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July 28, 2014

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Erick Lindgren out to maximize first deep run in World Series of Poker Main Event

Main Event will play down to 27 players, three tables, during Monday’s Day 7

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Steve Marcus

Poker professional Erick Lindgren competes during Day 2B of the World Series of Poker main event at the Rio Tuesday, July 12, 2011.

Notable End of Day 6 Approximate Chip Counts

  • Players Left: 57
  • Average Chips: 3,613,518
  • Chip Leader: 12,865,000 (Ryan Lenaghan)
  • Ben Lamb — 9,980,000
  • Phil Collins — 7,240,000
  • Bryan Devonshire — 5,970,000
  • J.P. Kelly — 3,750,000
  • Sam Barnhart — 3,145,000
  • David Sands — 2,765,000
  • Tony Hachem — 2,250,000
  • Erick Lindgren — 2,195,000
  • Erika Moutinho — 2,075,000
  • David Bach — 1,985,000

Notable End of Day 6 Eliminations And Payouts

  • Jean-Robert Bellande (65th) — $108,412
  • Allen Cunningham (69th) — $108,412
  • Daryl Jace (89th) — $76,146
  • Sorel Mizzi (95th) — $64,531
  • Eli Elezra (107th) — $54,851
  • Joseph Cheong (114th) — $54,851

Like one of the world’s top golfers never making the cut at The Masters, the fact that Erick Lindgren had never cashed in the World Series of Poker Main Event before this year was inexplicable.

A banner with a picture of Lindgren graces the hallway at the Rio for when he won the 2008 WSOP Player of the Year. He’s included in the top 25 on the all-time poker tournament earnings list, but could never break through in the game’s world championship.

Lindgren, a 35-year old who lives in Las Vegas, is making up for lost opportunities at the 2011 Main Event. At the end of the sixth day of play Sunday, Lindgren was the most notable player remaining. He has nearly 2.2 million chips, placing him 38th out of 57, and is guaranteed at least $130,997.

“I’ve always struggled in this event,” Lindgren said. “One of the things is I’m typically very fatigued going into the Main Event because I play a bunch of events the whole way for 40 days before. Everyone else comes in fresh and excited to play.”

But Lindgren is as sharp as ever this year. He showed as much with his play Sunday.

He started the day with only 350,000 chips, one of the 10 shortest stacks in the room, but doubled-up multiple times by picking his spots carefully and never risking all of his chips in an unfavorable situation.

“I’m winning my all-ins this year,” Lindgren said. “That’s the biggest difference.”

Lindgren’s final double-up of the night illustrated how well he’s sensing the situations he’s in. Lindgren had Ace-9 and strongly believed his opponent, Konstantinos Mamaliadis, held a medium-strength pocket pair.

The flop came down 2-9-10 with two hearts, giving Lindgren a pair of 9s and a hand he believed was ahead of Mamaliadis’ range. With both a possible four-card straight and flush showing, Lindgren thought if he waited long enough before announcing “all-in” it would look like he was on a draw and induce a call.

Lindgren followed through with the plan and Mamaliadis called with pocket 6s. The bump put Lindgren right at average in chips.

Although he dropped some of those chips by the end of the night, Lindgren still can’t complain with his positioning in the tournament.

“I’ve never been past Day 3 in this thing, so my nerves are up,” Lindgren said. “Being at the feature table and being in a lot of weird hands, it was a roller coaster.”

Click to enlarge photo

Play continues at the featured table during the 2011 World Series of Poker Friday, July 15, 2011.

Lindgren — along with current WSOP Player of the Year leader Ben Lamb and boyfriend/girlfriend combination David Sands and Erika Moutinho — starred on the slightly tape-delayed ESPN2 featured table during Sunday’s nightcap.

The network moved him there after 26-year old Phil Collins stole the daytime portion of the broadcast. Collins started the day with around 4 million chips and worked his way up to 10 million in the opening four hours by knocking out five players.

“I had Aces three times,” Collins said. “I’ve run really, really well.”

It was a key moment in the tournament, but one that no one outside of the Rio would have ever seen live before this year. The same-day coverage with hole cards of the Main Event has drawn applause from most of the poker community, but Lindgren still has his doubts if it’s a positive for the game.

“I like it in a contained environment, but I don’t like it in an open tournament like this,” Lindgren said. “I think it’s really poor in this. I think the future of poker is live, but I don’t know if in a 7,000-person field it should be live. There’s a lot of craziness or bad that can happen.”

Nonetheless, Lindgren rushed home after Day 6 to watch the broadcast. He said he considered it “studying tape” on his opponents for tomorrow.

Lindgren knows how difficult it is to get this deep into the Main Event, so he’s not going to allow it to pass him by.

“I’m loving every minute of it,” he said.

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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