While names like Phil Ivey and Daniel Negreanu often come up in the list of best poker players of all time in the states, we got a bunch of U.S. presidents who are associated with this game deeply and have played several poker tournaments.

To the surprise of many, Poker also had a profound effect on a number of well-known Presidents i.e. even they weren’t spared by the game. Poker is after all very much an American game.

This was perhaps because the poker strategies in the game would overlap with those subsumed in politics. For many presidents, playing poker was the favourite pastime. Many of them did not want their love for poker to be publicized as it may lead to political damage, but still their poker- stories became quite prominent.

So, here are the best Poker players who have presided in the United States.

George Washington

The first president of the United states of America, George Washington, used to arrange private cash games by creating a sort of poker casino in his tent during the American Revolution.

He was criticized for wasting time at the Poker table as a young officer. His approach to betting and cards was disciplined and diligent. He would take valiant but calculated chances. He was the first aggressive player to ever play the game.

Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt was the 26th President of the USA. He was also one of the most intellectual and knowledgeable presidents of the USA. He had a flair for sports and would swim, hike, box, horse ride and would play card games. It is said that Roosevelt started playing Poker at smoky saloons in New York, where private games were often held

Franklin D. Roosevelt

The 32nd President of the USA, Franklin D Roosevelt played nickel-ante Stud and HORSE in the White House throughout his three terms and was one of the best poker players out there. FDR brought back the poker playing tradition with low-stake games a number of times in a week that was mostly nickel-ante stud.

Some say they have even heard FDR riffling chips during his well-known radio “Fireside chats”. Just like Theodore (FDR’s 5th cousin) he also employed a poker metaphor to describe his “new deal” series of programs. These aimed at promoting recovery from  the depression.

Richard Nixon

A Navy Lieutenant during the Pacific theater of WWII, Richard Nixon was the 37th president of the United States of America and is touted to be one of the best poker players. He mastered the game of poker, beating fellow sailors for $8000 in Stud cash and 5 card draw. He used the fund and his stunning reputation to fund a Congressional campaign.

He once quoted, “If you take no risks, you will suffer no defeats, but if you take no risks you win no victories”.

Barack Obama

Barack Obama acquired skill in the game as a kid in High school and used to play poker with his classmates and grandfather and he is not just a poker player but a passionate poker player! He knows a different variety of the games including- draw, Texas Hold’em, stud poker and more exotic forms.

Obama started becoming a regular player of the game in 1977 in Illinois, hosted at the home of Senator Terry Links. Here, the lobbyists and politicians used to assemble for a casual, low-stakes game. Both Democrats and Republicans would take the pressure off with jokes, relaxed chats, and political discussions were completely avoided. 

Many have described Obama’s playing style to be tight and cautious. Hope the names you thought appeared in this list. Among other names who sat in the White House, Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower and Warren Harding also enjoyed playing poker.

Harding played twice a week and is said to have lost an entire set of china from the White House on a wager in the game.

Among the other presidents who played poker were Ulysses S. Grant, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman and Barack Obama.

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