Yesterday in Brooklyn, television stars gambled for charity. David Cross (left), Michael Ian Black (right), and “This American Life” host Ira Glass (standing at table) all participated in the Honest Elimination Poker Tournament at 826NYC, a non-profit organization that provides free tutoring and various creative writing workshops for children. Impressively, out of about forty players, Cross and Black finished third and fourth, respectively, while Glass busted out early but stuck around to deal to the final table.
I was called into service for the event because apparently, people who run non-profits in Brooklyn aren’t degenerate gamblers — but if they’re lucky, their volunteers are! So I ended up dealing for a couple hours before turning to glorified tasks like changing out chip stacks and shuffling the second deck for Glass.
All three were friendly, engaging, and funny (as well as adroit poker players). Cross downed beers and cheerfully interacted with his table, while Black’s familiar mannerisms came through in everything he did. And both of the comedians made fart sounds, which is something I can always appreciate. Black also took his loss with good humor: he was big-stacked until his pocket aces lost to pocket fives (four spades on the board gave the underdog a flush), and he reacted with a shrug and merely said, “It’s okay, I sucked out earlier today.” (Though he later tweeted, “Poker literally ate my dick today. Literally.”)
Since the event was for charity, no cash prizes were given, but the three celebs did sign the trophies for the top two finishers (Cross: “F-ck you.” Black: “JEWS!”). More pictures of the event are here, and you can see me sweating out the previous night’s booze here. And remember, it was all for the children. I’m such a selfless functioning alcoholic!