Obama Raises On A Busted Royal Flush


My last post was concerned with trying to shed some light on the confusing statements and actions of the US in regard to Syria and Russia in the last months and their recent proposal to give up Syria's chemical weapons using a chess analogy.

I'd like to push my luck and do the same thing again but this time using a poker analogy for those poker players that more readily understand poker thought rather than chess thinking. Though both can be very sophisticated, they are very different ways of thinking. To me, chess is about reality, what is. It is about facts. Everything is on show including all the potentials if you have eyes to see them. There is nothing concealed and nothing is misrepresented. No bishop is suddenly going to be revealed as a pawn instead come showdown time. Whereas Poker is all about misrepresenting the facts; misrepresenting what is and creating doubt, uncertainty. These two fundamentally different viewpoints seem to accurately characterise the psychology and approach to politics of the two protagonists, Putin and Obama.

For any readers who are unfamiliar with poker rules and terminology and would like to follow along, there is a quick guide here.

One might understand the Russian leaders being better than their Americans counterparts at playing chess on the world political stage but there really should be no excuse for the Americans being outplayed at poker. Such is definitely the case, though.

The US has been playing its Syria hand like a poker player that has been winning all night from a good run of cards which has helped him bluff on those occasions when the cards have not come his way. Which has been way more often than the other players have suspected. Confidence is sky high.

Russia is more like a player at the table that has had a small stack of chips to play with at the beginning of the game and so has been cautious not to tangle with the stakes leader. But all the while Russia has been accumulating chips while observing closely this American and sussing his game.

So the hand that history and fate has determined is dealt. The two hole cards come first. Under the gun, Obama comes out betting big like he has aces wired. Though Putin is 'on the button' and has the advantage of being last to play, he just calls the bet. Obama straight away sees this as Putin having less than stellar cards and it shouldn't take much pressure to get him to fold, he thinks.

The 'flop', the first three of five community cards, comes face up on the table and shows king, jack and ten, all of diamonds. Obama, hoping Putin will think he has an ace of diamonds concealed in his hand to go with it (having just bet like he has Aces), bets the pot trying to represent a possible royal flush well under way which would be unbeatable. Again Putin just calls. Obama would feel better if indeed he did have pocket aces or just one ace or any diamond, for that matter. But he only has rags in his hand and no diamonds amongst them.

Still, he figures he will keep going with what has worked for him all night and bets the pot again. The stakes are getting high quickly. Everybody else drops out suddenly, apparently losing the taste for a fight, leaving Putin who quietly calls Obama's bet yet again.

The 'turn' comes and it is the queen of clubs which appears to help Obama with a straight but is no help for bluffing a royal flush, which is what he is trying to represent. But he reasons that it is just possible for Putin to wonder if he has both the ace and queen of diamonds in his hand and think he has made his hand already. Whatever, Obama knows he's a great player. After all, he has the chips in front of him to prove it. He's on a roll.

In for a penny, in for a pound, he bets the pot yet again. And Putin calmly calls him . . . . yet again. A little black cloud called 'doubt' appears on Obama's horizon. To settle himself, he starts talking up tough and confident to the railbirds some of whom are sensing that something is greatly amiss here. Meanwhile Putin remains the picture of calmness. Inscrutable. "Perhaps he's been talking to those bloody Chinese!"

The 'river' comes and it is the queen of spades. Two queens on the board now and neither of them a diamond with no more cards to come. Obama takes time out to consider his options while sounding as if he is using the time to make Putin sweat and hopefully fold at the next and final round of betting. But unfortunately, instead of using the time to review Putin's play, Obama gets caught up in the sound of his own voice and the thought of the royal flush he has been bluffing. It is almost real to him now. He figures even if Putin isn't going to buy the royal flush possibility, he sure looks good for an ace-high straight with one of those off suit queens adding to his king, jack and ten of diamonds showing. “It'll be good enough to cream this ruskie bozo”. He's about to reach for his chips when 'doubt' returns and asks, “Why has Vlad been so confident all along? He looks like a Cheshire cat”

“He's bluffing”, he answers quickly to reassure himself. But with those words he automatically tries to recall Putin bluffing during the night's play. It's a quick review because Putin hasn't played many hands all night. He can't think of a single instance of him bluffing. Shit! In fact, he can't remember Putin playing a hand where he didn't have at least a pair of queens in his hand to start with. “Shit! Shit!! He took that Georgian guy to the cleaners with them. Said he was going to string him up by the balls, now that I remember! Triple shit!!”

