View Full Version : Random - Which President was best at poker?

06-18-2004, 02:31 PM
This seemed like the most appropriate forum, but correct me if I've posted it in the wrong place.

I know there have been some presidents that were known for playing poker. I think I read somewhere that Nixon was somewhat of a shark.

Anyone know more about this? Or if any other presidents were into the game?

Random, I know. But I am writing some promo copy for Bill Clinton's new book and the thought occurred to me.

06-18-2004, 02:39 PM
Nixon-and 2nd place probably isn't even close.

NIxon bankrolled his first politcal campaign mostly with his poker winnings while in the military.

06-18-2004, 03:06 PM
Nixon-and 2nd place probably isn't even close.

NIxon bankrolled his first politcal campaign mostly with his poker winnings while in the military.

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Don't know how close, but second place is probably Harry Truman. He used to play with the reporters on long sea trips. Don't know how well he did.

06-18-2004, 03:07 PM
It is my understanding that Truman also played a mean game of poker, or at least played a lot of poker while in office.

This is partially where the phrase "The Buck Stops Here" from his Presidency comes from, refering to the dealer button or "buck", more than an actual $1 buck.

This is in contrast to the Bush Administration, where the motto is "I will take immediate and full responsibility to find some one to blame for this mess".

06-18-2004, 03:30 PM
Bush rules. You are an idiot.

06-18-2004, 03:40 PM
Poker playing presidents I know of:

Both of the above were supposedly superb poker players.

G. W. Bush (http://www.americanthinker.com/articles.php?article_id=3378)
By reputation, the President was a very avid and skillful poker player when he was an MBA student.

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Harding (he was bad though - supposedly lost a lot of White House art playing poker)

I'm sure there were others. I suspect most of the Founding Fathers would have played, if poker had been around then. But they gambled for larger stakes.

06-18-2004, 03:43 PM
Bush rules. You are an idiot.

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fat_nutz, I'm a Bush fan myself, but you are the idiot. Do you always go off for little to no reason like this? Grow up.

06-18-2004, 04:00 PM
I'd have to go with Nixon.

Regardless of how he ended up there's something to be said for earning the money for your campaign at the poker tables....unlike marrying your BR/campaign warchest /images/graemlins/blush.gif

06-18-2004, 04:07 PM
I don't know who's tops but there is a cute story in "Read em and Weep" about a poker game Truman had in the White House with a visiting Winston Churchill. He gave a pep talk to all his staff about how they had to play their "A" game because he didn't want the Brit to go back to England and be able to have Poker bragging rights.

Well it turned out that Winston was pretty bad and they were really cleaning his clock. So Truman now gets all concerned that they are going to embarass the old gent so during a break had to tell his boys that while he still wants them to win, they have to back off and not win too big.

It's one of several short poker stories in this book that I found to be quite interesting.

06-18-2004, 05:54 PM
I was going to reference both "Read 'Em and Weep" and "Poker Nation" that mention Nixon and Truman as strong players.

I'd think Clinton would be fantastic, but apparently he was a hearts and solitaire man.

06-18-2004, 06:19 PM
Yeah, I would think Clinton would know how to semi-bluff with the best of 'em.

He probably puts on a fake moustache and plays 1,000/2,000 in the basement of Caesar's Palace.

06-18-2004, 07:02 PM
I am surprised that people always overlook Eisenhower the poker player. In the long pre-WWII years his idle hours were filled with poker, and he was a good player. He continued at a reduced rate during the war and Presidency.

He was also a honest boss. He once banned a subordinate who was a terrible player from his game. Saving the guy's military career was more important than taking his money.

Second to Nixon (a true grinder who's career owes a lot to poker), Ike was probably the best.

06-18-2004, 07:36 PM
Bill Clinton was probably the best at poke-her but no one could beat Tricky Dicky at the real game. He was so tricky that he even tricked himself out of office using dirty tricks. /images/graemlins/grin.gif

06-18-2004, 08:00 PM
Read Gambling Theory and Other Topics by Mason.

JFK went all in with his blockade of Cuba against Kruschev's missiles.

Abraham Lincoln pushed all in with the Emancipation Proclaimation against the South's potential allies in Europe.

06-18-2004, 08:39 PM
That reminds me, I believe Lincoln was hacked at then General, later President, Grant because he and his officers spent more time the first part of the war playing poker rather than fighting.

06-19-2004, 09:05 AM
Bush rules. You are an idiot.

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Bush is anti gambling. He has claimed he wants to ban gambling worldwide. The moron won't even stop at imposing his religious morals as laws in the US. He wants to do it WORLDWIDE.

06-19-2004, 11:16 AM
I've read several Nixon Biographies.. the man is fascinating.

Anyway, while Truman is from my homestate and his poker abilities were allegedly solid (at what, 7 stud?)

the fact that Nixon took home an alleged $10,000 from his navy days in 1940's money means he was playing with some serious jack at the time.

Not to mention, you could consider Watergate a "bad beat" of sorts... It was an innocent political sabotage that got turned into a disaster...

Nixon was all aces after the 1972 election where he won big, unfortunately the 7 2 off that was Watergate, rivered him in the end.

Roy Munson
06-20-2004, 10:07 PM
In an interview David Brinkley said that he played in many of these games. He said that Truman was a decent player but that Churchill would get his clock cleaned.

06-21-2004, 12:33 AM
The Mamet essay in "Read 'Em and Weep," also in another collection of his essays, is excellent. The last sentence he writes is the finest in the book.

06-21-2004, 02:31 AM
please do illuminate us with ANYTHING bush has taken blame for then. He has no problem taking credit for things he had little to nothing to do with. Obviously, with GWB, the buck stops elsewhere.
At least only get about 7 months of him left.

06-21-2004, 12:07 PM
He did say it was a mistake to trade Sammy Sosa.