Cheered on by his friends Gavin Smith and Erick Lindgren, Bill Edler went from worst to first to take the second largest winner's check at this year's WSOP at the $5k NLH 6-Max Event.
NLH 6-max is the online game of choice for many players, whether they are grinding it out at FullTilt or PokerStars. This event would have to be considered the worldwide championship of NLH 6-max, with 728 players forking over $5k each. With a $3,421,600 prize pool, no one wanted to be short of the cash.
Dutch Boyd surged to the chip lead at the end of Day 1 with 286k in chips. Phil Hellmuth, Mark Vos, and Joe Beevers were among six men with more than 200k in hot pursuit. Day 2 began with all seventy-eight players safely in the money. Some of the top players in poker cashed, including Tony Hachem (57th $7,185), Allen Cunningham (54th $8,212), Jamie Gold (44th $9,238), Phil Hellmuth (31st $13,344), Mark Vos (22nd $21,898), and Bill Gazes (20th $21,898).
Once they reached a final two tables of six players each, Alex Bolotin sat on a massive 1.9m in chips to Dutch Boyd's 940k and Erik Friberg's 630k. They redrew seats, and these three sat at the same table.
1s David Daneshgar (245k)
2s Thierry van den Berg (340k
3s Greg Pohler (524k)
4s Danny Noam (240k)
5s Gioi Luong (545k)
6s Bill Edler (375k)
1s Alex Bolotin (1.9m)
2s Raj Sawant (520k)
3s Dutch Boyd (940k)
4s Emil Patel (250k)
5s Tony G (330k)
6s Erik Friberg (630k)
Blinds were 15k/30k with a 4k ante. After Danny Noam (12th $34,558) and Raj Sawant ($34,558) left their table, play continued five-handed. Emil Patel raised with , and Tony G moved all-in with . Patel called, and Tony G looked primed to make a big run to the Final Table. looked even better but sent a shutter through the Lithuanian. brought the end for Tony G, out in 10th ($58,852). David Daneshgar shoved on the adjacent table with only to see Edler call with . Daneshgar didn't catch, and he was gone in 9th ($58,852).
Patel made a play with A-4o vs. Dutch Boyd's pocket tens, and Boyd stayed ahead to double up. Patel then ran his pocket nines into Bolotin's jacks, and Emil Patel sat out in 8th ($83,145). Down to seven, they redrew seats at a last table. It would be an adventurous time to get down to a final six.
1s Greg Pohler (315k)
2s Alex Bolotin (3.57m)
3s Gioi Luong (830k)
4s Bill Edler (620k)
5s Dutch Boyd (915k)
6s Erik Friberg (600k)
7s Thierry van den Berg (480k)
Friberg went on a mad rush of his own creation, all at the expense of massive chipleader Bolotin. First, Bolotin raised to 125k, and Friberg called. came on the board, and Friberg checked. Bolotin bet 200k, then Friberg moved all-in. Bolotin called, and Friberg must have felt he needed to get lucky with . He was way ahead, and Bolotin showed for a straight draw and one overcard. meant Friberg doubled up, then he moved all-in with , and Bolotin called with . Friberg stayed ahead and was up to 2.2m.
A few hands later, Friberg raised from the small blind, and van den Berg moved all-in with . Friberg instacalled with , and Thierry van den Berg was out in 7th ($83,145). Erik Friberg was the new chipleader in the blink of an eye, with Alex Bolotin the only other player over a million in chips.
1s Greg Pohler (655k)
2s Alex Bolotin (2.01m)
3s Gioi Luong (570k)
4s Bill Edler (535k)
5s Dutch Boyd (705k)
6s Erik Friberg (2.80m)
Before the button could make two full orbits, two players were gone. With $5k antes and blinds of 30k/60k, there were 120k in chips in the middle of the table. Bill Edler moved all-in three of the first five hands to take the blinds and antes. The aggression was contagious, and Luong moved all-in with . Bolotin called with the dominating , and Luong was out in 6th ($110,860). A few hands later, Bolotin raised only to watch Edler to move all-in again, taking the pot after Boltin folded.
He did it again, but this time Dutch Boyd called with . Edler showed , and the flop of looked good for Boyd. was a dagger, as he didn't have a club and was down to two jacks. came on the rive, and Dutch Boyd left very frustrated, out in 5th ($169,369).
Erik Friberg (3.0m)
Alex Bolotin (1.5m)
Bill Edler (1.2m)
Greg Pohler (790k)
Play slowed down considerably, but a new chip leader emerged after Friberg stubbed his toe. After getting above 1m in chips, Pohler raised and Friberg called. came on the flop, and Pohler led 500k into it. Friberg moved all-in, putting Pohler on two big cards with his . Pohler showed , and he doubled up to 2.5m to Friberg's 1.75m.
Edler then doubled through Pohler, his staying ahead of Pohler's . It was a revolving door of chips, as Friberg then doubled through Bolotin only to see Bolotin do the same to Pohler. Pohler then moved all-in with the computer hand, . Friberg had the advanced program for busting the computer hand, and his spiked an ace to finish off Greg Pohler (4th $232,669).
With blinds of 40k/80k with a 10k ante, chips were fairly evenly spread. Bolotin had 2.70m to Friberg's 2.50m and Edler's 1.95m. Edler stayed aggressive and gradually took the chip lead as he broached the 3m mark. Blinds moved up to 60k/120k with a 15k ante, and Friberg had moved down to 1.1m.
He moved all-in with , and Bolotin called with . It is one of those plays that works 90% of the time, but the naked ace was no good as gave Bolotin the flush. Erik Friberg was out in 3rd ($345,582). Edler had 3.7m to Bolotin's 3.5m, so the bracelet was there for the taking for either man.
In a limped pot, the flop came . Edler bet 270k, and Bolotin called. came on the turn, and both players checked. brought a 450k bet into the 810k pot, and Bolotin called. Edler showed for the full house on the turn, and he stacked his 4.7m in chips. He kept up the aggression and held a 5.3m to 1.9m chip advantage.
Edler raised, then Bolotin moved all-in with . Edler held and must have sniffed out the strong hand as he thought for several minutes before calling. Edler was behind, but shoved him into the lead. He dodged , and it was over.
Alex Bolotin's runner-up finish for $504,686 was almost seven times as much as he won for his fifth place finish in the $2.5k version of this event last year.
It was Bill Edler's anniversary, and it was the end of a six-month span that witnessed his ascension into the upper tier of tournament pros. He won $140k in two Borgata events in January, then in February beat Barry Greenstein to win the $10k Heads-Up Championship in Compton for $215k. Add a 7th place at the WPT LA Poker Classic for $189k then a 6th place at the WPT Bay 101 for $160k, and it was easy to see this was coming. His $904,672 for this bracelet is the second largest paycheck for winning an event after Freddy Deeb's HORSE title. Bill Edler has truly arrived. (photos courtesy of PokerNews, ImageMaster)