The documentary ended, and a year later, Danielle Andersen finally earned the sponsorship she worked so hard to attain.
And then it vanished.
But Andersen’s story finished with a happy ending, regardless.
“I feel very blessed and privileged to still be doing what I love,” she said.
Andersen, who was featured in the 2013 film “Bet, Raise, Fold” about online poker, is widely recognized as one of the top female professional cash-game players.
The 33-year-old valley resident was eliminated from the World Series of Poker Main Event on Friday night in 402nd place ($31,170).
The $10,000 buy-in No-limit Texas Hold ’em World Championship continues Saturday at the Rio Convention Center with Day 5.
Andersen learned to play poker from her then-boyfriend — now her husband — and his friends close to 14 years ago, and he convinced Andersen to deposit $50 online.
Under the screen name “dmoongirl,” Andersen soon became one of the top high-stakes players.
Andersen was discovered by the producers of “Bet, Raise, Fold” in an online poker forum, and the cameras followed her as she made a living before and after the government shutdown of online poker.
In early 2014, Andersen signed a sponsorship deal with Station Casino’s Ultimate Poker and moved her family from New Ulm, Minnesota. But the site ceased operations later that year after falling short of financial projections.
“Looking back now, I can say that ‘Black Friday’ was kind of a blessing in disguise, because I’m not sure that I actually would have had the courage to take the plunge,” Andersen said. “But both my husband and myself, we are just incredibly happy here. We feel like we’ve already found a home.”
Andersen, who also is a registered nurse, plays frequently at Bellagio, allowing her the freedom to spend time with 9-year-old son Easton.
Her husband, Kory, teaches at Liberty High and is the offensive line coach/run-game coordinator for the Patriots’ nationally ranked football team.
“Life is surprisingly normal,” Andersen said. “I didn’t realize it at the time, but looking back now I can see that I’m just not made to be in small-town Minnesota, and neither is my husband. I think that we both just feel so much more in our comfort zone here.”
Andersen, who had one previous WSOP cash in the 2013 Ladies Championship, was one of several women who made the money in the Main Event. Well-known pros Sofia Lovgren, Kathy Liebert and Liv Boeree were in the top 100 at the 8:30 p.m. dinner break.
Andersen had a wild ride Friday on Day 5, with her chip stack fluctuating between 250,000 and 600,000 until she was knocked out before the dinner break.
“This is actually the only tournament the entire year that I’ve played, and the only reason that I’m playing it is just because you get so many chips that it’s a little more geared toward cash-game players and some deep play,” she said. “It’s fun. It’s every poker player’s dream.”
Contact David Schoen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-5203. Follow @DavidSchoenLVRJ on Twitter.
Salas is chip leader
Argentine Damian Salas owned the unofficial chip lead at dinner break Friday during Day 5 of the World Series of Poker’s Main Event.
Salas won a massive pot against Canadian Dilovan Hussein and was the only player over 3 million chips when action at the Rio Convention Center paused at 8:34 p.m. with 364 competitors remaining.
Mickey Craft of Elizabeth, West Virginia, remained near the chip lead despite arriving approximately an hour late to the table at the start of the day.
The talkative Craft has been the most exciting player thus far, winning pots with a wide range of starting hands.
Also in the top 20 are Belgian Kenny Hallaert and Michael Ruane of Hoboken, New Jersey, each of whom reached the final table of last year’s Main Event.