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Bill Edler Wins His First Bracelet

Edler Wins $5,000 Short Handed No-Limit Event, Takes Home $904,672

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The $5,000 shorthanded no-limit hold'em event attracted a field 728 players this year, up from 507 in 2006. As loose-aggressive play becomes the favored style of many players, a shorthanded event caters to that approach. Play was fast all the way through the event and at the end of day one, only 77 players remained. Among them was defending champion and 2006 Player of the Year Jeff Madsen, as well as $2,500 shorthanded bracelet winner Dutch Boyd. Boyd held the chip lead going into day two and stayed near the top as the field was whittled away. Madsen got his money in with 10 10 against two players holding A-K and flopped a set, only to have one of them river a flush. Phil Hellmuth made the money yet again, but busted before the final table. When the night ended, only six players remained and the seat assignments were as follows:

Seat 1: Greg Pohler - $655,000
Seat 2: Alex Bolotin - $2,010,000
Seat 3: Gioi Luong - $570,000
Seat 4: Bill Edler - $535,000
Seat 5: Dutch Boyd - $705,000
Seat 6: Erik Friberg - $2,795,000

The dynamic created by the relative sizes of the players' chip stacks had a great effect on the action. Erik Friberg and Alex Bolotin started the final day above $2 million in chips, while the rest of the players were all below $1 million. That meant that the final table started with polarized stacks: Players were either deep or short. This dynamic, combined with the nature of shorthanded play, led to extremely fast action early. Bill Edler moved all in and took down the blinds on two of the first three hands, demonstrating the value of chipping up to win. The first two eliminations, Gioi Luong (sixth, $110,860) and Dutch Boyd (fifth, $169,269) were results of the shorter stacks taking risks in order to build their chips. Fourhanded play was lengthy and, through aggressive play, Greg Pohler and Bill Edler were able to build their stacks. Pohler was involved in a big pot in which he semibluffed against Bolotin's top pair, but was crippled when he didn't improve. He was eliminated minutes later in fourth place ($232,669).

As threehanded play began, the stacks looked as follows:

Alex Bolotin - $2,700,000
Erik Friberg - $2,500,000
Bill Edler - $1,950,000

Threehanded play did not see too many huge swings. Instead, chips were passed around the table, with small-to-medium sized pots commonly being taken down on the flop. Though each player won some these small pots, it seemed that Edler was picking up more than his fair share. Edler slowly but steadily applied aggression while in position and finally took the chip lead. Eventually the blinds reached $60,000-$120,000 with $15,000 antes. With $7.2 million in chips in play, the $210,000 of blinds and antes forced the action. Short stacked, Friberg pushed on the button and was called by Bolotin, who had Friberg's A 3 dominated with A 10. When Friberg failed to improve, he was sent to the rail in third place ($345,582).

That led to heads-up play in which Bill Edler and Alex Bolotin started with only a $200,000 difference in stacks. On the third hand, Edler raised from the button with 4 2 and Bolotin flat-called with A 9. The flop brought 7 4 2 and Bolotin checked. Edler bet $350,000 with his two pair. Bolotin called and the 2 hit the turn. Both players checked and the 5 fell on the river. After Bolotin checked Edler bet $450,000 and Bolotin called with ace high, only to find that Edler had made a full house on the turn. Edler raked in the $1.2 million pot and took the lead. Edler won the first six pots, and he took most of the next five through aggression. On the 12th hand, Edler raised to $360,000 from the button with A 10 and Bolotin instantly raised all in with A Q. Edler seemed to realize that Bolotin was strong, but with a 6-to-1 chip lead, Edler opted to call. He was in rough shape with a dominated ace, but the flop brought the 10 3 3 and he took a commanding lead. The 5 on the turn kept Edler in the lead and meant that he had to dodge only the three remaining queens to win the pot. He was able to do so when the 8 came on the river and Edler took down his first bracelet and first-place money of $904,672. Alex Bolotin took home $504,686 for his second-place finish.