Erick Lindgren entered the 2008 World Series of Poker at the top of everybody’s list. Unfortunately, the list was “best player to never win a WSOP bracelet”. But Lindgren slayed that dragon, cashed a total five times and did so while attempting to do right by the player he most looked up to, Chip Reese.
Lindgren did exactly that winning the Milwaukee’s Best Light WSOP Player-of-the-Year award and he did it in a year that all the game’s best were playing more tournaments and winning more bracelets.
“Everybody was here playing tournaments, so I would say Player-of-the-Year this year, meant more than it has in the past,“ said Lindgren, referencing side-bets that a number of top players had with each other which, in turn, made the fields tougher. “For sure I’m very proud of it.”
The 2008 WSOP started in the best possible way for the man known as “E-Dog”. Outlasting a field of 332, Lindgren defeated Justin Bonomo heads-up in Event #4 ($5,000 Mixed Hold’em) to capture $374,505 and his first WSOP bracelet.
“Before the (WSOP) started, I said to myself that I was going to give it everything I had this year,” said Lindgren the night of his bracelet win. “I don’t know how to describe it; it was certainly an emotional moment. I even started to tear up a bit. I didn’t think I had the waterworks in me.”
With the proverbial monkey off of his back, Lindgren went back to work feeling no pressure to perform. The results speak for themselves. Again showing his prowess in Limit Hold’em, he finished 10th in Event #12 ($1,500 Limit Hold’em). He then made his second final table of the Series with a fourth place finish in Event #18 ($5,000 No Limit 2-7 Draw w/rebuys).
Then, in what was at the time the toughest field of the 2008 WSOP, he came in 18th in Event #25 ($10,000 No Limit Heads-Up). But that result paled in comparison to the event that meant the most to Lindgren outside of the Main Event.
“The whole time I’ll be thinking about Chip and what he would have done, which is patience. He was very patient and I’m going to play every hand and every street as well as I can,” Lindgren said before the start of Event #45 ($50,000 H.O.R.S.E.), which the winner of would receive the Chip Reese Trophy. “Chip was really someone I looked up to and respected a lot. It would be great to win that trophy.”
In the end it was Scotty Nguyen’s name that was engraved on the trophy, but Lindgren’s third place finish added another $781,440 to his bankroll, but it also clinched him the Player-of-the-Year award. And while his goal of winning the event often referred to as the “Player’s Championship” fell short, he took some pride in knowing he had clinched another prestigious award in the process.
“I hope that would make Chip proud and like I said he’s been my hero since I got into poker,” said Lindgren. “I can’t be Chip Reese, but if I can take what he brought to the game and I can incorporate that into my game, the temperament and stuff, then that’s great.”