Confirmation by Poker News Daily that Ultimate Bet pro Tiffany Michelle will appear on the 15th installment of the CBS reality series “Amazing Race” has led to a flurry of excitement in the industry. Poker News Daily sat down with Annie Duke, whose appearance on the popular reality franchise “Celebrity Apprentice” helped raise well over $730,000 for charity.
Poker News Daily: We’re sure you’ve had a chance to digest the news that Tiffany Michelle will appear on the upcoming edition of “Amazing Race,” reportedly with Maria Ho. Is her appearance good for poker?
Duke: In general, it’s good for poker players to be on reality shows. One of the problems with poker is that the game is seen as fringe in the sense that people think it is awful morally and socially. That’s part of the reason that you have a block of the country that wants to stop it. The more poker gets onto these mainstream shows, the better. It takes poker out of the fringe and into legitimacy.
Having been on “Celebrity Apprentice,” I get more offers that are straight business now, where I’m asked to comment on things from a business perspective. People see me as a more mainstream person. I know there are at least a couple of poker players lobbying to get on the next season of “Celebrity Apprentice.”
PND: Will Michelle’s acting background prove useful in appearing on a reality show?
Duke: I don’t think so. The best way you can see that is to look at “Celebrity Apprentice.” You have a people who are used to being in the public eye. They’re used to the cameras and know how to handle themselves in the media. They often don’t do well at all. You can’t hide from a camera when it’s on you for15 hours a day.
After 15 hours, there wasn’t an instance of me lying on “Celebrity Apprentice.” People saw that I didn’t lie and there wasn’t a single incident of me calling Brandi [Roderick] stupid. People believed Joan [Rivers], but by the end, there was so much footage and people figured out that she was lying. So, the cameras can work either way. The producers edit the show to create a story, but they can only use the footage they get. Whatever you give them could be used against you.
PND: So how do you think Michelle and Ho will do on “Amazing Race”?
Duke: I haven’t watched tons of “Amazing Race,” but I’ve seen enough to know that regardless of how you do, a lot of people regret going on there. People look like jerks. You’d probably be better served on a show like “Amazing Race” being generous. With “Celebrity Apprentice,” one of the things I did was be up front with people about what they were doing wrong. On “Amazing Race,” it’s better to help your fellow contestants out if they have trouble finding a route marker, for example. You don’t have to go overboard, but if someone clearly needs help, you should help them.
PND: Does being a poker player give a team an advantage on “Amazing Race”?
Duke: On that show, I don’t know that being a poker player is helpful. I guess the only place poker skills might come into play is in puzzle challenges. Poker players think things through more logically. There’s some strategy in things like buying airline tickets as well, so they’ll have an advantage there. For Tiffany Michelle, it helps that she’s a pretty girl.
PND: Are poker players clamoring to be cast for reality shows after your success on “Celebrity Apprentice” and Jean-Robert Bellande’s appearance on “Survivor”?
Duke: I’m sure people saw what “Celebrity Apprentice” did for me. I think that poker players as a group are very popular. They’re very much in the American conscious at the moment, so it’s good casting. One of the things with “Celebrity Apprentice” is that they like people who are strategic. Poker players will always be strategic. That creates good television and good contrast with other people.
PND: What poker players do you think would do well on shows like “Amazing Race,” “Celebrity Apprentice,” and “Survivor”?
Duke: I’d want someone who would put the best face on poker and would also do really well. I’d love to see John Hennigan on “Amazing Race.” He’s a really good person and would be great. On a show like “Celebrity Apprentice,” my brother [Howard Lederer] would be great, although he might not be loud enough to get attention. Chris Ferguson and Rafe Furst would also be great.
With “Survivor,” I’d want someone younger. You know who would be good? Joe Sebok. He’s in great physical condition, very smart, and very physical. He’d be my number one choice. Joe would be great strategically, well-liked, and good in challenges. On “Amazing Race,” Joe would be fast. He also has solid business sense, so he’d do well on “Celebrity Apprentice.” If you had to package the all-around reality show guy, I’d pick Joe Sebok.