Putin has been enjoying the show so far because he knows that Obama can't have a royal flush and has known Obama was bluffing from the start. He knows this because he has had the queen of diamonds in his hand all along. It's right there next to his other concealed queen; the queen of hearts. This pair of pocket queens remind him of a pair of missile laden submarines below the surface of the Mediterranean Sea.

Queens may not be the top cards but they're close and, played with skill, they can win many a hand. He did indeed come in with a pair of queens and now there's another pair of queens on the board which he christens "International Law" and "World Public Opinion" giving him four of a kind and a 'lock' on the hand. He can't be beaten. Putin has been ahead the entire game and Obama is just starting to see this possibility. What to do? What to do???

Does he fold, keep what remains of his stake, and look like a fool and demolishing his ability to bluff into the future in the process? But he'll get to play another day.

Does he go all in with the rest of his stake and risk losing everything because Putin will call him as he has been calling all the way through? There's no recovery from that position. Not only won't he be able to bluff in future games, he won't be able to even play. It's getting worse!

Or does he make a 'limited' bet and hope Putin will let him off somehow? But how or why would Putin let him off the hook?

Putin, after all, has only three options if Obama ventures forth with a small 'limited' bet.
He could fold. “Nah, . . not gunna happen”, thinks Obama. “Even I can see he doesn't bluff now. He's been calling me all along. And, anyway, what are those ships doing there off the coast?”

Putin could raise in which case Obama has to fold or put all the rest of his money in – no, not good.

But Putin has not raised him throughout the hand. He has only called Obama's bets. “What if he does that? That's what he will do. Yeah. Hmmm, . . . still no good. I still lose that fat pot with all that money of mine in it”, he thinks. I can't afford to lose that. But I will still have some stake left to keep playing. But my credibility is in the toilet. . . . shit! And the money! . . . Those shylocks have expectations . . . which they never stop harping on. What am I going to pay them with? A pound of my flesh?”

Obama needs to remember the poker maxim that "once the money is in the pot, it's no longer yours". The goodwill and credibility that he has thrown away is gone. Throwing yet more good standing and credibility (and other people's lives) will not, by itself, retrieve what has gone. The only question Obama should be concerning himself with now is, “Do the odds favour me continuing to play?” And given that Putin has a 'lock' on the hand with Russia's missile technology plus having international law on his side and now together with the vast majority of the worlds public opinion, I'd say the answer is a no-brainer. But what a jam for a 'bought and paid for' man and for a prideful administration!

Of course, there is always hope for a miracle. One of Sun Tzu's principles of war is to leave your enemy an escape route (point 36) lest a fight to the death ensues which increases death and destruction for no compensating gain at all. Maybe Putin might just possibly, perhaps offer Obama a deal whereby they both step away from the table and have someone else, a third party, forfeit some chips instead to fatten the pot. Like Syria giving up its chemical weapons.

Putin could also offer that the two players agree between themselves not to turn their cards over for all to see – so no showdown and no military intervention in Syria; that Obama gets to take some of his chips back, courtesy of what Syria puts in and he can continue playing but Putin takes enough chips from the pot to become the unannounced chip leader and set the tone of play in the coming contests i.e. no more New World Order bravado bullshit from NATO et. al. (Can you hear someone at the Wailing Wall?)

Sounds like a plan to me. But will Obama and Friends have brains enough to see the opportunity Russia is graciously handing them on a plate? Or will their imperative to dominate cause them to let it slip through their fingers and with it any hope of salvaging what remains of their long planned for New American Century?

Your call Obama!


Busted Royal Flush

Brilliant text!!! And Obama can't keep a poker face either. LOL

Poker face

No, he can't keep a poker face, now you mention it. He can't hide his discomfort in Putin's presence, for instance.
Anyway, thanks for your comment and I'm glad you enjoyed the piece smiling It was fun writing it.


