Dylan Linde Credits ‘Lucky River’ with Win at WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic

Dec 16, 2018

By Sean Chaffin


The River was good for Dylan Linde this week – not at the table but on the rail. He and his fiancée Alyssa Pittman adopted River, a pitbull, lab, miniature poodle mix in March here in Las Vegas. The pooch has been a prominent site in the Bellagio poker room throughout the week at the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic with poker fans giving him plenty of attention – a pet here, a doggie treat there, maybe just making some players smile.

“I made a couple World Series of Poker final tables this summer and he came and was the ‘final table dog,’” he says. “We just kind of bring him in when it’s big time.”

The final table of Five Diamond certainly qualifies as big time. Linde had been on this type of stage before. He’d won rings and trophies and six-figure scores. But the “5D” is something else entirely – and in his role as good luck charm, River delivered.

“He’s a big part of everything [to me],” he says. “I used to travel and play online poker. My fiancée and I lived in Mexico half the year, and we’d go back and forth and were more nomadic. Being more grounded now, I get to walk River every day in the park and play with him, it’s just made my happiness a lot higher. I think that’s allowed me to be more free. If I lose, whatever, that’s great.”

Losing wasn’t in the cards this at Bellagio, however, despite reloading for five bullets at $10,400 a shot. He takes home $1.63 million and earns a seat to the season-ending Baccarat Crystal WPT Tournament of Champions.

The WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic is the most prestigious open event on the tour and the first to ever be filmed for television all the way back in Season I. He’s thrilled to add his name amond poker greats like Antonio Esfandiari, Eugene Katchalov, Joe Hachem, Daniel Negreanu, Gus Hansen, and Ryan Tosoc.

“It feels incredible,” he said. “Besides having played a lot of poker over the last 10 or 11 years, I’m a gargantuan poker fan. I watch every single everything on PokerGO, I watch all broadcasts – even weird cash games that have been televised. I consume it all, I love poker. So just being here playing in the studio is incredible.”

Mowing Them Down

After entering the final table second in chips, the 38-year-old originally from Coeur D’Alene, Idaho, continued to progress upward throughout the day – becoming a buzzsaw in the process and eliminating five of the six players at the tables including Lisa Hamilton, Ping Liu, and Andrew Lichtenberger.

“For some reason, I just wasn’t nervous,” he says. “I was able to run the bluffs that I thought were right and I was just at peace with my decisions and if they were wrong, so be it, then I’d lose my chips. That’s something I haven’t felt at previous big moments before and probably the thing I’m most proud of here. I pulled the trigger when I needed to pull the trigger on a bluff or played a little tricky. Luckily it worked out.”

After eliminating Lichtenberger, Linde found himself with a comfortable heads-up chip lead over Milos Skrbic (22.275 million to 17.675 million). But Skrbic had come in as chip leader and had a big enough stack to make it a battle. He was fresh off finishing fifth in the €10,350 WSOP Europe Main Event for $275,055 and was hoping to add a WPT title to his war chest.

As the two players battled, Linde pressed much of the action and build his lead early before finishing off his opponent after 35 hands.

The $1.63 million in winner’s cash almost double his previous $2 million in live tournament winnings. Linde now has a WPT title and wins at the EPT, PCA, and WSOP Circuit. But this win at the Bellagio Five Diamond is truly special.

“I’m stunned,” he said. “I was in for five bullets and all I wanted to do is get even. I was like, ‘Okay, I just want to get 24th place and make $8K, that’s great.’ And then I got there and it just felt like freerolling. And I was confident, played my game, and I’m still in shock.”

For his part, Skrbic takes home almost $1.1 million and represented himself well throughout the tournament. The cash becomes the biggest of his career and brings his career earnings to more than $1.5 million.

Wedding Bells

When not playing poker, Linde admits that he doesn’t have too many hobbies. While poker consumes most of his life, he enjoys playing video games, cooking, and hanging out with family. But mostly he splits time between studying poker and playing the game here in Las Vegas. Even when not doing those, he works as a poker coach at RunItOnce.com.

After being engaged for two years, Linde realizes a trip down the altar may is probably coming soon. The couple will probably use some of the newfound riches for a wedding as well as a new place to live.

“We’re going to buy a house,” he says. “We thought about doing it last winter and it just didn’t seem to work out. Also, it’s really hard to get a loan if you’re a poker player.”

A mortgage shouldn’t be needed now. Linde says that’s his first step and thinks a wedding may follow.

“Maybe this will be the thing that kicks us to actually get married,” he says.

With such a massive win at the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic, one realization came to him about the looming wedding with Alyssa.

He adds with a big smile and laugh: “The ring expectation has gone way up.”

Sean Chaffin is a freelance writer in Crandall, Texas. His work appears in numerous websites and publications. Follow him on Twitter @PokerTraditions.

Photography by Melissa Haereiti / PokerPhotoArchive.com

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