Interviewing people on the radio for Twin Cities News Talk has its advantages at the poker table.
So says Drew Lee, co-host of “Justice and Drew,” the morning show on KTLK.
“You have to get good at extracting information,” Lee said in the Card Casino at Canterbury Park on July 11, a few minutes before he entered a tournament. “You look for tells in interviews — asking questions that lead to better content. It’s not that dissimilar at a poker table.”
The 45-year-old began playing poker in his father’s regular home games in Florida when he was 13 years old.
Lee, who moved to Minnesota in 2010 and also hosts the Minnesota Beercast, now plays in 2-3 tournaments a week.
“We did a four-way chop the first time I played a tourney, and I’ve loved it ever since,” he said. “I just love poker. It’s not my only hobby but it’s definitely my biggest hobby.”
Lee said he typically pays in the tournaments at Canterbury Park, often a morning $35 and $50 buy-in event or occasionally something larger like Cheap & Deep.
Cheap & Deep Run
While he most often plays the smaller events, Lee said he once got into a two-day tournament and was hooked.
“Boy, I just loved that,” he said. And he set a goal for himself: Make it to Day 2.
Lee did so at the most recent Cheap & Deep event at Canterbury Park, eventually coming in 10th place. “That was really a fun experience,” he said.
With a bigger buy-in, Lee said he knows the players are better, but there are advantages to playing at a higher level of competition.
“They respect the story you’re trying to tell and they tell more consistent stories,” said Lee, who lives in Eden Prairie. “But playing in larger tournaments is definitely more mentally challenging.”
Lee — who has a regular home game with a bounty tournament format — said he enjoys playing poker at Canterbury Park.
It’s a friendly atmosphere, he said, and gave an example of that amicable vibe following a hand in a tournament.
With a middle pocket pair, Lee raised preflop and continued betting each street. His opponent picked up a bigger pair and called him down all the way. After the hand, his tablemate leaned over and told him, “I know that’s how you play your pocket pairs.”
Lee appreciated the tip.
“So I don’t play them that way anymore, especially with him at the table,” Lee said. “The camaraderie is palpable here, it really is. I can’t remember a time when I had a negative experience with another player.”
Love of the Game
What Lee likes about poker is the challenge of evaluating his own hand relative to his opponent’s.
“It’s like a puzzle,” he said, noting that he enjoys Sudoko, Killer Sudoko and other similar games. “You’re trying to figure out where you are at any given time.”
Each hand is a self-contained moment and maximizing profits and minimizing losses is vital, he said.
“Winning the situation,” Lee said. “The mental aspect of it is just a lot of fun.”