I loved it! Well conceived and well written!

The deck seems to know, too. You know what I mean? Putin's hand keeps getting better and better while Obama's getting no help at all. But still he keeps betting.

And the queens keep coming. So even if he held the Aces he was representing before the flop, he still would have lost. The tragedy is so rich.

Is it a coincidence that players who give away big stacks in such a way are called "donkeys"? Probably, but it's wonderful irony nonetheless.

Excellent piece. Thanks very much for this.

And best wishes too.

What were they thinking?

I'm really pleased you liked it WP. The more I worked on it the more associations that kept occurring to me. So many I couldn't really include or elaborate on. But the 'donkey' one escaped me completely. Good one!

I have always wondered about the state of (collective) mind of a political party that would adopt a donkey as its symbol. But then, when contemplating politics in the US, one finds oneself continually asking, "What were they thinking?"

McJ's picture

Aces Wired

Not being much of a poker player, I had someone explain the rules of Texas Holdem to me....so I could follow along. excellent! And I read the guide as well. Thanks for including the link for those of us that are 'poker challenged'.

Anyways....I get it...very clever and we'll written James...another ace for sure! And that is two aces in a row for you, with this post following on the heels of 'The Syrian Gambit'. Ya might even say, you have aces wired! Mr. Green

I wouldn't want to be betting against you James.....

Thanks McJ

Very kind words smiling

I wouldn't want to be betting against you James.....

Are you sure? Not even in a friendly game? cool

McJ's picture


Nah - you're a shark... sticking out tongue


Moi? . .. . hurt feelings . . . crying

McJ's picture

I don't think so...

rolling on the floor laughing

Great post

Really liked the poker analogy.

Hi Switters, thanks. Good to

Hi Switters, thanks. Good to see you're still around smiling

McJ's picture

Love the Pic

Perfect! rolling on the floor laughing rolling on the floor laughing rolling on the floor laughing

Al-Sisi is a Jew!

From Veterans Today-

"Monday, September 16th, 2013 | Posted by Kevin Barrett

Al-Sisi’s a Jew! Egypt is now Israeli-occupied territory

The Greater Israel Project – a long-standing Zionist scheme to steal all the land between the Nile and the Euphrates – is halfway there.

They just stole the Nile.

The problem is not that Egypt’s new thug-in-chief, General Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi, is a Jew. (His mother, Malikah Titani, is a Moroccan Jew from Asefi, which makes al-Sisi a Jew and an automatic citizen of Israel.)

The problem is that al-Sisi has concealed his Jewish identity and Israeli connections from the Egyptian people…and destroyed their nascent democracy through deception and mass murder.

An even bigger problem: al-Sisi is almost certainly a Mossad agent. That means al-Sisi’s Egypt is not just a brutal, banana-republic-style dictatorship. It is Israeli-occupied territory: The newest and largest province of ever-expanding Greater Israel.

No wonder the Israeli ambassador called al-Sisi “a national hero for all Jews.”

Al-Sisi’s uncle, Uri Sibagh (sometimes spelled as Sabbagh) served in the Jewish Defense League (Hamagein) from 1948 to 1950, made his aliyah to Israel, and became a bigwig in Ben Gurion’s political party, serving as the secretary of the Israeli Labor Party in Beersheba from 1968 to 1981. Uri’s sister – al-Sisi’s mother – presumably emigrated to Egypt on a mission from the Mossad. That mission culminated when the Mossad overthrew President Morsi and installed its agent al-Sisi in the coup d’état of July 3rd, 2013."

More at Veterans Today

well what do you know?

There's more than one way to skin a cat, as they say.

Speaking of "they", I wonder what "they" will say when they finally figure out that the whole "Arab Spring" was not an indigenous democratic movement but rather a carefully orchestrated terrorist attack carried out by the US and its Middle-Eastern partners in crime against humanity, namely Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Let there be light

Not sure what they'll say but that day of revelation must be getting close.

Whatever, I have thought since the Tahir square uprisings that Veterans Today have links with elements within the Egyptian military so I'm guessing al-Sisi will notice a precipitous drop in dinner invitations any day now.

