker table – seemingly unflappable, he just goes about his business, win or lose (and more often than not, it’s “win”.)While a medical issue earlier this year and an increased focus on live tournaments have caused him to drop back to 66th in the PocketFives.com online tournament world rankings, he has been a fixture amongst the leaders for the last few years.His three biggest cashes within the last six months were all clumped in December 2007: first place in the UltimateBet Online Poker Championship $150k guaranteed No-Limit Hold’em event ($57,875), fourth in Full Tilt’s $750k guarantee ($41,400), and second in PokerStars’ $109 rebuy tournament ($17,430).He has also won the PokerStars $1 million guaranteed tournament.
Since 2006, Eric Lynch has made three final tables at the World Series of Poker – one in 2006 and two in 2007, just missing a bracelet with a runner-up finish in last year’s $1,500 pot-limit Omaha event.He also made nearly a half million dollars when he came in 24th in the 2006 WSOP Main Event.
Lynch’s signing, like Josephy’s, has stirred up controversy.To many online players, UltimateBet is a scourge on the industry because of the recent super-user scandals in UB and its sister site, Absolute Poker; and many fans of Rizen are very upset that he would “sell out” and attach his name to UltimateBet.Lynch has said that it was not an easy decision, but after speaking with UltimateBet management and other people he respected who were knowledgeable about the company, he felt that UltimateBet was taking positive steps towards becoming a premier, secure poker room.