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Poker News | People in Poker | Poker Superstars

Where Are They Now – Bill Edler

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Where are They Now is a series of an in depth look at all poker players - not just the pros - as they travel through one long game. Some of the players profiled are deceased but not forgotten.

While writing the “Where Are They Now” series, I have enjoyed writing about all the different types of personalities that make up a successful poker player.  Predictably, most of the poker players that have found success in the mainstream are also the loudest.  It’s no secret that boisterous personalities create headlines in any type of media from Hollywood, to sports, to even poker.  It explains why my grandmother knew who Phil Hellmuth was without ever sitting down at a poker table in her life.  While I enjoy those types of personalities, as I feel there is a place for them in the game, I have enjoyed writing about the players who go about their work in a silent but proficient way.  There are a handful of players I have written about that have won more money than the majority of people who have ever sat at a tournament table, but a mainstream poker fan wouldn’t be able to pick them out of a line-up.  Bill Edler has quietly become one of  the best tournament players nobody has ever heard of, or would recognize for that matter, but that doesn’t make the value of the money he’s been winning the last few years any less valuable.

William Edler was born in Evanston, Illinois on February 11, 1964.  The rural city of Evanston wasn’t exactly a hot bed of poker activity so Edler wouldn’t get to know about the game of poker until he was a young adult.  Instead, as a youngster Edler concentrated on his education.  In high school he became interested in law, and thought it was something he would want to make into a career.  Edler excelled in school, and was accepted to The University of California-Berkeley, one of the premier law schools in the country.  Edler continued to excel in college, graduating with his law degree, but it was in between school and studying to pass the bar exam that his career path would change drastically.

Before he began studying for his bar exam he got a job at Pacific Bell, a telephone company in San Francisco, not too far from where he had completed his education.  One night after work he attended a birthday party for one of his acquaintances, and at the party was Lee Jones.  Jones of course would go on to become the poker room manager of PokerStars, helping it become the most used online poker room in the world, and is currently the poker room manager of Cake Poker.  In the mid 80’s however, he was just a guy who liked poker.  Edler’s attention turned to Jones for one reason or another, and before he knew it he had separated himself from the birthday party and was listening to everything Jones had to say about poker.  Edler was completely clueless about poker, as he has said he had no idea the game was even legal in California.  By the end of the conversation with Jones, he had already made plans to go to one of the local casinos to try his luck at the game.

It wasn’t long before Edler had totally engrossed himself into poker, becoming a regular at the Casino San Pablo, in San Francisco.  Edler would in fact never even start the process of studying for his bar exam, feeling he had found his true calling in poker.  Edler spent so much time at the casino he was offered the job as a prop player in the low-limit cash games, which he accepted.  Over the course of a couple of years Edler continued to work on his game, while progressing up the ladder at the casino, eventually becoming poker room manager.  It was during his work as a poker manager that he hired one of his friends as a prop player.  His name was Erick Lindgren.  To this day Edler and Lindgren remain good friends.

For the next couple of decades Edler concentrated on his cash game, only occasionally playing in tournaments.  Edler routinely traveled from California to Las Vegas, eventually relocated to Las Vegas, where he continues to live today with his wife and two children.  Through the beginning of the current decade Edler became a regular at some of the biggest cash games in Vegas, and a lot of the regulars, who he was also friends with, such as Lindgren and Gavin Smith, told him he should start playing in the tournaments, as they thought he would be able to handle his own.  As it turns out he’s been able to do more than just handle his own; in many instances, he has been able to handle everyone else in the tournament.

Edler became a regular on the poker circuit in 2005, and hasn’t looked back.  In his first WSOP he cashed in two tournaments, finishing 12th and 23rd in a pair of tournaments, but that was only the month of June, and the rest of the year would go much better for him.  Following the WSOP he won the $3,000 No Limit Hold’em Ultimate Poker Challenge for $61,110 on July 14th.  Just five days later he won his second career tournament, winning $32,010 at the $2,500 Ultimate Poker Challenge event.  In October of that year he placed in his first World Poker Tour tournament, finishing 34th in the Bellagio Fiesta Al Lago IV $10,000 championship event.  That same month he made the final table of a $10,000 No Limit Hold’em WSOP circuit event, finishing 6th for $72,000.  In November of that year he made yet another final table, finishing 3rd at another Ultimate Poker Challenge event, winning $58,685.  Not bad for your first year of tournament poker.

His 2006 was good, cashing in an additional two WSOP events, but his 2007 was one of the better years for a tournament player in recent memory.  Edler won three major tournaments that year, starting with the $10,000 Buy-In First Annual No Limit Hold’em Heads Up Championship in February, defeating 63 others to claim the top prize of $215,000.  In the finals he defeated Barry Greenstein 2-0 in a best of three series.  At that year’s WSOP he won his first bracelet, winning a career high $904,672, by outlasting all competitors in the $5,000 No Limit Hold’em Six-Handed Event.  He followed that performance by winning a World Poker Tour championship at the $9,700 No Limit Championship at the Gulf Coast Championship, adding an additional $747,615.

Edler is a family man first, routinely taking time off from his tournament schedule to go on long vacations with his wife and children.  Even at the poker table he keeps his family close by.  When contemplating calling the final hand in his 2007 WSOP victory he thought for a while, rubbing his wedding ring for a few minutes, saying he was thinking of his wife the whole time.  He called holding A-10 against Alex Bolotin’s A-Q, but the flop brought a ten and held up.  That wasn’t the only time his wife was with him.  Once while competing in a prop bet with fellow poker players, he found himself way down in a game of Wii bowling with only a few frames left.  He asked if his wife could step in for him, and she proceeded to roll strikes the remainder of the game, saving her husband “a considerable amount of money.”

For his career, Edler has won nearly $3,500,000 in tournaments, with nearly $1,500,000 of it coming from the WSOP.  Edler is also a Full Tilt Poker Pro.

*Read Billy Monroe’s Blog*

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