on the Republican primary in Florida tonight Tom Brokaw used a poker
analogy to describe Mike Huckabee's current position in the race —
“He's holding a pair of twos.”  In other words, he doesn't have a
premium hand, especially compared to what the other players at the
table are holding, but it's still a hand.  What Brokaw was getting
at was that Huckabee, by taking votes from Romney among “values voters”
in the Southern states, could still affect the race in a decisive way
and earn political capital in the process, specifically with John
McCain, who might seriously consider Huckabee as a running mate.

That got me to thinking about what hole cards the other candidates are
holding at present (thoughts that admittedly won't make much sense
unless you know the game of Texas Hold-em.)

On the Republican side, of the three players still in the pot,
has his ducks (a pair of twos), McCain has cowboys (a pair of kings)
and Romney has jack-ten suited — or maybe jack-ten unsuited, or maybe
jack-queen suited, or maybe . . . well, with Romney it's hard to be
more precise — apparently he has a bunch of mediocre cards up his
sleeve which he can play at will.  In any case, McCain has a
made hand and Romney
is on a draw.  Romney has enough chips in front of him to call
McCain down to the river but he's chasing.

On the democratic side, Hillary is holding big slick, ace-king, and
Obama is holding little slick, ace-queen.  If neither hand
improves, Hillary wins.  Obama has to catch a queen and Hillary
has to miss catching another king.  For Obama, a queen would be a
last-minute surge next Tuesday that keeps the delegate count close and
convinces the old-guard Democratic party hacks that he has an unstoppable
momentum which it would be too costly to get in the way of.

We'll see the flop in both games on Tsunami Tuesday.

In the big game, the general election in November, it will be heads-up
(probably).  If it's Clinton against McCain, Hillary will be
holding seven-two off-suit and John will still have his cowboys, his
two kings.  Only a miracle would give the pot to Clinton.  If
it's Obama against McCain, Obama will be holding two queens against
McCain's two tens.  Obama would have the edge, but McCain could
still get lucky, catch another ten and take it down.

Either way, we've got some interesting poker up ahead.