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Poker

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Grind ‘em out.

“Link describes Obama as a ‘calculating’ cardplayer, avoiding long-shot draws and patiently waiting for strong starting hands. ‘When Barack stayed in, you pretty much figured he’s got a good hand,’ former Senator Larry Walsh once told a reporter, neglecting to note that maintaining that sort of rock-solid image made it easier for Obama to bluff.” Poker writer James McManus reports on Barack Obama’s card style, and gives a brief overview of presidential card-playing.

The PartyPoker’s Over?

With the bill’s foremost opponent — “Casino Jack” Abramoff — now sidelined in disgrace, the House votes 317-93 to crack down on Internet gambling. “The biggest losers could be the estimated 23 million Americans who play poker over the Internet. ‘This bill would needlessly make outlaws of the millions of adult Americans who enjoy online poker, and is the latest example of how our representatives in Congress are ignoring real issues facing our country,’ warned the grass-roots Poker Players Alliance, in an alert to its more than 25,000 members.

Poker-faced Liars.

Editors: Can you show us your cards? Cheney: Sure. One of them’s a six.” By way of Value Judgment, experience the tribulations of poker with Dick Cheney. “Cheney: We will show you our cards after we have collected the pot. It is important that things be done in this order, otherwise the foundation of our entire poker game will be destroyed.Update: In semi-related news, the Supreme Court bails out Cheney 7-2 on the energy task force documents, although they also decided to punt the case back to a lower court. Hmmm.

Affleck’s Revenge.

One of the few shows I caught regularly last fall, Celebrity Poker Showdown returns for a second season on May 27, with Kid in the Hall Dave Foley replacing Kevin Pollack. This time around, the players will include Sean Astin, Jennie Garth, James Woods, Matthew Perry, Angie Dickinson, and Dave Navarro. Samwise versus Big Bad Mama…I’m so there.

Coming Up Aces.

With Celebrity Poker Showdown beginning tonight, CNN examines the recent rise in televised card games. Hey, I’m all for it.

Raise Ya a J-Lo.

They announced it a few months ago, but I only saw the ad for Bravo’s Celebrity Poker Showdown yesterday. December 2nd, baby…I’m so there.

The Big Mo.

Riding the wave of the Sleepless Summer tour, Howard Dean is not only 21 points up on Kerry in NH, he’s just raised another $10 million over the past few months (other than Clinton in 1995, a fund-raising record.) I had planned to go to the Bryant Park rally last night, but opted to watch the aptly-named Chris Moneymaker win the World Series of Poker instead. Ah well…if Dean keeps this type of stride going, I expect he’ll be back.

Full House.

Now here‘s a reality show I can get into. Coverage of the World Series of Poker starts tonight on ESPN. If you’ve never tuned in before, you’d be amazed at some of the psych-out tricks these guys try to play on camera. (Via Mark.)

Dream a (not-so)little Dream.

The largest World Series of Poker in history kicks off in Vegas, which should mean at least two hours of quality television on ESPN2 in a few weeks. No word on whether Bill Bennett is going for it all this year.

Where’s the Outrage?

All over the press this Saturday morning: moral exemplar William Bennett is a high-roller, losing over $8 million in the past ten years at various casinos. I play a biweekly poker game and have been known to throw down some money in Vegas, so I’d be the first to argue that gambling within limits is a minor vice at worst. But then again, I haven’t made a living peddling sanctimonious garbage like The Book of Virtues or The Moral Compass either. Yes, this is gotcha journalism making entirely too much out of a mildly disreputable pastime – it’s not like Bennett is a child molester or anything. But that doesn’t mean I won’t enjoy watching Mr. Virtue squirm on the petard of his own hypermoralism. Mr. Bennett, is schadenfreude a forgivable vice in this instance? Update: Mrs. Bennett drops the hammer. Update 2: Mike Kinsley weighs in, also invoking the schadenfreude angle.

Games Without Frontiers.

Verrry aggressive…you’re a new man, and won’t be pushed around. A Boston Globe editorial surveys the long and sordid history of poker and war. (Via Dangerous Meta.)

Dogs of War.

The Village Voice scrutinizes the social habits of the military-industrial complex. (Not to judge a story by its cover, but this article, interesting on its own terms, also features a cartoon of dogs playing poker, which I must admit is a trope I’m particularly fond of.)

Rolling the Dice.

The House takes aim at Internet gambling.

So much for Kid Icarus.

In an attempt to stop online gambling, all computer games have been banned in Greece. (Via Pigs and Fishes.) Ah, Greece, where they put you in jail for Tetris and give you a medal for Table Tennis.

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