Previously known as “Boom”, Bet Raise Fold: The Story of Online Poker, the long awaited online poker documentary, finally has a release date: June 2013. Online poker legends Jason ‘Krantz’ Rosenkrantz and Taylor Caby joined forces with director Ryan Firbo, who previously directed “From Busto to Robusto”, to tell the story of the online poker boom starting from Moneymaker´s $2.5 million win in the World Series of Poker Main Event 2003 to “Black Friday” in April 2011 when the US Department of Justice shut down online poker in America.
The production started in 2010, before the Black Friday, and was funded fully by online high stakes poker players. The story appears to revolve around 3 main characters; Tony “Bond18” Dunst, Danielle “dmoongirl” Moon-Andersen and Martin “Alexeimartov” Bradstreet. All characters represent a different profile; Tony Dust poker player turned into TV celebrity, Danielle Moon-Andersen humble and responsible mother, playing to support her family and finally the analytical strategist Martin Bradstreet. Besides the main characters, interviewees from a wide spectrum of professions in poker share their two cents as well. Online poker legends Tom “durrrr” Dwan and Phil “OMGClayAiken”, WPT President Adam Pliska, professional poker player Daniel Negreanu and online gaming lawyer Stuart Hoegner just to name a few.
Now the post production is done, the biggest obstacle facing the documentary crew seems to be the distribution strategy. “We are really inspired by the success of Indie Game: The Movie’s “nontraditional” distribution strategy. They wrote a case study that’s really interesting reading; we’re intending on following their playbook as much as we can, but adapted for the poker world rather than the video game world.” Says Jason Rosenkrantz in a twoplustwo forum post. However Indie Game: The Movie first appeared in festivals, then in theatres and only then it was digitally launched while it seems like Bet Raise Fold: The Story of Online Poker will be launched digitally first and then will try its chance in theatres.
It is a good project to tell the rest of the world that online poker is not only about young kids winning easy money and driving expensive cars and ordering bottles of champagne but it is also about teenagers paying for their college tuition, mothers supporting their families, young entrepreneurs having the money finally to turn their dream project to reality. It is, of course, if the documentary can reach the rest of the world. If not, unfortunately it will fall under the category of “Self-propaganda”.