The Rise and Fall of Erick 'E-Dog' Lindgren

There are few players who can compete with the highs and lows that Erick E-Dog Lindgren encountered during his poker career – WSOP bracelets, WPT titles and $10million in career earnings, but controversy, addiction, divorce and bankruptcy plaguing his life.

By: Andrew Burnett

Lindgren burst onto the poker scene in December of 2002 with a takedown of the Bellagio Five Diamond Classic $3k Main Event, a $228,192 score. His rise came at just the right time, the poker world ready to explode onto a massive stage the following year with Chris Moneymaker’s WSOP win.

The knock-on effect that saw Full Tilt Poker emerge would prove to be a mixed blessing for Lindgren, the All-American poker hero receiving $millions for his shares but already mired in a gambling debt problem.

A $2million line of credit saw early wins spiral into an avalanche of losses, Lindgren at one point losing close to $6million in one horrendous month.

A chunk of that was owed to legendary sportsbettor Haralabos Voulgaris, who would later state of Lindgren: “We all knew that he was pretty much a piece of shit when it came to settling gambling debts.”

Early wins of $500k and $1million in UltimateBet and partypoker MILLION live events were consumed by Lindgren’s sportsbetting addiction. He would land another eight 6-figure scores between 2004 and the start of 2007, but then came one of the quickest online poker debacles in history.

That loss rate – a whopping $19.06 per hand over almost 80k handsoutranks almost every recorded big loser the game has seen, although the $1.5million total might seem like pocket change compared to the online results of Guy Laliberte and Gus Hansen.

By the time 2011 came around, life was already tough for Lindgren – although he would later claim that he had made serious attempts to clear his debt.

“I took some hits and I was probably at my worst about $10 million in debt,” he explained to Bluff Magazine’s Lance Bradley in 2013. “Going in to Black Friday I think I had it down under $2 million,” but the annus horribilis that awaited would almost completely destroy him.

Black Friday struck, his $250,000 per month Full Tilt payments would stop, and further massive losses betting on the football season all added up to a ground zero for Lindgren.

As Voulgaris would state on 2plus2, “…as long as the Full Tilt money train was chugging along paying distributions, nobody wanted to speak up [about Lindgren’s debts]. Now that it’s pretty clear that FTP is done, and so are any prospects of Erick being able to pay anyone back.”

Those debts included the infamous ‘double payment’ from Chris Ferguson, the Full Tilt co-founder mistakenly sending Lindgren $2million twice by accident, Lindgren refusing to repay the erroneous half.

Even as his life crumbled, Lindgren continued to throw in huge results – a WSOP bracelet win worth $606,317 and a WPT runner-up spot for $650,275 in 2013, for example.

To add to his woes, 2014 saw a well-publicised divorce from his wife Erica - nee Schoenberg, a former pro volleyball player and model-turned blackjack pro who later fell in love with poker and Lindgren.

Despite multiple bankruptcies revolving around FTP debts of $2.5million taken on board by PokerStars, and $3.8million owed to the IRS, as well as his almost uncountable gambling debts, Lindgren still found the bankroll to play poker.

The cashes would become smaller and much less frequent, though, only one six-figure cash since the summer of 2015 – a $181,864 second place finish at the WSOP Circuit Cherokee Main Event last year, 2018.

His most recent cash, a paltry $2,005 for 41st place in a WPT Legends of Poker side-event last August shows just how far Lindgren has fallen from grace.

If we could write a happy ending to Lindgren’s career, it would be for him to recover fully from his addictions, repay all his debts and find happiness. Unfortunately, this is Vegas, not Hollywood - but we can still hope.


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