View Full Version : McCain unlucky at craps

Ian McColgin
10-09-2008, 06:30 PM
McCain is an acknowledged recreational gambler risking "a few thousand" at a time in Las Vegas, Mississippi river boats, Foxwoods and points in between. Unlike fellow senatorial gamblers like Judd Gregg, McCain has not reported any winnings.

Federal law requires that winnings (even if more than off-set by other losses) must be declared on a Senator's annual financial disclosure forms.

We must conclude that since he surely would not commit a crime that could subject him to jail time, McCain must be preternaturally unlucky.

10-09-2008, 06:34 PM
Preternatural, eh? Is there a natural level of luck?

10-09-2008, 06:35 PM
You don't understand, Ian. It's not McCain's money, so he doesn't have to report it.

And since the campaign won't release Cindy's tax returns, we can't find out whether it's been reported on them.

capt jake
10-09-2008, 06:42 PM
"Dear, can I have some more money? I lost the last bit. Please?" LOL

Ian McColgin
10-09-2008, 06:47 PM
Not on tax returns. It's a law applying to representative and senatorial financial reporting. Winnings must be reported as gifts.

Money a senator gets from someone else for gambling purposes is another gift.

On the average over years average gamblers lose at least the house edge. But within that trend, it's not statistically likely that someone who gambles a few thousand a few times a year for many years would lose at every sitting. If that's really McCain's luck, the dude's a cooler of the first order and really should not be allowed anywhere near the national luck.

10-09-2008, 07:01 PM
If that's really McCain's luck, the dude's a cooler of the first order and really should not be allowed anywhere near the national luck.

Better vote against him, then.:p

capt jake
10-09-2008, 07:18 PM
Better vote against him, then.:p

Not a problem....

Nicholas Scheuer
10-09-2008, 07:20 PM
I had posted a thread on this subject a couple of weeks ago, Ian.

Pbama, OTOH, plays poker, something he used in Springfield as a new State Senator to develope friendships on both sides of the aisle in the State Capital.

Wonder whether the craps mentality explains why McCain continued his bomb run, despite the electronic warning that his aircraft had been "locked on" by enemy missile radar, while other pilots in his group broke off their engagement following similar warnings. (see "Flight Training" thread)

Moby Nick

10-09-2008, 07:50 PM
More likely the craps mentality helped him think his Keating friends were a good idea.

Ian McColgin
10-09-2008, 08:32 PM
Actually McCain has had some good luck. For example, the Senate lacked jurisdiction to punish him for the Keating travel money he got because he was a representative at the time and the House lacked jurisdiction because when the scandal broke he was a senator, no longer in the House.

McCain eventually paid Keating back from left-over campaign funds.

Timing is everything.

Captain Blight
10-09-2008, 08:36 PM
I'm sure some pschyrynck somewhere has published a paper on the differences between types of people and the types of gambling they do. For myself, I'm a poker player (Draw or stud, that Texas Hold 'Em is another game entirely that just happens to use poker scoring). The few times I played craps I was just left cold. I can see, however, how somebody could get hooked on the feeling that one roll of the bones could change your whole future.

10-09-2008, 08:48 PM
Oh, I dunno... McCain may be luckier than it appears on his tax records...

McCain's Gambling Problem: Campaign Has Massive Ties To Gambling Industry
Senator John McCain was on a roll. In a room reserved for high-stakes gamblers at the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut, he tossed $100 chips around a hot craps table. When the marathon session ended around 2:30 a.m., the Arizona senator and his entourage emerged with thousands of dollars in winnings…


Nicholas Scheuer
10-09-2008, 08:51 PM
It was just such an "expert" I heard on NPR some weeks ago, Capt Blight.

He published something comparing gambling mentalities conspicuous in various games in connection with politicians.

Moby Nick

10-09-2008, 09:40 PM
At the Craps Tables With John McCain

by Michael Kinsley
(javascript:void(0)) RSS
(http://media.thedailybeast.com/dailybeast/live/ext/rss/author/michael-kinsley/rss_michael-kinsley.xml) http://media.thedailybeast.com/dailybeast/live/files/2008/10/08/img-author-photo-michael-kinsley_162400881029.jpgMichael Kinsley is a columnist for Time magazine. He was founding Editor of Slate. He has been Editor of The New Republic & Harper's, Editorial & Opinion Editor of the Los Angeles Times, American editor of The Economist, and Managing Editor of the Washington Monthly. He has written for numerous publications including the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, the New Yorker, and Condé Nast Traveler. For 6 years he was co-host of CNN’s "Crossfire."
X Close (javascript:void(0))

http://media.thedailybeast.com/dailybeast/live/files/2008/10/08/img-author-photo-michael-kinsley_162400881029.jpg (javascript:showCheatImage('http://media.thedailybeast.com/dailybeast/live/files/2008/10/08/img-author-photo-michael-kinsley_162400881029.jpg'))How the Senator Lost it at a Puerto Rican Casino
For this entire presidential campaign, the media have been waiting for John McCain’s famous temper to explode. A few small examples have been reported without anyone trying to make a big deal about it. The rule seems to be that if he can keep it bottled until November 5, he’s home free. But if he explodes in the interim, it becomes an official issue. This isn’t completely nuts. If he can’t hold it in for just the few months he is under maximum scrutiny, then he has a real problem. Otherwise, hey—Bill Clinton also had a temper, it was said, along with other uncontrollable passions.
Until recently this anger business didn’t bother me much. There is a lot to be angry about. Furthermore, I was not confident that McCain’s anger passed the whose-ox-is-gored test: As an Obama supporter, would I be equally alarmed if my preferred candidate had anger issues? (Which some folks say he does, by the way.) Then I heard the following story.

