I would love to play poker with George W. Bush. His ferret eyes and blinking gob-smacked wonderment would be a welcome addition to the felt. Not so much for the scintillating banter, rather, but for the P.T. Barnum feast his withered corpse would serve up. As his stacks of chips diminished with Twin Towers rapidity and mine grew, he'd turn to the house with hat in hand and ask the dealer, "You think you could spot me another 21,500?"
Aside from being a pure and simple idiot, Dubya also plays a strategy that every adept poker player knows and which distinguishes the Winner from the Loser. Regardless of how much you've invested in the hand, every round of betting is a new bet, and you must be prepared to fold when the hand has changed.
Let's say in a game of Seven Stud, Dubya starts out with a pair of jacks showing and he rightly bets it hard, shouting "Mission Accomplished!" in a cute attempt at braggadocio. As the game progresses, it's possible that his opponent could draw and show three kings. If he hasn't improved his hand, Bush should fold immediately. But that's not what the stupid player does. The stupid player thinks, Well, hell. I've already invested nearly 160,000 in this hand. If I fold now, I'd be throwing it all away!
Not so, says the wise player. The money is most definitely lost anyway. And in the face of such overwhelming odds, throwing more money into the pot is a sure way to guarantee a net loss for the evening. What the losing player fails to do in such situations is consider the hand past, as if it were one of the many already decided. He's still locked in the moment, mesmerized by Schroedinger's Cat hidden in the down-turned cards. My fate is not yet decided, he lies to himself. After all, God told him to play this hand, and he intends to see it through no matter what. God wouldn't lie to me, now would He?
Well, guess what, Georgie. He did. And it's time you grew up and realized that the Easter Bunny don't play Stud. Good poker players are decidedly Zen in their philosophy: One hand does not decide the night, and when the moment has turned sour it's best to prepare for the next. Let it go, George. When the deal comes back around you can change the game to Draw, Texas Hold'em, or Partition. Cut'n'Run, even. But save your money, save some lives. Just fold, for chrissake.