I Ain't Superstitious: The Bill Edler Interview

After a 23rd-place finish in the Main Event and a WPT win two months later, the man known as "The Stunning One" has seen the pendulum swing the other way. I caught up with Edler this evening between levels and asked him about his run since last year and what the Main Event means to him.

We go back a long way, don't we?

Yeah, in relative terms -

Back to November 2005.

Yeah, I just started in July 2005, so you've known me since right when I was starting out.

In that time you've had two good years and one fantastic year.

It was a lot better than this year, in fact.

The Champ!
Edler's WPT win in September was his last big score.

That's what I wanted to ask you about. You're a pretty even-keeled guy, and you always seem to take your beats and your wins about the same - at least on the outside. So what's been going through your head while things haven't been going your way this year, after winning a bracelet and going deep in the Main Event last year?

Well, sadly I feel like I'm getting what I deserve. I know I'm playing poorly. I'm just often zigging when I should be zagging. I can't remember the last time I bluffed and wasn't called, and it seems like every time I have a hand and bet, everyone scurries. I don't know.

I'm doing a lot of things wrong, I know it, and of course I couldn't be fighting any harder to change things around. But it's tough. You can't complain if you're not digging a ditch for a living [laughs] - for me to complain would be obscene - but it isn't easy emotionally to lose and lose and lose, and that's what I've been doing.

No complaints when you win a bracelet.

So how much do you -

You're taller than I remember.

Maybe you're just slouching. Maybe that's it. [laughs]


How much of you running bluffs into hands has to do with the "I saw this guy on TV" factor? There sometimes seems to be a certain amount of that when people don't have a lot of success after a big year.

I don't know about that. It's not like I'm out there bluffing all the time. That's only half the equation - I'm not getting paid off on my good hands either. If what you were saying were true, I'd probably get really paid off. So, I think it's just my horrible play. If it were only half the equation I could agree with you.

So what do you do to change that play, then?

[deadpan] Pray.

How do you get past it? Or is just a matter of time? Do you have to step back from the game at all? There are so many things people say that you should do when you're running bad ...

Well, I have none of that superstition stuff. I haven't played as much, because I know I'm not playing well. Maybe to keep fresher. I don't know, it's a fine line sometimes between playing well and playing poorly. So I don't feel like I'm drawing dead even though I haven't had any results.

Looking back at last year when you were having those results, you made a big run in the 2007 WSOP Main Event. What was that like?

Bill Edler, Robert Varkonyi
If Varkonyi can do it, Edler can too!

That was the low point of my poker career. That tournament, I had a real chance to win. I mean, I'm sure I probably ran better than average, but I was pretty happy with the way I played until my final day.

When we broke we had 110, 120 people, and I was pretty happy. But that next day I did everything wrong and I was lucky to even finish 23rd. I'll never forgive myself for that. I could win the Main Event and still feel like I should have won two.

The Main Event to me - and a lot of people don't feel this way - but to me, the Main Event is everything. It's like all four golf majors rolled into one. The $50,000 H.O.R.S.E., the WPT Championship - to me, they're just so far below the Main Event in my heart.

But the Main Event - emotionally, I would just kill to win it, not even for all the financial stuff. And I had a good chance, and hopefully someday I'll have another chance and do better. To me that will always be the low point of my professional career, blowing it last year.

Well Bill, I know a lot of us in the media will be pulling for you.

That's because I owe so many of you so much money. [laughs] I'm good for it, I promise!

Thanks for taking the time to talk with me, and good luck in there.

Thanks, Jason.

* * * * * * * * * * *

It's a rare thing in poker to come across a player who will place the blame for his bad run on his own play. Bill Edler does just that, and it's testament to his character and dedication that he does so. We don't know when Edler's poor form will end but we will be pulling for it to happen sooner rather than later.

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