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Reflections February 2016

Would You Raise the President?

By Geno Lawrenzi, Jr.

Both Richard Nixon and Harry Truman were avid poker players. Nixon admitted financing his first political campaign from money he won by playing poker in the U.S. Navy. Critics opined that of all the presidents who played the game, Nixon was the best and could pull off a stone cold bluff without batting an eye.

I don't know about you, but I am still perplexed over who in the White House gave the order that eliminated poker from the Internet.

Poker is the most popular card game in America. Millions of Americans play it on a regular basis. And it's common knowledge that poker was a popular game in the Oval Office for many of our country's presidents.

This being the fact, who would be the one to eliminate poker from the Internet? I don't think it was Barack Obama, who is a serious student of poker and who played the game while campaigning for president in Illinois.

People in the know say Obama played poker regularly to make contacts with people who could help him in his campaign. While his poker playing skills weren't that great – observers claimed he is a conservative player who doesn't take risks – he is fascinated by the structure of the game.

Both Richard Nixon and Harry Truman were avid poker players. Nixon admitted financing his first political campaign from money he won by playing poker in the U.S. Navy. Critics opined that of all the presidents who played the game, Nixon was the best and could pull off a stone cold bluff without batting an eye.

Truman was also a high stakes poker player who continued the game after succeeding Franklin Delano Roosevelt to the presidency. In fact, White House observers revealed that Truman was playing poker at the moment FDR died of a massive stroke.

Both Warren Harding and Theodore Roosevelt loved poker and played the game with their Cabinet members. Harding also gained the nickname “The Poker President” because of his passion for the game.

With all that said and with so many Americans being in love with poker, who is the lowdown conniving individual or individuals who made the game illegal on the Internet? The action deprived a lot of people out of a favorite hobby and caused a lot of them to have to seek another means of earning an income.

While many presidents invited members of the press corps to sit down at a poker table with them, I wonder what it would be like to be playing against the Commander in Chief and the leader of the free world?

If I were invited to the president's poker game, would I have the courage to check-raise him or would I be deferential in my game?

Truman reportedly prefaced each poker game by telling those present to forget rank – that every person was equal at the poker table. I wonder how many of those present took his remark seriously.

Obama has a passion for golf and plays the game regularly. However, nobody seems to know if he has continued his poker playing ways in the White House.

I can imagine Bill Clinton as a gregarious poker player, but Hillary? I'm not so certain about her.

Sen. Harry Reid is not presidential material but he was born in Searchlight, Nevada, and his campaigns have been financed by several powerful casino owners. It's rumored he might have been the power behind the plan to end Internet gambling in order to protect the interests of his friends in Nevada.

If Donald Trump wins the GOP nomination and gets elected, I think he might turn out to be the best poker player off all sitting presidents. After all, he owns all those casinos and what goes around comes around. All hail the Chief. Will somebody cut the cards?

 

Geno Lawrenzi, Jr. is an international journalist, magazine author, ghostwriter and poker player who lives in Phoenix, Arizona. His email address for your comments and story ideas is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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