McJ's picture

Rise of Russia: Historic victory for Russia

A good analysis and some interesting info from Arevordi at the Rise of Russia Blogspot.


"Make no mistake about it, this is a historic moment in global affairs. This is the first time in well over twenty years that the Western alliance has been dealt a significant blow by a rival superpower on the world stage.

Moreover, and more importantly, what happened in Syria heralds the rise of Russia as a global power. If the Russo-Georgian war in 2008 secured Moscow's primacy in the Caucasus, Syria has helped Moscow step onto the world stage as a major player.

A historic victory for Moscow 

While we don't yet know for sure exactly what it was that forced Washington to suddenly take a step back. What we do know for sure is that for the past several weeks Moscow's diplomatic corps, led by the Armenian Sergei Lavrov has been conquering hearts and minds around the world. 

By calling-off the military strike against Syria (even if temporarily), Washington has in effect placed Moscow in the driver's seat. Moscow's diplomatic corps has outclassed officials fielded by Anglo-American-Zionist alliance at every turn and the Russian military has stood-up against the best the West could deploy in the Mediterranean. Regardless of what happens going forward, this is a historic victory of great proportions for the Russian Federation. Russia today has suddenly become the encouraging voice the global community is impatiently waiting to hear." 


" Therefore, were the September 3 missile launches a limited, initial strike to assess Syria's air defenses and to assess reactions from Moscow and Tehran? Did Moscow decide to debut their new weapon system by bringing down the missiles? After all, Russian military officials were publicly claiming they would come to Bashar Assad's aid in the event of an attack and Bashar Assad was publicly stating that he was not expecting an attack by the US. Moreover, there had been closed-door meetings between Western and Russian officials in which Russian officials were said to have threatened against any military action against Syria. The following two articles may shed some light on the matter -

Unrevealed Secrets of Vladimir Putin’s Recent Visit to London: http://www.globalresearch.ca/russian-advanced-weapons-for-syria-unreveal...

Assad: We Have Weapons That Can Paralyze Israel: http://www.almanar.com.lb/english/adetails.php?eid=112584&cid=31&fromval...

"The Al Manar report about the September 3 incident makes the astonishing claim that Washington began seeking ways of putting a stop to its military operations against Syria immediately after its ballistic missiles were brought down into the sea by Russia.

I would like to emphasize that this is all speculation based on information provided by one news source from Lebanon. The report in question may very well be clever psy-ops (psychological warfare) put out by the Syrian government.

But, as previously mentioned, something very serious must have happened to have stopped Washington. The thing that made them call off their attack must have been more important than what warmongers in Washington wanted, more important than what Israeli, Saudi and Turkish officials wanted and more important than having the US look powerless against Bashar Assad's government. Let's remember that American hype (i.e. the way the US is perceived around the world) is one of the most important strategic aspects of Washingtonian politics. In fact, American hype drives much of Washington's power and influence around the world. Therefore, backing down from attacking Syria - especially at a time when being opposed by Moscow - was something Washington would not have done - unless it was faced with something very ominous, something that military officials in the US saw as a serious danger. Pulling back from a military strike against Syria made Washington look indecisive, weak and in the eyes of its bloodthirsty allies, treacherous. No matter how one looks at it, this was a very serious blow for imperial officials in Washington."

Like shooting fish in a barrel

Thanks for the quote and the link, McJ. It's a very insightful article, imnho. It may sound to some people like he is overstating the position of Russia compared to the US. But it is huge victory for Russia (and the rest of the world) and the end of the 'unipolar world'.

As the author says, something momentous must have happened to make the US turnabout on a dime. Something like dropping two american ballistic missiles out of the sky, maybe? Suddenly no more talk about a 'limited strike' against Syria. I wonder why nobody wants to talk about that? smiling

And now the Turks have lost another F16 to the Syrians.

McJ's picture

It certainly appears to be

It certainly appears to be the end of the 'unipolar world' and that theme is being picked up everywhere these days it seems. You were right. smiling

From Voltairenet:
The United States Feared No More
by Thierry Meyssan

"In 1991, the United States had considered that the end of their rival had freed their military budget and allowed them to develop their prosperity. President George H. Bush (the father) had, after Operation Desert Storm, begun to reduce the size of the armed forces. His successor, Bill Clinton, reinforced this trend. However, the Republican Congress elected in 1995 questioned this choice and imposed rearmament without an enemy to fight. The neo-conservatives lauched their country into world assault mode to create the first global empire.

