For Barack Obama, Poker Was a Social Lubricant

Question: What role has poker played in President Obama's life?

James McManus: Obama fits into the largest group of presidential poker players; that is, people who play for very low stakes to relax with friends, to meet some -- as part of their political cronyism. He arrives in 1997 in the Springfield state -- the Illinois Senate in Springfield, not knowing too many Illinois politicians. You know, he's this tall, thin University of Chicago law professor; he's a writer, kind of an egghead. And part of his effort to get along with downstate soybean farmers and Chicago ward bosses was to start a poker game in the basement of his fellow freshman Senator, Terry Link. And they invited Republicans, and they invited fellow Democrats and lobbyists, and it was just -- it was called "the committee meeting," and it was a chance, once a week, for six or seven hours to get to know the people that he had to do business with for the rest of the week in Springfield.

As a newcomer to the Illinois Senate, he started a low-stakes game to which he’d invite fellow Democrats, Republicans, and lobbyists.

Videos
  • Bad outcomes get criticized as evidence of bad decisions, but that's not necessarily so.
  • Here, poker pro Annie Duke desribes a simple thought experiment that separates decisions from outcomes.
  • It is quite possible to make a very good decision that, due to external factors, results in a bad outcome.


Decide to Play Great Poker: A Strategy Guide to No-Limit Texas Hold '’Em

www.amazon.com

Decide to Play Great Poker: A Strategy Guide to No-Limit Texas Hold '’Em [Annie Duke, John Vorhaus] on Amazon.com. *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Ask the great poker players how they'd play a hand and the answer is always, It depends. That answer can be infuriating. But guess what? It really does depend. The key to becoming a great poker player is in knowing exactly what it depends on. At last there's a book that gives you that answer. Poker is a game of so many variables: table position

Racial purity is 'scientifically meaningless,' say 8,000 geneticists

American geneticists take a stand against the misuse of their science by racists.

Milk chugging white supremacists.
Politics & Current Affairs
  • The largest society of geneticists decries the distortion of ideas by racists.
  • Science does not support the concept of race.
  • Race is a social construct, explain the scientists.
Keep reading Show less

To boost your self-esteem, write about chapters of your life

If you're lacking confidence and feel like you could benefit from an ego boost, try writing your life story.

Personal Growth

In truth, so much of what happens to us in life is random – we are pawns at the mercy of Lady Luck. To take ownership of our experiences and exert a feeling of control over our future, we tell stories about ourselves that weave meaning and continuity into our personal identity.

Keep reading Show less