It comes in an email from my friend Jeff Dearth, a media investment banker and former publisher of The New Republic. We also went to junior high and high school together in Michigan. He would not make this up. In 2005, Jeff attended a magazine industry conference at a casino hotel in Puerto Rico. (I was there, too, though not a witness to what follows.) The guest speaker was McCain. He put on a terrific performance, breaking up the friendly crowd by referring to journalists as “my base.” (To anyone who remembers this period in McCain’s history, his attempt this year to paint Barack Obama as Britney Spears or Paris Hilton because Obama is now the media darling seems especially cheap.)
McCain’s game is craps. So is Jeff Dearth’s. Jeff was at the table when McCain showed up and happily made room for him. Apparently there is some kind of rule or tradition in craps that everyone’s hands are supposed to be above the table when the dice are about to be thrown. McCain—“very likely distracted by one of the many people who approached him that evening,” Jeff says charitably—apparently was violating this rule. A small middle-aged woman at the table, apparently a “regular,” reached out and pulled McCain’s arm away. I’ll let Jeff take over the story:
“McCain immediately turned to the woman and said between clenched teeth: ‘DON’T TOUCH ME.’ The woman started to explain...McCain interrupted her: ‘DON’T TOUCH ME,’ he repeated viciously. The woman again tried to explain. ‘DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM? DO YOU KNOW WHO YOU’RE TALKING TO?’ McCain continued, his voice rising and his hands now raised in the ‘bring it on’ position. He was red-faced. By this time all the action at the table had stopped. I was completely shocked. McCain had totally lost it, and in the space of about ten seconds. ‘Sir, you must be courteous to the other players at the table,’ the pit boss said to McCain. “DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM? ASK ANYBODY AROUND HERE WHO I AM.”
This being Puerto Rico, the pit boss might not have known McCain. But the senator continued in full fury—“DO YOU KNOW WHO YOU’RE TALKING TO? DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?”—and crisis was avoided only when Jeff offered to change places and stand between McCain and the woman who had touched his arm.
What is bothersome about this story, if it’s true, is only partly the explosive anger. More, it’s the arrogance. At the craps table, who cares who he is? And there’s the recklessness of such a performance in a casino full of journalists (unless McCain absolutely couldn’t control himself, which is even scarier). But this gamble paid off. Although there were published reports that McCain had gambled late into the night, which properly treated that matter as charming, this particular episode has gone unreported until now. Maybe no journalist saw it. Or maybe this illustrates the unwritten rule of political journalism that all human-interest anecdotes must reaffirm a previously established belief. Arrogance is something McCain is not known for. Quite the opposite. Logic might dictate that an anecdote showing that, say, Obama has webbed feet would be more interesting than one showing that he is a skinny guy with big ears. But that’s not how it works.
Jeff Dearth is not an extreme partisan or an activist for either candidate. He supports Obama, in part because he is truly alarmed at the thought of the arrogant hothead he saw becoming president. (“I’d happily gamble with Senator McCain again,” he says, “but I definitely wouldn’t gamble on him.”) It alarms me, too. John McCain is the best Republican presidential candidate of my lifetime. But a performance like this would give me pause about supporting a candidate of either party.

10-09-2008, 11:42 PM
I suspect that McCain plays craps because he doesn't want to pay that much attention to the other players, and knows that he can't control his face or body tells. It's something to do while chatting with those around him.

I suspect that Obama plays poker because he thinks he can read other people, and thinks he can control his face and body tells. It's a way of showing that he's better than his opponents. He may be.

Two very different approaches to life.

I used to play bridge for money, long ago, won, and quit. I don't think I've gambled for more than a dollar or two in the last thirty years. There's no fun in it.

10-10-2008, 01:04 AM
Truman played poker. Have we ever had a craps playing president?

I'm guessing he wins sometimes. He ought to report it. Where gambling is concerned, we need to know who paid off, and who a candidate owes. Hell, we need to know that where gambling isn't concerned, too.

I hear Obama plays for small stakes, more of a social player. Has he reported any winnings?

10-10-2008, 01:36 AM
Given McCains history in prison with broken arms I could imagine having his arms moved without warning could illicit a strong reaction. The words really could be immaterial, just a vehicle for the surprise.

10-10-2008, 06:19 AM
Clearly, not only from that anecdote but also from the myriad others, McCain is carrying a load of PTSD around. However, it's aggravated by what the Rolling Stone article characterizes as a deeply choleric temperment and an family value system which idolized that sort of personality.

People whose essential personality is repelled by fighting are not attracted to the military.

10-10-2008, 07:49 AM
People whose family history is deeply tied to the military might not discover that they are repelled by fighting until long after their military career is over. There's also the fallacy that those in the military have a love of fighting; this is not true (mostly true for Marines, but they are a small part of the military.)

10-10-2008, 01:09 PM
My father, a career Air Force navigator, has a strong dislike of guns and doesn't like fighting. He was an excellent navigator-bombardier, a steady leader, and not one to pick fights. In many ways, it's better to have a steady temperament and a good intellect if you are going to be a military officer. Having grown up in the military, I can tell you a volatile temper is not a sought-for character trait in an officer.