Poker and Politics

The 3 main political players
The 3 main political players


Unless you have been in Iceland recently you will have probably heard that there is an election taking place in the UK which is both interesting and fun. Fun because there is always gaffs and slips being made such as David Cameron targeting China for the attention of Polaris submarines – which seemed a bit off to the British public. Also, there are loads of opportunity to have bets on a relatively fair event and thanks to The Magical Tipster we should be showing a nice profit at the end of it. 

However, there is another intriguing side show of this election and it is the poker game and personalities of the main players Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg. The reason why it is intriguing is that politics is so much like poker in that you have to make moves at the right time and in the right way. Also, as the former Prime Minister Harold McMillian once said ‘…events dear boy, events…’ meaning that things will happen that will turn the best played hands into losing hands due to random things happening. Just as in a game of poker a player goes all in with 7 2 unsuited against a pair of Aces and the 7 2 unsuited wins when the flop and turn showed 7 2 Ace 8 with 3 hearts giving the Aces a flush draw as well as trips, but, then the river produces another 2 for a full house. 

In the US its been traditional for presidents to be poker players at it lends its self to the American psyche of gung-ho individualism and the wild west culture, therefore the loneliness of decision making at the poker table, playing your opponent as well as the cards works well. In the UK it has tended to be chess and more Machiavellian tactics that seemed to be the template, This maybe due to the UK being a relatively small nation which once had an empire stretching across the world and was mainly due to playing people against people to do so. However times have changed in the UK and with recession, global meltdown and now a three horse race being tight this resembles more poker than chess.

Gordon Brown can be seen as your typical tight/passive player who keeps his cards very close to his chest, only tends to play premium hands and is a grinder par excellence. In fact his partner and long time opponent Tony Blair described him as a great big clunking fist. Playing a solid game is all well and good but because he does the same things in the same way over and over again, this makes his game open to a well timed bluff and he has been bluffed a few times by David Cameron!

David Cameron is a tight/aggressive player but he has the ability to be very loose when he needs to be. Being loose against a tight passive opponent will lose you hands, but, if the cards fall right can get you a nice payoff to cover the loses and make a profit. So far he has had things mostly his own way politically and the cards have fallen nicely. For example when the expenses row kicked in, he managed to not get burned even though out of all the leaders his expenses was the most outrageous because he claimed expenses to clear up the wisteria from his second home! However, his luck may have turned against him.

Nick Clegg is the knave in the game. His pattern of play has been loose because he has been constantly short stacked but the first TV debate between the leaders gave him a nice little 8 7 of diamond on the big blind, both opponents just called and he flopped 4 5 6 of diamonds giving him a straight flush. His too opponents decided to battle each other and he got paid off big style. Now the question will be what is his table image. is he a mug gambler or does he have a solid game? No one is really sure but the next TV debate will be interesting because he now has the chips to play his hands in an aggressive way. But if he plays too aggressive he may give all his chips back too his opponents. More on this on Friday 23rd April, 2010