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Poker News | People in Poker | Poker Superstars

Erick Lindgren – A Baller at and Away from the Table

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There is a lot of prop betting that goes on in the poker world these days. Some of the more famous prop bets include the day David Grey wagered that Howard Lederer wouldn’t break his vegan status to eat a cheeseburger, the time that Ted Forrest bet Mike Matusow that he couldn’t drop from his weight of 241 pounds down to his college weight of 181 pounds in a year, and the golf outing that saw Daniel Negreanu and Patrick Antonius playing for $20,000 a hole.

And while professional poker players may be pretty loose with their money when it comes to prop betting, it would be safe to say that not many of these players would want to put their money on the line in a game of basketball or football against fellow pro Erick Lindgren – Unless they didn’t want to hold onto it for that long anyways.

That’s because Erick Lindgren grew up with sports while he was a youngster in Burney, California. Eventually, his family moved to North Carolina and he spent many days on the gridiron and many nights in the gym during his childhood here. Erick’s skills in both football and basketball became increasingly better over the years and they naturally translated into his high school playing career.

Lindgren’s lifelong enthusiasm for basketball began to payoff big-time as he was the MVP of the conference his team played in. He didn’t do too badly in football either as he captured all-league honors as a quarterback. But it was his hoops game that Erick decided to try and take to the next level as he enrolled at Butte Junior College to pursue basketball more seriously.

Back out West now, Erick began discovering what a lot of successful high school players find out in that the college game is a totally different scene. And it was a scene that Lindgren wasn’t too fond of either as he found himself becoming more distant from basketball and attending his classes less and less as well.

The reason Erick wasn’t hitting the courts or sitting in his classroom desk as much anymore was because he was making money….as a Blackjack dealer. The casino he was working at in Casino San Pablo began to take a lot of his time but it wasn’t until he found poker that the casino and gambling environment would become his life.

It wouldn’t be long before Lindgren decided that he had no use for college any longer and he dropped out in the midst of his second year. Playing cards and dealing them was his new thing although the dealing part would soon be cut out too. Casino San Pablo management decided that Erick would best serve the casino as a prop player.

During his duties as a prop player, Lindgren would often go around to different poker tables trying to make sure that the games were kept going. He would earn an hourly wage but he also had to put his own money on the line in the games just like everyone else. It was during these sessions that Erick really honed his game as he not only got plenty of practice in at the tables, but also learned a lot about poker by watching and talking to regulars at the casino.

After logging enough hours and learning enough skills from other players, Lindgren decided to shed the shackles of being a prop player and go out on his own. He not only started out by playing at the local casinos but he also discovered online poker in 1998. Internet poker would be his bread winner for a while as he soon owned three different computers and would play up to eight games at one time.

He would take part in lots of $20/$40 Hold’em games and was more than happy to take advantage of how soft the rooms were in those days. Even now Lindgren speaks of how weak players were in the late 90’s and early 2000’s and has told the tale of how he once witnessed a person lose $10,000 in a two hour session just playing $20/$40.

But despite the easy money that came from dominating inferior online players, Lindgren began to long for something more challenging as many other great Internet poker players do. In 2000, he began entering some smaller tournaments around the California area and it wasn’t too long before he experienced his first major success.

Playing at the Bellagio Five Diamond Poker Classic Main Event in 2002, Lindgren was able to make his way through a field that included players like future WPT Champion Carlos Mortensen and make it to a heads-up battle with Prahlad Friedman. Amazingly, in his first big tournament, Lindgren took down Friedman and won the $228,192 prize for getting first place.

Erick didn’t wait long to strike again as he participated in the Aruba-hosted WPT $4,000 No Limit Hold’em Championship. Just 10 months after his Five Diamond Classic win, Lindgren took top honors in Aruba too and netted $500,000 for the win. This Aruba tournament, coupled with his previous big win, really got Lindgren’s name out in the poker world and attracted the attention of Full Tilt Poker. They then began pursuing Lindgren as a potential player they’d like to sponsor and it was now clear: Erick’s decision to drop out of college had been a good one!

But Lindgren was too busy thinking about winning tournaments to revel in his latest success. And he wouldn’t even wait 10 months for his next huge victory as it came less than half a year later at the Party Poker Million III. This is probably where Lindgren could really say he arrived as he had to survive a field that included many of the best professional poker players on the planet. Barry Greenstein, Scotty Nguyen, John Juanda, Howard Lederer, and his final heads-up opponent in Daniel Negreanu were just some of the people who were at the event. After besting this field, Lindgren would receive his biggest prize yet in $1,000,000 as the tournament name suggested.

It could now be conceived that Erick Lindgren was somewhat of an authority on the game of poker and book publisher Collins Living took note of this too as they struck a deal with him. In 2005, Lindgren’s book “World Poker Tour: Making the Final Table” hit the shelves and in it, Lindgren gave a lot of his own tips and advice for how to be successful at the game of poker.

After releasing his book, it was time to get back to the tournament trail and the success kept rolling for Lindgren as he won the PPT L.A. Poker Classic in 05’ which netted him $250,000. Then he provided a solid showing in 2006 at the WPT Borgata Winter Open where his 3rd place finish earned him $282,721. The Full Tilt Poker Pro Showdown saw Lindgren come out on top again and he won a nice chunk of change in $600,000.

This year also saw Lindgren make a major run at capturing his first WSOP bracelet in the $5,000 Short Handed No Limit Hold’em event. The tourney came down to him and Jeff Madsen at the final table. However, Lindgren would have to wait on his bracelet as Madsen was able to beat him and secure the win. Erick would have to settle for second place and the $357,435 consolation prize.

He would definitely be cheered up later at the Aussie Millions in 2007 though as he again won a major tournament. His big win made him $795,279 but it would be his last major victory for a while as he was again shut out of the gold bracelet club at the 2007 WSOP. And despite his decorated career as one of the best live tournament players in the world, this lack of a bracelet began to create talk about how Lindgren was the best tourney player in the world never to win a bracelet.

Things would all change at the 2008 WSOP though. And Lindgren wouldn’t have to wait either as good things happened for him right away in the $5,000 Limit/No Limit Hold’em event. He was able to outplay a final table consisting of Justin Bonomo, David Williams, Howard Lederer, and Roland de Wolfe to capture his first ever WSOP bracelet.

The good fortune for him continued as he made the final table of the $5,000 2-7 Draw Lowball event and again made a final table in the World Championship H.O.R.S.E. tournament. He would take 4th in the Draw Lowball event and 3rd in the H.O.R.S.E tourney which earned him $781,440. More importantly though, his three final table appearances and near final table miss in a $1,500 Limit Hold’em event propelled him to the 2008 WSOP Player of the Year honors.

It’s amazing how Lindgren went from being the star player who had never won a bracelet to finally winning one and being the top overall WSOP player in the same year. And given that he is still in his early thirties, it’s a safe bet to say that he’ll at least another bracelet before his poker career is over with. A lot safer bet than challenging him to a game of one-on-one basketball anyways.

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