The 46-year-old from Islington, who pulled off a stunning 18-17 win against Stephen Hendry 15 years ago to claim his only world title, again had to go through the qualifiers route to reach the finals, which get under way in Sheffield from Saturday.
In Ebdon's final qualification clash with fellow Englishman, Holt, on Wednesday he had to hold his nerve to progress through to Thursday's main championship draw on the final black.
Afterwards, Ebdon was delighted to qualify but admitted that he was nowhere near his best and felt Holt was probably more deserving of a place at the Crucible.
"I was really disappointed with the way I handled it," he said.
"I felt I let myself down. I just didn't handle it which is disappointing and Michael deserved to win. He was the better player.
"I genuinely feel gutted for him.
"I'm delighted but I must admit I feel a bit numb because I feel as if I let myself down."