Jim Rice has survived almost everything that has come his way. The 35-year-old professional poker player says he has survived opening two of his own business: a medical marijuana dispensary, High Level Health, and a wine store. This Denver man has even survived working on Wall Street.
The question is, can he survive reality TV?
In this interview, the “Survivor” contestant, whose audition video was selected, answered all the questions he could for the CUIndependent, but was not allowed to comment on the show before its premiere this Wednesday.
CU Independent: What made you interested in being on “Survivor”?
Jim Rice: I thought it would be a ton of fun. I have been a fan of the show since day number one. I was talking to a friend about how I have kind of a weird background and how I would be great for the show. I made the video in January here in my in dispensary, with the marijuana in the background.
CUI: Which contestants from past seasons were your favorites?
JR: In season six there was a guy named Rob Cesternino. I liked how he dealt with the adversity in his tribe.
CUI: What expectations did you have going into the filming of the show?
JR: You know, I knew that it would be, if nothing else, a new adventure and a story I would be able to tell for the rest of my life. I knew it would be hard, I knew it would be a challenge. But I also knew it would be fun.
CUI: Do you have any particular personality traits that you felt would help you succeed?
JR: The ability to deceive, manipulate or see through bullshit? I’ve played poker for a long time and won a bunch of tournaments so I think that helped me.
CUI: Like a “poker face?”
JR: Not as much the poker face, but being able to tell when someone is not being straight with me. I am not the type of person who can keep my mouth shut. If someone is doing something to annoy me, I’m going to say something. I’m outspoken.
CUI: How about physical skills?
JR: There’s going to be people that are on the show that are a little bit younger and a little bit faster than me, but I am pretty fit. I live in Denver — we go hiking or skiing every weekend. When you live in Denver, you are used to doing things that are physically challenging for the most part.
CUI: On (producer) Jeff Probst’s cast assessment he said he thought you might be at a disadvantage being single and so interested in all the hot women in the cast.
JR: All my friends got a kick outta that. He’s probably right. I get along great with everybody. If it’s a good-looking woman, all the better. But I think it helps me. When some of the girls think they are manipulating me, I can see right through that.
CUI: Do you think it distracted you?
JR: My tribe is chock full of beautiful women, that’s all I can say. But first and foremost, I was there for a million dollars.
CUI: Jeff also mentioned your unique background. Can you give a summary in your own words?
JR: I got my undergrad at Michigan State, as well as my MBA. I worked as an investment banker for quite a while. I owned a wine store, played poker, and now own two dispensaries called High Level Health.
CUI: Do you smoke marijuana?
JR: No, I actually don’t smoke marijuana. I have never smoked. I do enjoy edibles, though.
CUI: What is your favorite strain?
JR: Summit County Sweet Skunk. We have it at our store. We are the only people in Denver who have it. It’s potent.
CUI: What do you predict the future of politics, around legalizing marijuana, will be like?
JR: The state of Colorado is a monopoly in the U.S. We are on the tipping point and there is no way we are going back. More people are choosing medical marijuana and starting to see it has legit attributes when it comes to helping pain. More people see it as a first line of defense as opposed to a last line of defense. Not one person has said to me they wish they hadn’t tried it, they say they wish they’d tried it sooner.
CUI: Do you still play poker?
JR: Yeah, I was just in the Heartland Poker Tour Colorado championship in April. That was on TV.(Rice took third place, winning $66,478)
CUI: What is the largest sum of money you have won in a poker match? Lost?
JR: I think I’ve lost more at the craps table than at poker. I’ve won $117,000. Lost? I think $25,000.
CUI: How do you react to losing money?
JR: I’m one of those guys that always knows things will work out. Things will always work out for me in the end so I don’t get too hung up about it.
CUI: Do you think “Survivor” can teach you lessons about life?
JR: Oh, my goodness, yeah, I think that the show breaks you down to who you really are. It will show you what you’re really capable of on every level.
Survivor: South Pacific will premiere Wednesday, Sept. 14, on CBS at 8/7 central.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Ana McIntosh at email@example.com.