Chip and a Chair Comebacks
Down in Biloxi, Mississippi, at the Gulf Coast Poker Championship, Bill Edler had one foot out the door with 17 players left, as his chip stack consisted of 2 measly $1,000 chips. The blinds were $4000-$8000, and there was an ante of $1000. After posting his ante and using his last $1,000 chip for the big blind, Bill Edler was forced all-in. He survived that all-in and many more all-ins in quick succession to build a respectable chip stack.
Heading into the six-person final table, the chip stacks were “Captain” Tom Franklin with $1,040,000, Bill Davidson with $1,011,000, Bill Edler with $1,005,00, Hank Sitton with $846,000, David Robbins with $727,000, and Tim Frazin with $499,00. Tom Franklin, ran into trouble at the beginning of the final table and was eliminated four hands in. He lost nearly a quarter of his stack on the first hand and was busted three hands later when his pocket queens ran into David Robbins’s pocket aces. Robbins would very quickly eliminate the shortstack, Tom Frazin, bring the final table down to four.
Success is fickle in poker, and Robbins would soon face hard times. He doubled up John Davidson and Bill Edler in short order, Davidson’s pocket jacks cracking Robbins’s pocket queens, and Edler’s pocket sevens winning a race against Robbins’s hand of KJ offsuit.
John Davidson’s stack would soon be decimated, as Bill Edler would hit a flush draw to take most of Davidson’s chips. Davidson would throw his remaining $35,000 into the pot with Edler and Robbins both calling. The two players checked it down and Edler’s pocket fours knocked Davidson out of the tournament. And then there were three.
Hank Sitton, who had kept his own existence at the final table a secret, made his move, going all in with pocket fours against Edler’s A8 offsuit. Hank Sitton would win the race and temporarily take the chip lead. The action quieted down, until Hank Sitton, who had lost his chip lead in the intervening hands, went all-in against David Robbins with A7 after a flop of AKJ rainbow. Robbins turned over A9, with a kicker advantage. However, Sitton could still win the hand with a 7 and would split the pot if anything higher than a nine appeared on the board. A split pot appeared likely, but a 4 on the turn and a 2 on the river spelled Sitton’s doom. Heads-Up play could now commence between David Robbins and Bill Edler.
David Robbins held the chip lead, but it was Bill Edler who made the moves at the final table, playing very aggressive and taking down a lot of pots preflop. Edler inched closer to Robbins, but in the second to last hand Edler annihilated most of Robbins’s stack. In this hand the flop came A102 and both players checked to see the 6 on the turn. Edler bet, Robbins raised all-in, and Edler called the bet to go all-in. Edler turned over A10 to Robbins’s A7, which was drawing dead. A 10 came on the river to give Edler an unnecessary full house. In the final hand, Robbins pushed his remaining $230,000 into the pot blind, and Edler called. Edler had A9 and Robbins had Q7. No help came for Robbins, but a meaningless A came on the river to give Edler a pair. David Robbins was eliminated, and Bill Edler was the champion.
Bill Edler performed the greatest comeback since Jack “Treetop” Straus won the 1982 WSOP Main Event after believing he was eliminated, only to find a single poker chip under the rail. Because Straus had made a precise bet with the number of chips he saw in front of him, the single chip was still his. Straus’s one chip launched him to the title after a great series of wins.