It was only on the occasion of the attacks of September 11th, 2001 that President George W. Bush (the son) decided to invade successively Afghanistan and Iraq, Libya and Syria and Somalia and Sudan and to end with Iran before turning to China.

The military budget of the United States reached more than 40% of world military expenditures. However, this extravagance had an ending: the economic crisis forced Washington to cut back. In one year, the Pentagon has dismissed a fifth of its army and halted several of its research programs. This sharp decline is just beginning and it has already disrupted the whole system. It is clear that the United States, despite having power greater than the twenty largest countries of the world, including Russia and China, is not currently able to engage in large conventional wars.

Washington thus gave up on attacking Syria when the Russian fleet was deployed along the Mediterranean coast. The Pentagon would then have had to launch its Tomawak missiles from the Red Sea over Saudi Arabia and Jordan. Syria and its non-state allies would have answered with a regional war, plunging the United States into a conflict too big for it.

In an article published by the New York Times, President Putin opened fire. He stressed that "American exceptionalism" is an insult to the equality of humans and can only lead to catastrophy. At the podium of the United Nations, President Obama answered that no other nation, not even Russia, wanted to shoulder the burden of the United States. And if they were the police of the world, it was precisely to ensure equality of humans.

This intervention is not reassuring : the United States asserting itself as superior to the rest of the world and considering the equality of humans only as their subjects.

But the spell is broken. The President of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, drew ​​applause by demanding an apology from Washington for its universal espionage, while the President of the Swiss Confederation denounced the U.S. policy of force. The president of Bolivia, Evo Morales, evoqued the trying of his U.S. counterpart under international justice for crimes against humanity, while the Serbian President, Tomislav Nikolic, denounced the masquerade of international courts which prosecute only the enemies of the Empire etc. It has thus gone from criticism from a few anti-imperialist states to widespread revolt including Washington’s allies.

Never before has the authority of the masters of the world been so publicly challenged - a sign that after their Syrian retreat, they are no longer to be feared."

McJ's picture

Sub sinking

And then there are the reports of the sinking of that Israeli sub to consider with the subsequent alleged nuclear attack on Syria. I will see if I can dig up that link.

Here is VT's original post:

"A story out of Syria claiming it sunk a German built nuclear armed submarine operated by the government of Israel has not only been partially confirmed, but that a fully confirmed nuclear attack on Syria is now believed to have been Israeli retaliation for that sinking.

It is reported that the Israeli Dolphin submarine, a German built diesel/electric craft, was attacked and sunk by a Syrian Navy torpedo boat at 2:30 AM, May 2, 2013 while at a depth of 150 meters.  Prior to the sinking, a ship operated by Germany’s intelligence services had been in the area.

After the reported, or should we say “unreported” sinking of the Israeli submarine and the equally “unreported” nuclear attack on Syria, a large contingent of Russian naval vessels moved into area.

Evidence is piling up, backing this scenario as one where Russia was forced to use its military capabilities to stabilize the region and defuse a wider conflict.

The video analysis of the nuclear attack, two days after the reported sinking, is conclusive."


McJ's picture

Putin's speech at the Valdai Club

Putin's speech at the Valdai Club Sept. 2013 - starts at 5:30 min.

Putin's NYT Op-Ed: in English vs. in Russian

Very interesting little piece from Michele A. Berdy via the St Petersburg Times

Those were significant

Those were significant changes and omissions, WP. I must admit it seemed very odd to me that the NYT would publish an op-ed piece from Putin without qualification or some sort of diminishment involved on their part.

Now it seems there was editing going on. But I find it strange that Putin would supply an important piece like this to the NYT written in Russian, which is the implication from the news article.

McJ's picture

I like the Russian version

I like the Russian version better.

" But I find it strange that Putin would supply an important piece like this to the NYT written in Russian, which is the implication from the news article."

Perhaps, they supplied both an English and a Russian version.

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