Exclusive Interview With Joe "ChicagoJoey" Ingram

ChicagoJoey psyching up for a night on the Big Girl Grind

We had the pleasure of putting a few questions to one of our favourite people in poker, the one and only Joe "ChicagoJoey" Ingram. Joe puts out HSDB's favourite poker podcasts, and over the past 18 months or so he has interviewed the likes of Dan "Jungleman12" Cates, Daniel Negreanu, Ben "Sauce123" Sulsky, Antonio Esfandiari, Lex Veldhuis, Ben "Ben86" Tollerene, Brian Hastings,  Cole "cts687" South, and many, many more in his "Poker Life Podcasts"

Just as he does in his podcasts, Joey put 110% effort into answering our questions!

Hi Joe, thanks for talking to us; I hear you’re currently globe-trotting, where are you speaking to me from today?

Pappppiiiiiiii!!! Thanks for messaging me and wanting to do this. Big thanks to HSDB for showing  my podcasts some love when I have on high stakes guys.

I'm currently in Dortmund, Germany. I went to a music festival in Belgium called Tomorrowland about 10 days ago and then joined a friend on the train to Dusseldof, Germany which then lead me over here to Dortmund. I've been taking it day-day for right now so i'm not sure where I will end up next.

We all love your podcasts here as you might have gathered, have you got any exciting ones in the pipeline?

I'm glad you guys love them smiley That is always a good feeling when people tell you that they have watched all of your podcasts and really love them. I got a lot of love while in Vegas for the World Series that really inspired me to keep at it and start to expand more. In terms of exciting ones in the pipeline, the answer for most people are probably the big names or the end bosses online. I think a lot of different guests can be pretty exciting and you don't realize it going into it.   

Hopefully we will have Hollywood Haxton on sooner than later, that plan got a bit delayed with the Brian Hastings situation. We might see the German end boss turned sorta retired altiFC on  at some point, I met him in Vegas and after we talked for awhile I thought I HAVE to get this guy on my podcast. Anytime I have Lefort or Jason Koon on it is exciting for everyone involved.

Who would be your top 3 guests to bring on the show who you either a) haven’t already had on or b) don’t think you’ll ever get on?

My power rankings list for top 3 guests I haven't had on/might never get on... hmmm... I guess it depends on if I want to try to have the most views for an episode or who I personally would like to have on to talk with the most. For most views it is probably:

1. Ivey
2. Hellmuth
3. Durrrr

For me personally, that is a tough question

1. Probably has to be Phil Ivey because he is such an end boss in poker and would be such a fun conversation.
2. Ike Hollywood Haxton because he is such a legend and I think he would be pretty honest with most of his answers. Also because the Hollywood Haxton impersontion has become such a favorite part of each episode.
3. Phil Galfond because I admire and respect the path he has taken so much. Beating the game of poker and then building such a well respected website like Run it Once is such an achievement. I've also fallen asleep to his voice more than anyone else in the world with his videos (which I'm sure many other people have as well). I met him briefly in Vancouver a few years ago but it would be awesome to have a conversation with him on the pod.

You were a prodigious grinder back in the day and obviously still have a great love of PLO. Do you plan to play online much in the future, and if so to what extent?

I like the usage of the word prodigious smiley I will always love the great game of PLO, even if I completely stop playing at some point in time. I haven't played online much at all over the past 2 months. After spending so much time in Vegas playing live poker and meeting so many different people/having conversations with them about life in general I really realized that I didn't want to put playing online poker as my #1 focus anymore.

That in addition to some other things that happened in life helped me decide that putting all of the focus/obsession I've had with online poker for the past 8 years and applying that to other things will be so much more +ev for my life and future. I think I am getting a bit old at this point and would like to say something other than I play online poker when people ask me what I do. I don't think I can play poker without putting 75-100% of all my focus on it so I'm going to try to not play at all.

Playing poker aside, I notice you’re doing more than just the podcast these days and are putting more and more content out there. What are you medium/long-term plans for your career?

I started doing the podcasts about a year and a half ago at this point and during that time I've probably put about 5-10% focus maximum on them at any given time. There are just so many different things you can be doing at any given time that will ultimately be +ev for things and I don't do at a very good job at most of them.  Now I am planning to put 85-95% of my focus to the podcasts and my content in general.

