Richard Nixon learned to play poker long before he became President of the United States, and then became the first and only president in history to resign. By doing so, he may have verified the view of one of his Whittier College teachers, Albert Upton, who was reportedly quoted as saying that “a man who can’t handle a hand at a first-class poker table is unqualified to be President of the United States.”
Here are a few lesser-known tales about Tricky Dick discusses poker at the White House. Check this out!
Tricky Dick Discusses Poker : Nixon as an Amateur Player
Some claim Nixon initially learned poker as a youngster while spending summers tending the “Wheel of Fortune” at a rodeo in Arizona. Others believe he was introduced to the game later such as Tricky Dick discusses poker.
Nixon’s Quaker background would imply that he avoided card playing as a child. But Nixon had probably played poker by the time he graduated from Whittier and enrolled at Duke Law School. Nixon applied to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for the post of Special Agent in the spring of 1937, just a few months after receiving his law degree.
Nixon had an in-person interview with FBI Inspector Special Agent in Charge J.H. Hanson later that summer, when he was back in California.
Nixon Interviewed by FBI
Hanson’s interview notes recognize Nixon’s lack of investigative experience while still recommending him as a suitable candidate with “above average intelligence and mental attentiveness.” Hanson also remarked on Nixon’s tidy look, limited typing abilities, and the fact that he only drank “an occasional social glass of booze.”
Finally, under the title “recreations and tastes,” Hanson included Nixon’s enjoyment of handball, swimming, attending to the movies, dancing, and reading, as well as one additional hobby poker such as Tricky Dick discusses poker game.
Tricky Dick Discusses Poker: Did Nixone Really Enter FBI?
Nixon was not hired by the FBI. Over the following five years, he’d pass the bar, marry, work for a Whittier legal firm, then go to Washington, D.C. with wife Pat to work for the Office of Price Administration.
He enlisted in the Navy in August 1942, at the age of 29, and the following year found himself working as a passenger control officer for the South Pacific Combat Air Transport Command.
He’d eventually be promoted to lieutenant, and in January 1944, he and his group were sent to the USS Bougainville, which served as a stopover for pilots traveling to and from fighting missions.
He’d also serve on adjacent Nissan Island, also known as Green Island, until July 1944, when he was ordered back to the United States, where he’d remain for the balance of the war.
Most Nixon biographers claim that he initially played poker while in the Navy, especially when stationed in the South Pacific. In fact, when asked about Tricky Dick discusses poker, Nixon would say as much. At least, that’s what he told Earl Mazo, the author of an early biography published not long before Nixon ran for president for the first time in 1960.
“I never understood what poker was until I joined the Navy,” Nixon said of Mazo, who, like many others who have written about Nixon over the years, accepted the allegation without doubt.
Many years later, during the Senate Watergate Committee hearings, Sen.
Howard Baker would be the one to ask what would become for many the most significant and unforgettable inquiry about the break-ins at the Democratic National Committee headquarters and subsequent efforts by Nixon and members of the White House staff to conceal their participation.
Tricky Dick Discusses Poker Strategy from Nixon
We may reword Baker’s famous question and apply it to Nixon’s poker knowledge. Such as what did he know, and when did he find out about Tricky Dick discusses Poker strategy in the Pacific Ocean
Even if Nixon played poker before joining the Navy, it’s reasonable to assume he never took it as seriously as he did during his months in the South Pacific. Those about Nixon’s seeming talent at poker abound, as do stories about his stealing thousands of dollars from his fellow officers.
Nixon would modestly admit in his memoirs that “my poker playing at this time has been substantially exaggerated in terms of both my skill and wins.”
Even so, he wouldn’t need much prodding later in life to remind people of how he’d won up to 10,000 USD in five-card stud and five-card draw games.
Nixon studied poker strategies with zeal, drawing on the same work ethic he shown in college and law school, and receiving some guidance from his bunkmate Jimmy Stewart (not the actor), with whom he helped head the SCAT detachment.
“I spotted Nick buried in his thoughts one day,” Stewart subsequently told another Nixon historian.
Tricky Dick Discusses Poker : Nixon Focused on an Issue
Finally, he said, ‘Is there any certain technique to win in poker by Tricky Dick discusses poker?’ I indicated that while I didn’t know of a guaranteed technique to win, I did have a hypothesis about playing draw poker.”
Stewart’s approach was to play a close game “that one must never stay in unless he thinks he has everyone defeated at the moment of the draw.” Nixon realized what he was doing, and the two “played two-handed poker without money for four or five days, until he had learned the different moves.”
It’s hard to say how much Nixon earned at poker while serving in the Pacific, but letters home to Pat show he was sending money home on a regular basis, and most biographers believe he used at least part of his earnings to help fund his first Congressional campaign in 1946.
Prior to that first campaign, Nixon and Pat’s “net worth was 10,000 USD, a mix of what I had saved from my Navy pay, my poker wins in the South Pacific, and Pat’s work” while he was away, according to one of his later memoirs, In the Arena”.
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