New Orleans’ Lenaghan Emerges in WSOP Main Event

Ryan Lenaghan
Ryan Lenaghan

Every Main Event there always seems to be one unknown player who starts crushing in the latter stages.

Ryan Lenaghan is doing his best to be that player with 30 players left in the 2011 WSOP Main Event.

He was the first player to get to 15 million chips and has scarcely fallen since then.

“It’s a bit surreal but it’s been so much fun,” said Lenaghan. “No matter what happens I’ll be proud but right now I definitely want to make the final table.”

Lenaghan has been playing poker seriously for a little over three years now and was inspired - like many - by the Chris Moneymaker’s big win in 2003.

“I really liked the game from the first time I played it,” he said.

Growing up in Mobile, AL, Lenaghan knew he wanted to play poker for a living at a very young age. His parents actually supported his decision but suggested he at least attend college and get a degree.

Lenaghan attended LSU and received his degree in General Studies. As soon as he finished school he started playing poker full-time.

“I always wanted to play poker,” he said. “I could never really see myself going into an office every day.”

A regular fixture of the Southern poker circuit, Lenaghan has already picked up over $80,000 in lifetime live tournament earnings but he’s never experienced anything like the Main Event.

“I’ve been having a great time here,” he said. “There’s obviously a lot of pressure and I don’t want to mess up but I’m having fun.”

It was no easy task for Lenaghan to outlast over 6,000 players to this stage of the tournament but he admitted the competition will only get tougher from here on out.

“There are a lot of really good online players here,” said Lenaghan.

Right now it’s still a pipedream, but the 2011 November Nine and the $8.7 million dollar first-place prize are getting closer with every elimination.

“I feel like if I made the November Nine I wouldn’t be able to think about anything else for the next four months,” laughed Lenaghan.

The 2011 WSOP continues through July 19. For comprehensive coverage live from Las Vegas check PokerListings' Live Updates brought to you by PartyPoker.

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