The Games Candidates Play, Casino Edition

Poker pegs Obama as deep thinker; McCain's flash evident in craps
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 3, 2008 1:16 PM CDT
A camera-phone shot of McCain at craps   (
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(Newser) – The presidential contenders are both gambling men, and long ago picked poisons—flashy craps for McCain, backroom poker for Obama—that reflect strikingly different competitive natures. McCain, whom aides recently had to drag from the tables, loves the “thrill seeker’s” game, Time notes: He heartily plays for thousands at a time—fitting what one ex-aide called a passion to “take a chance, play against the odds.”

While McCain's risky dice “burnish his image as a political hot dog,” Obama is a conservative and dangerous poker devotee—rarely bluffing and usually winning. He became an Illinois power broker over cards, drinking and smoking until wee hours with players of all political stripes. "If he runs his presidency the way he plays poker, I'll sleep good at night," a fellow player says.