Lindgren Redeems Himself With 2nd Bracelet in $5K Six-Max

Erick Lindgren overcame his sports betting problems to capture his second bracelet in the $5,000 No Limit Hold'em Six-Max event (Steve Schult Photo)

Erick Lindgren overcame his sports betting problems to capture his second bracelet in the $5,000 No Limit Hold’em Six-Max event (Steve Schult Photo)

For Erick Lindgren, winning his second career bracelet in the $5,000 No Limit Hold’em Six-Max event is worth more than the $606,317. This bracelet marks the beginning of a new chapter in the long time poker pro’s life.

After having a highly publicized sports betting problem, the 36 year-old former Team Full Tilt Pro had checked into a rehab center early in 2013 to work through his addiction to non-poker related gambling. He was unable to pay back several million in sports betting debt and was working on a backing arrangement in order to get back in action.

“I had to rebuild from the bottom,” said a teary-eyed Lindgren. “I was definitely at the top of the game and took some things for granted.”

Fast forward several months later and the California native captured his second career bracelet just a month after coming in second in the WPT World Championship for $700,000, bringing his total earnings over the last two months alone to over $1.3 million.

“It’s been crazy. Scrounging around in mid-May just hoping to play a bunch of events and now being able to play every day,” said Lindgren. “My goal is to win the WSOP Player of the Year every year. I want to win that and this puts me in a position to do that. Now maybe every time I play a cash game, it won’t feel like a tournament.”

While Lindgren has seen plenty of success on the felt, he acknowledges how his family has helped him change for the better.

“It’s been a long tough road without Erica [Schoenberg] by my side,” said Lindgren of his professional poker playing wife. “She’s my rock and the best mother and wife that I could have.”

“I’m so proud of him,” said Schoenberg. “I mean I just can’t even begin tel tell you what it’s been like. He’s my hero. He’s awesome.”

Ryan D’Angelo was the short stack coming into the final table and he was the first player to go. D’Angelo three-bet all in from from the small blind after Connor Drinan raised from the button. Drinan called and D’Angelo didn’t like the news he got. Drinan showed AK and was in good shape against D’Angelo’s KT. The board ran out AJ857.

After D’Angelos elimination, stacks remained relatively stagnant for 30 hands or so with the smallest stack having around 60 big blinds. Seemingly out of nowhere though, in two hands, Vasile Buboi‘s stack dropped suddenly and in two hands, he was bounced from the tournament.

Buboi three-bet Lindgren preflop, bet the flop and turn, but check-folded the river when Lindgren bet 225,000 into a pot of over 1.5 million chips on a board of K7225 to lose half of his stack. He got the last of his chips in the middle of the table the very next hand with AK against Drinan, who tabled pocket eights. The board ran out QJJ92 and Buboi was gone from the tournament in a flash.

Over two hours of play went by before the next elimination. During those two hours, Lee Markholt‘s stack went on a roller coaster ride while he and Drinan exchanged a few big pots. Drinan made runner-runner flush against Markholt’s top pair to leave Markholt with just 15 big blinds.

Even though Markholt was on the short stack, he stayed patient, picked his spots well, and got back into the thick of things by getting the best of Drinan in a few key pots. Drinan open shoved all in from the small blind into Markholt’s big blind. Markholt thought for a moment before committing the rest of his stack with A9 against Drinan’s K3. Markholt’s ace high turned into a straight on the river in order to score his first double up.

Markholt really crippled Drinan when he three-bet out of the small blind against Drinan’s button raise and called a four-bet shove. Markholt had Drinan in awful shape with his AA against Drinan’s QJ. Drinan was drawing dead on the turn when he couldn’t receive the slightest bit of help from the dealer. Drinan was down to 13 big blinds when he shoved all in from the button and was called by Jonathan Little. Little was in the lead with AJ and Drinan’s K8 needed help. The dealer couldn’t find any help for Drinan and Little made a flush on the river to deal the deal and eliminate Drinan in fourth place.

Three-handed play was the Lindgren show. He won most of the pots with or without showdown and got out to a big chip lead. He had approximately 5 million of the 7.8 million chips in play before he eliminated Little.

Little seemed to stay out of big confrontations at the final table, but with blinds at 25,000/50,000, Markholt raised to 100,000 on the button. Little quickly three-bet all in for 935,000 total. Lindgren was in the small blind and he moved all in over the top and Markholt tossed his cards in the muck. Lindgren was in good shape to heads-up with a massive chip lead when he showed his JJ against Little’s A5. The board ran out 7542K which eliminated Little and left Lindgren heads-up against Markholt with a better than 5-to-1 chip advantage.

It was the beginning of a battle between two “Old School” pros playing heads-up in a “New School” tournament format of hold’em. The early goings of the heads-up match made it seem like Lindgren was going to run away with the title and the first place money.

But momentum seemed to change when Lindgren called a raise from Markholt and the two saw a flop of T98 and all the money got in the middle when Lindgren check-raised all in with pocket kings and was called by Markholt’s J7. Lindgren was drawing dead on the turn and all of a sudden there seemed to be some momentum in Markholt’s corner.

After winning a few more pots, Markholt had gotten just about dead-even with Lindgren before Lindgren started to pull away again.

On a board of QT7TT, Markholt led out on the river for 380,000 and Lindgren moved all in. Markholt thought for some time before folding and Lindgren took another sizable chip lead.

“Nobody has ever Gavin Smith was unlucky,” said Lindgren about Smith making his appearance at the final table be known. “So when he came in mouthing off, I rivered quads about at the same time and I’m pretty sure that Lee folded top full house, which is what makes him Lee Markholt. I don’t think people understand how good of a player Lee is.”

Lindgren finished off the battle with a cold deck that went his way. Lindgren limped in on the button and after Markholt tapped the table, the two saw a flop of AJ9. Markholt led out, Lindgren raised, and Markholt moved all in for his last million in chips. Lindgren called quickly and tabled AA, giving him top set. Markholt turned over J9, giving him bottom two pair.

Markholt knew what kind of shape he was in and before the turn card was even dealt, he went to the other side of the table to shake hands with Lindgren and congratulate him on his win. As Markholt was walking over, the dealer burned and turned the 7 to officially give the tournament to Lindgren.

“I know that I’ve been knocking on the door and I know that if I keep doing it I was going to win,” said the man nicknamed E-Dog. “I knew that one of these times I was going to win and I just felt like it was this tournament.”

Here are a look at the final table results:

  1. Erick Lindgren – $606,317
  2. Lee Markholt – $374,960
  3. Jonathan Little – $238,833
  4. Connor Drinan – $157,274
  5. Vasile Buboi – $106,830
  6. Ryan D’Angelo – $74,768
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