Erica Schoenberg

Erica Schoenberg: How a Blackjack Genius Became a Poker Pro

Erica Schoenberg Lindgren is an American professional poker and blackjack player as well as a former model, beach volleyball player, and personal trainer.

The 41-year-old Schoenberg has competed in both the World Series of Blackjack (WSOB) and the World Series of Poker (WSOP) in addition to the Ultimate Blackjack Tour and World Poker Tour (WPT).

Early life

Erica Schoenberg was born in Akron, OH and attended Fredericktown High School. Following high school, she attended college and graduated with a degree in theater.

One can say gambling is in Schoenberg’s DNA. Not only did her parents meet at Santa Anita racetrack in Los Angeles, CA, but they also played cards. Always quite adept with numbers, after she learned how to handicap horses—and would frequently use her allowance money to have her father bet small sums for her—she “graduated” to blackjack. Schoenberg was a former member of the MIT blackjack team—fictionalized in the film 21—and from which she spring-boarded into poker.

In 2005, Schoenberg was invited to participate in the World Series of Blackjack, ultimately finishing second and earning her the nickname of “Blackjack Babe.” After her team disbanded, Schoenberg found poker.

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Erica Schoenberg’s poker origins

Schoenberg actually debuted her poker and personal “goods” in 2005 on the pay-per-view broadcast Strip Poker Invitational, hosted by Carmen Electra. A DVD was issued following the end of the series.

Her first nationally televised poker appearance was on the Game Show Network (GSN) program Poker Royale: Young Bloods where she competed with David Williams, Michael Sandberg, and Michael Mizrachi, to name a few. Schoenberg admits she was not very good, but her experiences led to achieve some success online. In 2006, she won a seat to the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. Even though she did not cash, this fueled her desire to keep playing poker.

Erica Schoenberg began receiving acclaim in the poker world when she placed 16th in the Fourth Annual Five-Star World Poker Classic $25,000 WPT NLH Championship in Las Vegas in April, 2006, winning $117,165.

This early success—coupled with her looks and natural talent—earned her sponsorship opportunities with Mansion Poker and then Full Tilt, as well as an invitation to play in the WPT Ladies Night Out tournament in August 2006, at Los Angeles’ famed Bicycle Casino. Here, Schoenberg finished fourth in this 6-max, all-ladies tournament that offered a first-place prize of just $25,000.

2007 would become a turning point in Schoenberg’s poker career. Her first major victory was in the $2,500 NLH Mandalay Bay Poker Championship in May 2007, where she outlasted a field of 118 and earned $105,875. Then, in June 2007, she finished third in the 2007 WSOP $1,500 NLH event behind Canadian Robert Cheung and American Richard Murnick, winning her best live cash award of $261,646.

In February, 2008, Schoenberg finished second in the second WPT Ladies Event behind Vanessa Selbst, winning nearly $15,000 for her efforts.

Schoenberg’s total live tournament winnings are currently $860,342 according to The Hendon Mob.

Personal life

Erica Schoenberg’s love life has been the subject of much gossip and speculation. During the mid- to late-2000’s, Schoenberg dated and became engaged to poker pro David Benyamine. By the summer of 2009, the couple split.

In the spring of 2010, Schoenberg began dating poker pro Erick Lindgren, and the two married on 29 May 2011. They divorced in March 2014, and have one son, born in November 2011. Rumor has it that Lindgren’s enormous betting debts and other financial woes that totaled in the millions led to the break up.

There is no denying that Schoenberg has accomplished much in her life. When she’s not playing poker or blackjack, she is an avid golfer and animal lover. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram (as Erica Lindgren).

Until next time.

Note: Want to upgrade your poker skills? Get free preflop charts and start playing like a pro before the flop.

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About the Author
Natalie Faulk

Natalie Faulk

Natalie Faulk is a Las Vegas-based freelance writer/blogger and the author of several books. She is an avid low-stakes (for now) poker player and huge Vegas Golden Knights fan.

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