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Bill Edler - A Winner in More Ways Than One
Bill Edler is one of poker's nice guys and it was great to watch him take down a superstar field and a tough as nails final table to win the 2007 WSOP Event 45 $5,000 No-Limit Hold'em/Six Handed to bring home his first WSOP Gold Bracelet.
PokerListings.com sat down with Edler moments after he won the event to discuss how he managed to pull this off and just how excited one man can be.
Congratulations Bill, you seem really excited to have won this thing?
I'm really excited. I haven't called my wife yet because I would cry. That's the honest truth. I'm that excited.
Almost a $1 million dollar first prize that's a big chunk of change and of course your first WSOP bracelet. What does it all mean to you?
I am fortunate enough to play a lot of these. If you play on tour you kind of get immune to the money and it's nonsensical. This kind of money is life changing for most people and the fact is it's life changing for me.
But there are more important things than money; Love, family, friends and health and I'm the luckiest guy in all those scores. There's just no doubt about it.
Money does go down the list for me I'm never going to have to worry about where my next hamburger is coming from, but you also want to have professional success and this was an important tournament to win. It's not the Main Event but to me it means a whole lot and I really feel proud and excited.
You've been in a position to win some big tournaments this year, but have yet to take one down. Does this one get the monkey off your back?
You play to win and I have been in a position to win in some important tournaments this year. I did win that one heads up tournament, but in the big field 10-handed tournaments I have had four really good opportunities to win and didn't cash in. So this feels really good. I wouldn't call it a monkey, but it feels wonderful and I just can't wait to share this with my friends and family.
It was really an all-star field in this event, it must have been tough to weed through?
It was a tough one to take down. They are all tough. Without a doubt the people that played at my table over these last three days were the hardest draws I've had in the whole World Series of Poker. It says something that I couldn't beat the weaker players, but do it against the stronger players.
There were a handful of players that I hadn't played with much before and I hold them in very high regard now. This tournament being six-handed that might bring that out. You can't just sit around and wait for a big hand; You have to play some poker and there were certainly some fantastic players in the tournament and that does make it sweeter.
Coming into the final table you were short stacked, but played aggressively, was that your plan coming in?
I started with $535,000 and the blinds were $20,000/$40,000 with a $5,000 ante. There was six of us so there was $90,000 dead every hand. Different people have different strategies, but I was the short stack and although some of the best players in the world have a more conservative strategy when they are the short stack, I'll be damned if I have $535,000 and 12 hands later and I've looked at J-2 a few hands and I have half of it left and I need to double up to only get to where I was. I was going to steal that dead money or someone was going to have to show me a hand that beat mine.
After you won a few pots someone did show you a better hand, but you still managed to survive. What we're you thinking there?
I did run into Russ "Dutch" Boyd's Jacks when I had A-7. Had I lost that I wouldn't have been out, but it would have been a big hand. I spiked the Ace. Note that he had a couple hundred thousand more than me at the start, but by the time it got to the hand, I had a couple hundred thousand more than him so I could have survived it. From that point on it became poker instead of just two card poker.
When you got heads-up with Alex Bolotin you did switch gears and get aggressive again and by the final hand you had built a lead. When he came over the top all in against your A-10 were you ever thinking you might fold?
I had a 3-1 chip lead and had I lost that we would have been almost identical. I don't know who would have been in the lead. I had been aggressively stealing a lot of hands and when I raised with the A-10 I told myself that if he shoved I was committed to calling.
I was thinking he would shove with a weaker hand than A-Q, obviously, or I would have played it a different way. But when he shoved I didn't just auto-call, I had to give it a look. Of course it was the most important call of my life, even though arguably I was wrong, I had put myself in a position where even if I lost I would have been even.
You are one of the nice guys in this game, surely you felt badly for him?
I hated for him to lose the tournament on that hand. He got his money in so good against me and he was the guy I wanted to see heads up from a personal standpoint. I wish it had been a weaker player from a selfish standpoint, but he is a quality player and I couldn't say anything nicer about him. I feel bad that he lost on that hand. But I would think in the end he'll feel a lot better about getting his money in good. If you get your money in bad and lose you do feel worse.
That made it so much sweeter. Gavin and Erick are two very good friends and for them to be there it made it easier to play, just seeing them over there. It was sweeter to share the moment and it will be sweeter to celebrate with them now.
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I have yet to meet a nicer winner than Bill Edler at the 2007 WSOP. He is well spoken, considerate, a true professional and an excellent representative of the game. Here's hoping this is the first of many big wins for a player who deserves everything he gets.