America’s president, Barack Obama, is one of the most powerful men in the world, but when he’s feeling a little down on his luck or in need of a helping hand, he apparently looks to a poker chip for comfort.
Talking in a pre-Super Bowl interview with CBS This Morning late last week, Obama explained that he carries around a collection of trinkets and lucky charms gifted to him by well-wishers, and among them is a poker chip.
When the President’s Chips Are Down
Although we’re not sure if the President is an anti- or pro-RAWA advocate, we do now know that he counts the “lucky” poker chip among his treasured possessions.
As for how he got the chip, the story is slightly less exciting than we might have hoped for.
While it would have been nice to hear that it was one of the chips he won during a high stakes cash game against country leaders like Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Germany’s Angela Merkel, the reality is that it was given to him by a biker in Iowa back in 2008.
Regardless of where he got it from, the fact that President Obama has a memento from the poker world is probably a sign he enjoys the game on some level. In fact, we do know that he’s at least heard of Daniel Negreanu.
Back in 2008, Negreanu and Phil Ivey met Obama at a fundraiser dinner, and the President took a moment to regale them with his own poker story. After spotting Negreanu, Obama referred to him as “that poker guy” and explained that he’d lost $60 the previous night in a game at the White House.
Of course, the president isn’t the only politician with a penchant for poker. Back in 2015, Rand Paul was videoed playing a game of Liar’s Poker with part-time player and full-time (fill in the blanks, depending on your opinion of him) Dan Bilzerian.
History of Presidential Poker
Beyond the current crop of political poker players, the White House has a long history of hosting poker games with the top brass. George Washington was a lover of card games before presidents such as Warren G. Harding, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Harry Truman all became regular poker players.
However, of all the US presidents who have enjoyed a round or two of poker, it was Richard Nixon who was reportedly the most accomplished.
After picking up the game in the Navy, Nixon became an extremely strong player and, according to British journalist David Spanier, he won $6,000 in just two months during World War II. That’s around $87,245 in today’s cash, according to a government website that adjusts for inflation.
While Obama may not be able to match Nixon’s skills at the felt, his affinity for poker is just another example of the White House’s longstanding links with the game.
Now, if we could just remind the RAWA supporters that presidents actually like poker, then they might finally decide to give up their campaign against the online industry.