Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Esfandiari on Stern

Howard SternI know most readers of this blog are probably honed in on this long interview with Howard Lederer that’s being slowly rolled out this week over on the PokerNews site.

Like most, I watched the two half-hour segments yesterday, and I expect I’ll be looking in on the rest as well. And like most I have all sorts of opinions about what I saw and heard regarding the questions, the answers, and other aspects of the interview.

Gonna resist adding to all the noise about “The Lederer Files” today, though, and instead just mention another interview I heard yesterday. Antonio Esfandiari appeared on the Howard Stern’s satellite radio show where he talked with Stern and his co-host Robin Quivers for more than half an hour about a range of topics, including the Magician’s $18 million-plus win in the Big One for One Drop.

If you’re curious, you can listen to the interview here, as a Two Plus Two poster has made it available.

I’m not a regular listener of Stern. I used to hear him now and then back in the day when his show was syndicated and would turn up on FM, but since his move over onto satellite radio some years ago I haven’t really heard him much at all. I do like his humor and personality, though, and while all the “shock jock” or blue material can be hit-or-miss sometimes, I’ve always thought he was an engaging host who knew a lot about how to keep listeners from turning the dial.

Stern has been a proponent of poker over the years, occasionally opining about the game and speaking out in opposition to prohibitions against online poker. A few years back he had PPA Chairman Alfonse D’Amato on the show to talk about the PPA’s cause. In the interview with Esfandiari, Stern further reveals himself to be genuinely interested in the game -- he does play -- and not a little bit fascinated with the world of high-stakes players.

Antonio EsfandiariAmong the topics covered are the Big One for One Drop, backing arrangements, skill and luck in poker, bankroll management and dealing with swings, and the culture of poker/gambling and Las Vegas.

They also discuss Esfandiari’s background as an Iranian immigrant, his career as a professional magician, and his early days starting out as a low-stakes player. And on multiple occasions Stern returns to the topic of Esfandiari’s sex life and his predilection for partying, about which Esfandiari doesn’t hesitate much at all to share details.

Fans of Esfandiari will like the interview a lot, and even those who aren’t necessarily interested in him might find it interesting to hear Esfandiari represent poker to a wider audience. Despite Stern’s often adult-themed topics and his being on satellite radio, he show does fall squarely within the “mainstream,” and Esfandiari does a decent job (in my opinion) representing the game to those who aren’t inside of our little poker world.

For example, Esfandiari does quite well throughout the interview explaining the importance of skill in the game while also consistently pointing out how luck is involved, too. And Stern is convinced there exists a huge divide between amateur players like himself and pros like Esfandiari.

“I think that poker is a game of skill,” says Stern near the end. Then Esfandiari offers an analogy.

“It’s like saying if I spent as many hours doing what you do [i.e., hosting a radio show], I'd be as good as you,” says Esfandiari. “Of course not...”

“Of course you wouldn’t,” Stern interrupts, and you can almost hear him grinning. “Look at you. Cards is one thing, being the king of all media is another!”

It’s true... just like poker, interviewing requires skill (from both the interviewer and interviewee). If you want to hear a couple who are quite good at it, check out Esfandiari on Stern.

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Blogger Justin said...

howard stern is still awesome.

great to see continuing positive publicity for poker. esfandiari is a great ambassador of the game.

9/27/2012 5:10 PM  

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