Thursday, October 9, 2008

Gambling Presidents

Here is an article from TIME about the gambling habits of McCain and Obama. If you don't feel like reading it-McCain really really enjoys Craps and Obama is a successful amateur poker player.,8599,1819898-2,00.html

Matt Taibbi questions the relevance of this and challenges the reader to explain why it might be. Here is the comment I wrote:

Poker vs. Craps
I just read the Time article, and your comments on it. The candidates' gambling preferences actually do reveal things about them, though I agree that the article explains them poorly.

Craps is a casino gambling game-purely an indulgence, and a losing proposition. It's a social game, but only superficially. People may be interacting, but none of that is more substantive than "Look at how we're doing!" and "Some of us are really attractive!" Poker is a competition between players. It is a social game. To be successful, as Obama reportedly has been, it is necessary to understand both math and human psychology, and to apply those things to interpret the actions of one's opponents.

Obviously, there is more to a person than some vague information about his gambling habits, but here is what those habits suggest. A good poker player is socially perceptive, thoughtful and calculated. A craps player is shallow, impulsive and bad at math. There is no such thing as a good craps player because it is not a winnable game. Put bluntly, one is a player, the other a sucker.

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