Whether he knew it or not, the WSOP’s Event No. 49 champion has poker in his blood. It was only recently, in fact, that young Michael Linn discovered that his mother’s brother, Barry Greenstein, is a famous poker player.
“I always knew my uncle was a gambler,” says Linn. “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! [laughs]”
Despite their familial connection, Greenstein has taken a strong stance when it comes to his young nephew. Though the 22-year-old has displayed considerable skill, the game’s elder statesman has refused to either sponsor him or provide him with any poker guidance. Far from being harsh, this reluctance comes from the family’s desire that Linn finish college before making any decisions on his poker future.
An English major at Cal-Poly, Linn possesses a fierce competitive spirit. While poker has become his most recent outlet, the young student sports a fierce passion for basketball. So great is this love that he has broken his nose six separate times, including once only days before the tournament began. According to the WSOP’s official event report, he is believed to be the only gold bracelet winner to ever capture victory while recovering from a broken nose.
For his struggles, Linn was awarded $609,493. He outlasted a field of 2,543 players, each of whom ponied up $1,500 to create a total prize pool of $3,433,050. The top 270 places received a return on their investment, including such finishers as Roland de Wolfe (60th), Marc Naalden (134th), Robert Cheung (183rd), Matt Matros (194th), David Daneshgar (201st), and J.P. Kelly (208th).
Another notable winner was Allen “Chainsaw” Kessler, who bowed out in 191st place. It is his seventh cash in their year’s WSOP, which puts the record of 10 money finishes well within his reach.
Here’s how the final table shook out:
#1: Michael Linn ($609,493)
#2: Taylor Larkin ($378,905)
#3: Mihai Manole ($268,189)
#4: Ben Smith ($193,418)
#5: Chad Grimes ($141,235)
#6: Alexander Kuzmin ($104,354)
#7: Justin Zaki ($78,067)
#8: Erle Mankin ($59,082)
#9: Joh Myung ($45,247)