Danielle Andersen and her son, Easton, are back in Minnesota this weekend, visiting Easton’s grandparents, other relatives and friends. They are also checking on Dixie, the horse that Danielle bought her mother, Lori, a few years ago.
Anyone who has happened across the documentary “Bet Raise Fold” (currently on Hulu) knows about Danielle’s gift of Dixie that fulfilled her mother’s lifelong wish to own and ride a horse.
Andersen is one of the main characters in the documentary on what became of online poker after what poker players call “Black Friday”: April 15, 2011, when the Department of Justice basically shut it down in this country.
Danielle comes from Lake Crystal, west of Mankato. The family name is Moon. She played basketball and softball in high school. Her husband, Kory Andersen, was a state heavyweight wrestling champion for St. James in 2002.
“This was a good time to come home for a while,” Danielle said Friday. “Easton’s not in school. Kory is involved in the start of football practice. And my work is dead right now. The season is over.”
Kory is the offensive line coach at Liberty High School, a perennial football power located in the Las Vegas suburb of Henderson, Nev. Easton is about to turn 10, and his mother gets him to school in the morning.
Then what happens?
“Most days, I go work out, and then I’ll go to a poker room and look for a table … usually Bellagio, maybe the Aria,” Danielle said. “Right now, you won’t find much more than a $5-$10 [no limit] game with a $1,500 buy-in.
“When the World Series ends, that’s the end of our ‘season.’ It starts up again later in the fall, when football heats up.”
The World Series of Poker ran from May 30 to July 17 this year at the Rio. There are 70-plus tournaments attached to the WSOP. The climactic main event — $10,000 buy-in, no-limit hold ’em — gets most of the attention.
The main portion of the main event ran from July 8 to July 17. There were 7,221 entries, playing down to a final table of nine. That was played out last weekend, with Scott Blumstein collecting $8.1 million as the winner.
Danielle busted out on July 14, a Friday night. She finished 402nd and collected $31,170. “You’re always looking to do better,” she said.
Andersen, now 33, went to Wisconsin-Eau Claire out of high school. Her boyfriend, Kory, went to Illinois State to play football.
“I missed him, so after a year I went to Illinois State,” Danielle said. “Chris Moneymaker had won the World Series, and that got a lot of young men interested in poker. Kory and his friends were playing regularly.
“I started playing, too. It didn’t take long and I was the best player. I had an instinct for it.”
Online poker had become a phenomenon after Moneymaker, the Everyman winner in the 2003 World Series. It was with Kory’s encouragement that Danielle deposited $50 into an online site.
“I was quickly down to $13,” she said. “I was $13 from never playing poker again. I rallied and won some money. We decided that if I could make $100 a week with online poker, it would really help our financial situation.”
She became “dmoongirl” in the online poker world (and now Twitter). The Andersens were married, Easton was born in 2007, and Kory pursued coaching and athletic training.
The family was living in New Ulm and Danielle was putting in her time daily to make a nice profit with online poker. She used Full Tilt, which along with PokerStars was one of the two big sites available to U.S. players at the time.
And then came April 15, 2011, and the DOJ’s actions against online poker. “Bet Raise Fold” tells that story — what online poker had been and what happened after the DOJ acted on Black Friday.
Danielle had most of her money held up with Full Tilt for a long while. She finally got it back, after PokerStars took over Full Tilt and assumed more than $300 million in debt.
In 2014, the Andersens moved to Las Vegas, where Kory landed a coveted coaching job with a prominent prep team, and Danielle became a working mom:
Hang out with Easton before school; greet Easton after school; and go to work in the middle of the day.
“It’s very normal, except that my job is playing poker,” Danielle said. “I’m almost always home for Easton after school … unless I wind up at a table where someone is really throwing his chips around.”
When that happens, Easton is well taken care of by trusted people.
And why not? Most every working parent encounters a little overtime at the job on occasion.