Tournament grinder pro Dylan Wilkerson defeated poker boom era golden boy Erick Lindgren heads-up Monday night for the WSOP Circuit Main Event title at Harrah’s in Cherokee, North Carolina, scooping his first career gold ring and $294,152.
For Lindgren, who has filed bankruptcy twice since Black Friday due to excessive gambling-related debts, a return to the winner’s circle will have to wait a bit longer. He hasn’t won a major event since the 2013 WSOP.
But he did pick up $181,864 for 2nd place, his first six-figure score since he finished 7th in the 2015 WSOP Millionaire Maker ($193,000). Although, he left Harrah’s on Monday frustrated by the final outcome.
Lindgren, considered one of the best players in the game a decade ago, began heads-up play in a 3-1 hole, but quickly recovered, showing off some of that old “E-Dog” magic and quickly took a commanding chip lead.
Wilkerson, no slouch himself on the felt with over $2.4 million in lifetime tournament winnings, went from a 6-1 chip disadvantage to a 2-1 chip leader after picking up a few smaller pots and then doubling up with a flush in a hand Lindgren had trip kings.
Erick went into the tank on the river after Wilkerson moved all-in, contemplating his decision. The former Full Tilt sponsored pro wasn’t happy with the river shove and, based on his reaction, he knew his opponent had the flush but, in the end, wasn’t able to lay down the hand.
Lindgren could sense the title slipping away and his frustration was showing. The final hand was a fitting way to put E-Dog out of his misery. He picked up pocket queens and got one final cooler as Wilkerson looked down at pocket kings.
With all the chips in the pot pre-flop, Lindgren let out more bit of frustration after seeing his opponent’s hand.
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” he said. “What a complete joke.”
The board ran out clean for Wilkerson.
My, How the Mighty Can Fall
It wasn’t long ago when Erick Lindgren was a popular player among poker fans and a feared pro online and in live tournaments and cash games. During the poker boom era, he was the man. But those days are over.
In 2012, the same year he entered a gambling rehab program, and 2015, Lindgren filed for bankruptcy, claiming he had just $50,000 in assets and over $10 million in debt despite having won $10 million in live tournaments.
He accumulated massive gambling debt from his sports betting habit, and owed the IRS $3.8 million, a debt that was excused in bankruptcy court.
During his time at Full Tilt, Erick’s account was mistakenly credited $2 million. When FTP executive Howard Lederer asked him to return the money the following week, he refused to return calls and text messages, according to Lederer.
After PokerStars took control of the now defunct FTP site in 2014, Amaya Inc (now The Stars Group) filed a $2.5 million lawsuit against Lindgren, which hasn’t ever been repaid to the public’s knowledge.
To make things even worse, immediately after finishing 7th in the 2015 WSOP Millionaire Maker, Erick was forced to file for bankruptcy for a second time to avoid having his $193,000 winnings shipped to a debt collector and to get other creditors off his back.
Lindgren has admitted his financial problems were partially caused by a gambling addiction. He simply cannot walk away from the casino even after all these years of lawsuits and bankruptcies.