Saturday, March 18

All-In: Political Poker and How Democrats Start Winning

by justmy2 @ 3/18/2006 10:11:00 AM

Can someone please get me into the weekly Senate Democrat poker game? I have got to believe it is one of the biggest fish tanks in the world.

This week's past events related to Senator Feingold's censure resolution unquestionably demonstrates Democratic Leadership gets outplayed at every turn. They don't realize that you have take a stand at some point and come over the top. When are they going to go all-in?

Check out the flop below to see why Democrats could use a good poker lesson and how it will take some real sharks to get rid of the current regime.

Have these people ever asked themselves the following question? If the Republican's didn't want there to be a debate on censure, what would be their response and talking points? I am betting it would go something like this

'Bring it on, we dare you to try it'...

What is their alternative? "Oh please Democrats, don't censure the President?" Get real!!!

It is pure poker and Democrats are amateurs. They look at their hand and take the action without considering their opponents hand. Let's put this into poker terms.

The Democrats look at their hand. "Wow, a flush!!!" Republicans, sensing the Democrats have a very good hand, and knowing their hand "a pair" is suspect at best, decide it is time for a little table talk.

Republicans: I know my hand is better than yours. You better fold or you are going to lose all of your money!

Democrats: Darn, I only had a flush. Why are you so lucky? I guess I have to fold. :(

Rinse and Repeat.

From getting Democrats to apologize for accurate statements, to making them run and hide on judicial votes, to running from the current censure resolution, it is same old story and Republican's have the Democrats game down pat. The Democrat's table image is atrocious.

How do you counteract this nonsense?

A professional poker player rarely considers their own hand. They review their opponents actions, assess what the believe is their opponent's most likely hand, determine what their opponent would want them to do, and they do the opposite (if it benefits them).

Mike Caro's Great Law of Tells states: "Players are either acting or they aren't. If they are acting, then decide what they want you to do and disappoint them."

Great players take advantage of the slightest edge and exploit it to it the fullest extent.

In this case, their opponents have a hand that includes a brewing rebellion in Congress and an incompetent President with polls in the toilet. It is actually pretty simple.

In other words, Republicans and short stacked and desparate.

Boxers are trained to bounce on their toes or even smile after they've been hit hard so that the judges won't think that the opponent scored a blow. It's called smiling through the face of adversity

But the Democrats don't take their table image, or their opponent's actions into consideration. They simply continue to play the same lazy, lackluster, poker game they have played for the last 20 years. It is a leak, in poker terms, of tremendous proportions. Unwilling to take any chances, Democrats keep getting their blinds stolen from them because they are unwilling to stand up to the bully at the table.

Republicans appear to understand the game and have continuously used this expertise to their advantage. Karl Rove simply looks at his opponent's hands and does the opposite of what is expected. If you don't believe me, see his recent campaigns against John Kerry and John McCain. He could have cared less about his hand; the ineptitude, incompetence, and ridiculous "record of failure" of his candidate. He knew his opponent's hand and expectations, and then proceeded to represent the hands that would beat them, pushing his opponents off of the winning hand.

Represent: To play as if you hold a certain hand...

For instance, if you raised before the flop, and then raised again when the flop came ace high, you would be representing at least an ace with a good kicker.

For example, the swift-boating of John Kerry was a classic semi-bluff in poker sense. It was a calculated risk, where you are behind, but could pay off if your opponent folds immediately; or if his opponent called, he still had a chance to win if his hand improved with the next card. As you know, Kerry essentially kept calling and Rove kept raising, eventually getting the result he wanted, by ruining Kerry table image at the time of courage and strength.

The proper play in many situations, especially if you have an advantage, is to RERAISE!!! The key is to put pressure on your opponent and continuously put them to the test by forcing them to make the tough decisions. It doesn't matter what is in your hand. It is more important to understand your opponent's tendencies and take advantage of them. Republicans know this, Democrats apparently don't.

Just know that showing weakness under duress can only make the problem worse. Your ability to conceal your hand is often your best negotiating tool.

Any time a major raise has been put into the pot the last six months, Republicans reraise all in, usually calling for an immediate vote, and win without having to showdown there hand because the Democrats fold instead of calling their bluff. That is power and the Democrats need a refresher course, stat.

POWER: When you can get what you want and the other party still wants to do business with you, you have negotiated successfully. You set the stage for this when you take the time to walk in the other party's shoes.

Someone needs to teach Democrats that they need to change the table image, and change their game. The first step is to get rid of their tight passive image.

They play very few hands and when they do decide to play, they rarely bet or raise. They are content to sit back and wait for an absolute lock and will take whatever the pot will give them.


Tight passive players rarely win. This is due to paying blinds and winning so few pots which are often small.

Fortunately, they are playing against loose, aggressive Republicans, who while tougher to beat, can be brought down with a disciplined, but not risk averse, strategy.

Loose aggressive players will often raise with inferior hands. They will bet for no reason and overuse bluffs.


Loose aggressive players can obviously be beat. Keep in mind that when playing against a loose aggressive player you will need the best cards to win. Don’t get caught up in trying to prove that they play bad hands by calling when you shouldn’t. Be patient, wait for your moment and you can lure loose aggressive player into a huge pot with poor cards.

Well, the Republican's cards are not going to get much worse. Their leader has BROKEN THE LAW, and their disapproval numbers have not been higher since the Nixon regime. Democrats need to learn to attack aggressively when they have the advantage. They need to stop playing amateur poker. They need to forget their hand and start playing like professionals. They need to determine what their opponent's want them to do, and then disappoint them. Censure is a great start.



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