I've put some other types of videos out there from time to time but I've always been a bit hesistant to fully make the jump to more of that type of video content and written content as well. I'm a dreamer and pretty ambitious when I do something. My medium/long term plans for my career as of now are to continue to crush the live podcasts with guests, expand to producing other video content focused around poker players and other things in life. Crush the written content that I have in mind and produce some of the best poker content from an entertaining, motivating, sometimes inspiring and helpful standpoint ever. It won't be easy and will always be an ongoing goal but I think it is possible.

I also want to start focusing on some general lifestyle content as well and eventually branch out to other areas of life with my conversation podcasts. There are so many inspiring people out there in the world that I would love to talk with. I sometimes have conversations with people that I think would be fucking awesome for a podcast and people would really enjoy and be able to learn a bit from it. I've told a couple people I wanted to have one of the most popular/best podcasts in the entire world at some point in time so I will start with that as the end goal and go from there.

Who are your poker heroes, and who are your favourite players to watch?

I think my poker heroes right now are probably people who I am amazed have been able to perform at such a level that they have for so long. This is actually one of my favorite questions to ask people. I don't really call them heroes, more like inspirations. Of course my friend and podcast favorite Sean Lefort is one of the people who i've learned a good deal from and is someone who inspires me to to improve myself. As I mentioned before Phil Galfond inspires me with the success he has had crossing over into the business side of things with Run it Once.

I don't really watch a ton of poker anymore. When I rail online I enjoy watching Berri Sweet play and of course who doesn't love Isildur matches? Anytime one of my friends is playing in a really high stakes game I am super into it but those don't go down that often anymore. I used to be obsessed with watching televised poker content. High Stakes Poker, the Pokerstars Big Game, Poker After Dark cash games where favorite and almost only televsion I watched. Who didn't love seeing Tom Dwan play like a maniac and it always end up working? I think there might be a resurgance of shows like this with the Super High Roller cash game that just started airing and with Poker Night in America.

In a lot of your podcasts at some point or another “Isildur1” crops up for one reason or another. Obviously he’s a HUGE favourite with our readers. What’s your opinion of one of the most divisive and influential online players ever?

Isildur is one of the biggest legends in the history of the online game. I could talk about him on every episode pretty easily if I wanted to smiley I love that he exists in online poker. I think he has probably influenced so many people out there to bust their rolls shot taking and would imagine his success-failure ratio for influence is something like 200-1. I am actually curious to see if other people think he has had an influence on playing style at different games over the years. I think somebody like him is so good for the railbirds to follow and root for. Who doesn't want to see the guy who will take on anyone (almost) at any stakes (almost) battle for these long hours and come out on top?

With your time out of the game, do you think you could still make a comfortable living playing online if you had to?

I wouldn't say I've had that much time out of the game. I've probably played more PLO than 99% of players in the world have this year still.  Of course I can still make a very comfortable living playing online. If I put my 50-60 hours a week in that I've done for most of my career I think I would do extremely well. I really have never played poker for the money and often I get to a point where I don't really have much motivation to play and make more money from it all. That used to be my #1 driving force for motivation. I wanted to be rich (relatively), I wanted to play the high stakes, I wanted the glory of it all. Unfortunatly that required a pretty unhealthy obsession for me to get to that point and once I did, I only wanted more and more of it.

I started traveling more at that point and experimenting with others things in life that lead me to the realization that the dream was much, much better than the reality. I haven't really had a poker dream since that point in time and up until the past couple months, hadn't really had anything that was motivating me that much at all. After having many conversations with people in Vegas during the WSOP and seeing how much people enjoyed and loved the content I was creating, I realized that I should start making this my #1 focus. The feeling I get from it is something I've never gotten from being an online poker player.

Ok, last one, apparently the durrrr challenge with jungleman is back on soon (we’ll see). I know it’s not PLO but if it happens will you be following that one, and who would you root for?

If the durrrr/jungle challenge actually gets back on which I highly doubt, I will of course be rooting for the Jungleman. He is one of the favorite people I've had on the podcast and him/his gf really tried to set me up with a Romanian girl after I told them on the podcast I wanted a romanian girlfriend like Jungleman had. Much love to them for that smiley Team Jungle all the way!!

Thanks Joe, it's been emotional!


To view any of Joe's podcasts, visit his youtube page


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