I recently had the pleasure of interviewing This American Life host Ira Glass for SBS Film. We were discussing his involvement as co-writer and producer of Mike Birbiglia's charming portrait of a desperate comedian in Sleepwalk with Me (I later had a marvellous time hosting the Sydney Q&A with Birbiglia).
As our chat wrapped up, I asked Ira about poker. He is featured in the documentary All In: The Poker Movie and I was curious what the draw of poker is for him.
Ira's answer is just wonderful - and had us both laughing - so I thought I'd share it here:
The draw of poker for me is that it’s nice to lose myself completely in something that’s sort of difficult but isn’t my job. And I like that it takes a lot of concentration; I like that you’re reading people. I enjoy card games.
I like that there’s a little bit of math involved – I mean it’s super basic, but you like run the odds in your head when certain things come out – and I like that you’re psyching other people out.
It’s an incredibly psychological game; I’m not very good at it at all. And honestly my instincts as a reporter are exactly the worst instincts to have as a poker player, because there are situations I get into where I pretty much know what’s happened, I know that I’ve lost, but I’m just so curious to see what happens, and I end up spending a lot of money just to see the other person’s cards.
I’m good enough to know how bad I am.I love that Ira's curiosity costs him! A small price to pay (hopefully!) for such an engaging mind.
Listeners to The American Life will know Ira has reached out again for the programmes annual pledge drive. If you're a fan and yet to kick a few bucks their way for all the brilliance they bring us, then click HERE to donate.