The term "best player without a bracelet" is a bit overused these days, but it certainly applied to Erick Lindgren - until tonight.
E-dog crushed a final table full of some of the biggest names in the game to take down the $5,000 Mixed Hold'em event this evening, and was all smiles when they handed him his first piece of World Series jewelry. Moments after the win the Team Full Tilt pro sat down with PL.com to tell us how it felt to finally get in the World Series winner's circle.
So Erick, this must feel like a huge monkey off your back?
There's no doubt. It's an old cliché "monkey off your back," but that's fine. It really did, and I didn't even know it was there. I didn't really feel it that much, but when I finally won and I put that bracelet on ... there's a lot of history in this bracelet and that meant a lot.
How about the competition in this event and especially that final table?
Yeah, things aren't what they used to be around here [laughs]. These guys are really good. It was tough. I was lucky to have Limit [Hold'em] involved I think. That was really my strength and really my key to winning tonight.
Coming into the event and this final table, did you key in on playing Limit thinking that was where your edge was against everybody else?
It just depends on who you are playing against. But once Howard Lederer went out and Pat Pezzin, who is a fantastic Limit player ... these other guys, their strength is No-Limit. So it was time to accelerate the Limit, play more hands and I just really knew where I was in every hand I felt.
It certainly seemed that way as you just steamrolled over Justin Bonomo in the heads-up match playing Limit?
Yeah, well it's hard if you don't make something and the other guy is betting. Justin is a great player and he'll have his time.
In one big hand that really seemed to turn the tide, you both had two pair and your A-Q was best ...
Yeah, and I probably missed a bet there. I tried not to berate myself too much for not reraising on the end there. I just wanted to keep focused on the task at hand; that's all you can do.
Was it in your mind during play that you were so close to actually winning the bracelet, and did that make you tighten up a little?
Yeah, I was nervous. I thought I would blow it again. I definitely flashed back [to 2006]. I got off to a great start against Jeff Madsen [in 2006] and I thought I really had him on the ropes and at that time I played a big coin flip. So to be honest, here, I just wanted to get to the Limit section where you can't have that coin flip and I think I can outplay him a little.
Well there's just so much history at the World Series. These other events like the WPT and EPT, they're building a lot of credibility too and in fact they're worth more money than I won here today. But the history means a lot. Especially with Chip Reese passing, this is a really important World Series for me because he was my hero. If I can do well and 30 years down the line I can have a career that Chip would be proud of, I can be proud of myself.
Just one more question Erick, since you run so good: Lakers or Celtics?
Yeah, Lakers in four. Howard and I have a bet on the finals in the first game, but he won't give me any series action - The Nitty Professor.
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Lindgren is all class and you would be hard-pressed to find anyone in the game of poker who doesn't think he deserves this win. With another 46 bracelets to be handed out this summer and a whole lifetime ahead for E-dog, it might be just as tough finding someone to bet this isn't the first of many.