You can draw analogies to poker for almost any human enterprise that involves high stakes and competition — politics falling handily into that category.
Obama is a pretty good poker player but he has a major flaw — when he gets a good stack in front of him he grows cautious, you might even say cowardly. This is a disastrous strategy, because your opponents, if they’re any good, will read it eventually and start bluffing you off every hand. You’ll start bleeding away blinds and small bets until your stack is not so good anymore.
Obama reverted to cautious mode in the 2008 primary race every time his chances started looking good. The Clintons, who are very sharp poker players, would then start hammering him, without provoking a strong response, until his chances stopped looking so good.
But Obama is a great short-stack player. He hates to lose and eventually regains his gumption.
He was playing cautiously in the first debate with Romney, letting Romney bluff him off every hand, and his stack diminished accordingly.
If history is any judge, Obama will now start calling Romney’s bluffs and raising the stakes, forcing Romney to take bigger and bigger chances, and it will probably work for him, as it did in 2008.
Romney does nothing but bluff, on every hand, overplaying even the good cards he’s dealt. That’s not a winning strategy, either, unless you’re playing against wimps. Obama looked like a wimp at the debate, but Romney will make a huge mistake if he thinks that’s all there is to Obama’s game.