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Analeigh Tipton had her illegal poker game busted up in the third grade

"Mississippi Grind" star Analeigh Tipton has a unique history with gambling.

​Analeigh Tipton teams up with Ryan Reynolds and Ben Mendelsohn in directing team Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden's rambling, 1970s-inspired drama, "Mississippi Grind," about a pair of inveterate gamblers working their way to a poker game in New Orleans. Tipton herself has some surprising experience with poker, though she doesn't quite have the constitution for casino gambling.

How was it working with two directors on this?
On "Crazy Stupid Love" I worked with dual directors, so that's actually how I almost got my footing in things because that's really the experience that I used for everything then after. And I think I've worked with a total of four dual director teams, which I guess is not that common. I really enjoy it because I like information. I like someone to be very articulate with what they're looking for because with emotion there's so many different ways to interpret things. Anna and Ryan were very good at giving a similar theme in a direction but having two very different perspectives and allowing you to shape it as you will. I think they've gotten down to quite the art.

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You should put in your contracts that you prefer to work with two directors going forward.
I do! I'm someone that when I write I have to get out the dictionary and then find the exact definition of a word. There's always a more precise thing, and then I have to go and look up the etymology, the history of a word — which I have a giant book on that's very fun to read. It's so fascinating. I went on a trip about "gift" earlier today. That's a really dark one. I've gone down dark rabbit holes. But anyway, I like to be precise because I think there's too many interpretations of one word, and it depends on the experience of that word that that individual has had who is passing it on. And I think probably far too much about it. (laughs)

Do you have any actual experience with poker or blackjack?
I enjoy blackjack. I'm not very good at it. I did play in Louisiana when I was there [for filming]. I won a bunch of money and then lost it and then was back to even and I felt like I did pretty damn OK because I had all of these hours of entertainment for free. Thought I was getting a pretty good deal. And I started a poker ring in third grade and almost got suspended for it. It got shut down.

Really?
We would steal Barbie heads and plastic jewelry [for betting], and then it became, like, our parents jewelry. That was the main issue. Try to tell 9-year-olds that what they're doing is illegal. Awesome.

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Were you any good at it, before the game got shut down?
I mean, I thought I was pretty good. We'd play five-card stud. I've never learned Texas Hold 'Em. I would like to. People have tried to teach me, but for some reason it's always in a situation where everyone else knows, and you don't want to be the person who doesn't know. I'd like to learn that, though. It seems fun. I like playing poker with friends. I don't know that I would ever be brave enough for a casino. I mean, casinos are intimidating.

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They're not terribly happy places, either, generally.
Depends how many cocktails you have and what hour it is. (laughs) I feel selfish when I win anything just by pulling a thing. Of course I have to spend it back. I just feel like I stole. All I did was pull a lever and they were kind enough to give me all of this money. I feel like I should thank them by giving it back.

I'm sure the casinos appreciate that mentality.
I mean, I've never been acknowledged for it, but I really should say something. I'm a good person for doing this! (laughs)

Follow Ned Ehrbar on Twitter:@nedrick

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