Presidential candidate Barack Obama plays poker

Barack Obama

In an age where poker sometimes seems like a scapegoat for the mainstream media it's interesting to see a figure like Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama come out and say he enjoys the game.

The last week has seen numerous stories written about a low-stakes game Obama used to frequent when he served in the Illinois State Senate.

According to the Associated Press, Obama was given quite the send-off from his friends in the Illinois Legislature when he triumphed in the 2004 U.S. Senate race - they emptied his wallet in an all-out poker battle.

Despite that loss, Obama was considered to be a solid player on a weekly basis. Some think the traits Obama displayed at the poker table might give insight into how he would act as a president.

By all accounts Obama was a talented player who didn't like making risky plays and preferred to play it safe. He analyzed his cards carefully and if Obama was involved chances were he had a strong hand. Although you might characterize his game as passive Obama was competitive and played to win. He expressed an appreciation for the game.

Obama was one of the founding members of the game held in Springfield and saw it as a way to bring together everybody in the legislature including lawmakers and lobbyists and break up the tedium of long legislative sessions.

"It's a fun way for people to relax and share stories and give each other a hard time over friendly competition," he said by email. "In Springfield, it was a way to get to know other Senators - including Republicans."

Since Obama left the game in Springfield the numbers of dwindled and only an occasional game is played. Obama is instead concentrating on his bid for the Democratic nomination for the 2008 Presidential Election. It's looking more and more like it will be a heads-up match between him and opponent Hillary Clinton. Time will tell if Obama's poker skills will come in handy.

One wonders what the ramifications would be if Obama should indeed make it to the White House. Would it be time to bust out Harry Truman's poker chips and get a regular game going on Capitol Hill? Maybe repeal UIGEA as well?

Poker fans may have just found their horse in the 2008 election.

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