Posts Tagged ‘Donald Trump poker’

Annie Duke Talks Donald Trump, Poker in Wired Mag Piece

Sunday, August 7th, 2016

annie-duke-trump-pokerDespite having been largely absent from the poker world since 2011, Annie Duke is still called on by mainstream publications to discuss poker. Such was the case when Wired Magazine asked Duke about her opinion on Donald Trump’s political strategy from a poker player’s perspective.

Specifically, Wired wants to know if the aggressive strategy that Trump used to power his way to the Republican nomination is starting to backfire. Duke thinks that Hillary Clinton and House Speaker Paul Ryan, who’s struggling to endorse his party’s nominee, are catching on to Trump’s strategy and he hasn’t properly calibrated.

“In tournament poker you’ll see people that do really well for six months to a year and then disappear,” says Duke. “In general, those people do the exact same thing–they break convention by having this naked aggression where they’re moving all their chips without normal rhyme or reason.”

In the Republican nomination race, Duke points out that Trump’s rivals either avoided his aggression, or tried in vain to counteract it, like Marco Rubio. Wired and Duke combined to offer a better solution:

Over time, though, players figure out a more sophisticated approach–to lie in wait until they have a great hand, then lure the aggressor into betting into them. Purposefully or not, that’s how things played out with the Khan family, who represented a bet that Trump couldn’t help but raise, despite the fact that he was clearly holding bad cards against them. “You have to figure out just the right way to punish the aggression,” Duke says.

As for Ryan, Duke points out that he’s waiting too long to either make a full-hearted endorsement of Trump, or completely pull his support. Ryan is currently playing a middle-road strategy that doesn’t work in his long-term political favor. Duke says that Ryan needs to make an early move, even with a weaker hand, because it’s the best strategy in this case.

“Let’s say I wait until I’m 60 percent sure I have the best hand before I bet, but I allow the chips to get so small I have to do it twice,” she says. “The chances that I’ll double up are only 36 percent. But if I’m willing to be a 45 percent favorite I’m better off.”

Duke may have been out of the game for a while, but she did a good job of relating the Presidential situation to poker. No wonder she’s been making a career out doing public speaking engagements that involve poker. Here are videos of Duke in action:

Hellmuth dubs Donald Trump “LAG” of Presidential Race

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016

phil-hellmuth-donald-trumpIf we are comparing 2016 Presidential candidates to poker players, one might say that Donald Trump closely resembles Phil Hellmuth, the brash, outspoken and self-important 14-time WSOP champion. So it was all too interesting to hear Hellmuth’s recent comments on the 69-year-old billionaire.

Speaking with TheStreet, Hellmuth said that “Trump is the ultimate ‘loose-aggressive’ player.”

As you may know, a loose-aggressive player, or “LAG,” plays lots of hands and bets/raises quite frequently. A good LAG is able to force more-passive players into folds, even when they might otherwise have a better hand. Furthermore, skilled LAGs can control the table with this bullying style.

This seems like a very accurate analogy of Trump, who jumps into lots of issues (playing lots of hands) with controversial views (betting/raising the pot). And even when he’s attacked, such as by the Pope or Jeb Bush, he’s always willing to stand his ground and strike back.

So if the Presidential race were a poker table, how would Hellmuth deal with this political LAG?

“When you’re playing against a loose-aggressive player, think of a harpoon. You nail them with a harpoon, on one big pot for all their chips,” said Hellmuth. “They’re a big target, and Trump is a big target.”

marco-rubio-pokerSo the Poker Brat basically outlines the Trump-beating strategy as patiently waiting for a big hand, then going all-in. But at the same time, Hellmuth also identifies Trump as a pretty skilled LAG.

“He’s playing many weak hands, so you’d expect him to get harpooned a lot,” explained Hellmuth. “The problem is you’ve harpooned Trump five times and he’s so smart, he’s so resilient, he has so much style, he’s changed the rules of poker.”

Hellmuth pays attention to politics, but he doesn’t really back one candidate 100%. However, he did mention that he likes how Florida Sen. Marco Rubio recently changed gears and went on the attack against Trump – knowing that there’s little time to grab the Republican nomination.

“Rubio made a smart move. He finally took it to the next level,” Hellmuth said. “He assumed he was just going to win with patience and when you’re waiting for someone else to implode and they don’t implode, all of the sudden you’re way behind in the chips and Super Tuesday is coming up and you can’t wait anymore. Rubio can’t wait. Rubio changed tactics, finally aggressively attacked Trump — and he looked pretty good doing it.”

Is there time for Rubio or Texas Sen. Ted Cruz – the remaining two Republican candidates who can realistically beat Trump – to make their moves and get back in the political poker game? Sure, but they’re going to have to play the aggressive game that Trump is playing.