PokerListings.com is the world's largest and most trusted online poker guide, offering the best online poker bonus deals guaranteed, over $1m in exclusive freerolls every year and the most free poker content available on the Web.
Danielle Andersen has been playing poker professionally for almost a decade and rose to prominence when she was named the most profitable female player on Full Tilt Poker. Fast forward a few years and she had a film crew following her around as part of a documentary chronicling the explosion of online poker. It was during the filming of this project that Black Friday hit, cutting Andersen off from her livelihood and putting her family in jeopardy. That documentary became Bet Raise Fold, which premiered in Las Vegas earlier this month. Now Andersen is playing in the WSOP Main Event courtesy of Full Tilt Poker, the very site on which she originally cut her teeth. Andersen tells PokerListings.com about the wild ride and why she's optimistic about the future of the poker industry.
I got my start in poker when my boyfriend, who's now my husband, him and his friends were playing all the time, and I got tired of watching them, I joined in. We'd played really small stakes, and I just started winning a lot. And my husband wanted me to put money online and I thought that was a ridiculous idea, but he persisted, and eventually I put $50 into a poker site and I just built my way up from there. Just slowly went through the ranks until, eventually, I was playing 25, 50NL men on full tip poker before Black Friday.
I've been a professional poker player for about eight and half years, and for the last three years I've been participating in the "Bet Raise Fold" Project, and I've spent much of that time having a camera in my face as they followed me around through my endeavors as a poker player. You know, I was playing online poker for many years, kind of hiding behind the curtain so to speak. I didn't want to participate in that world, and I didn't want poker friends, because the only thing that's ever depicted is typically the bad stuff.
And now that I've kind of come out of my shell, and I've met some people, I've made some friends, I'm actually really proud of the poker community. I think that there's a lot of really good people doing some really good things. So I hope that, you know, my role in the film, that was one of my goals, is to kind of get that out there to the general public, so that they can see maybe a more positive, a different side of poker than they've otherwise been presented with.
Poker definitely has its ups and downs, its good things and bad things as far as being professional. I tell my friends, you know, "You guys go to work for 80 hours and you get a paycheck, I can go to work for 80 hours and I can play flawlessly, and I can lose." Thankfully, I've gotten better at that as I've gone through my career, and I think that I'm in a really good place mentally in dealing with the stress of poker. And on the flip side, the great thing about poker is that I have all the flexibility and freedom in the world.
You know, being a parent and having a little guy who's five years old, I don't have to miss his Christmas concerts, and I don't have to miss his doctor's appointments, and I can be there for all of life's important things that other working parents sometimes don't get the opportunity to be a part of. I have mixed feelings about my son growing up and playing poker. On one hand, I give all the thanks in the world to all the opportunities poker has given me, on the other hand, I also know how tough it is and how stressful it was coming up. And I've seen people who have tried to do the same thing I have, and who've failed. If my son really wanted to learn poker, I would support him, I would encourage him, but I would definitely try and give him direction to do it in a responsible way.
I think as a poker player, it's important to have a backup plan, in case something happens, something like Black Friday. I actually went back to school to get a nursing degree, just so that I'd have something. I just feel like it's important to finish your education, have something to fall back on. And I wanted to set a good example for my son in that way, that even though I'm playing poker, I still did it the responsible way. I went back, I got my degree, and I would hope that he would do the same if he was ever going to pursue this path.
It's a really good feeling to have Full Tilt back and under new management and to be a site that once again we can trust in, because I did spend most of my time on Full Tilt and I did feel loyal there. Even now, seeing the Full Tilt logo, it still instinctually brings a little bit of a gut-wrench feeling. But mentally, I know it's a completely different company and I see only good things in the future, and I'm excited that they're back. Hopefully, there will be a future of playing there.
I'm really excited about this main event, probably more so for this one than previous years that I've played. I think that, just there's all the ingredients for an awesome recipe, for the poker boom to come back and poker to explode. And I would love nothing more than to go deep this year and get some attention on Bet Raise Fold so that people sitting at home, who maybe don't know much about poker, can be exposed to it and see it.