President Poker-Player: Obama's Tell

Poker is a game of odds.  There are high-probability hands and low-probability hands.  As one would expect, lower-probability hands, such as a full house, trump – are stronger than – higher-probability hands.  The player with the stronger hand wins over the player holding the weaker hand.

Or not?

In poker, or any number of other games where human beings play not just against the odds, but against each other, and no player knowing what cards the other players hold, a weak hand can, in fact, beat a higher hand if the player with the weaker hand is able to trick the other player into thinking the weak player's hand is stronger than it really is – in other words, a bluff.

In poker, it is not enough to read one's cards; one must also read the other players.

The best poker players constantly are on the lookout for clues in the opposing players' behavior for signs that reveal the opposing players' true position.  They look for "tells":

We don't ever know for sure how good or bad another player's hand is, often until it's too late.  But ... we sometimes receive clues from other players, based on changes in their betting patterns or their physical demeanour[.] ...

Poker tells that may indicate a strong hand

•   Fluid speech.

•   Shaking hands.

•   Full relaxed lips.

•   A full, ear to ear, relaxed smile.

•   Eyes open, not blinking. ...

Poker tells that may indicate a weak hand

•   Incoherent, forced, high pitched, slow, broken, or unnatural speech.

•   Holding breath and not moving.

•   Putting chips into the pot with great force.

•   Staring right at you.  (Strength means weakness.)

These are just a few of many tells that a shrewd poker player will look for in the other players' eyes, faces, mannerisms, method of play, etc.

Tells exist not only in poker.  There are political and geopolitical tells, too.  Take, for example, former president Obama's recent statement reacting to President Trump's May 8 announcement that Trump was withdrawing from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) (emphasis added):

Walking away from the JCPOA turns our back on America's closest allies, and an agreement that our country's leading diplomats, scientists, and intelligence professionals negotiated[.]

"Closest allies" – such as these guys?

That was 15 year ago.  And today?

Plus ça change...!  Well, except there may be more weasels this time than last time – and all the years in between, as our so-called closest allies have increasingly voted against us in the United Nations.

With "closest allies" like these, who needs enemies?

Hardly surprising, then, that all of our supposed closest allies voted against us on Jerusalem.

On second thought, make that almost all.  For, as Orwell might say, à la Animal Farm, though we (supposedly) have many "closest allies," some closest allies are "more closest" than others. 

Shortly after the Jerusalem vote, a visibly angry U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley said she would be "taking names" of those nations that claimed to be our friend with one hand while betraying us with the other.  But what is the one name Nikki Haley will not have to take?  Which country has consistently proved to be our true closest ally, standing staunchly beside us when other of our so-called closest allies abandoned us?  Who has consistently voted with us in the United Nations, while our other "closest allies" voted against us?

Israel – that's who.  Israel – America's closest ally.  Bar none.

But not close enough to make Barack Obama's list of "closest allies" in the above quote.  Obama's excluding Israel from his list of "closest allies" is a major "tell": without explicitly saying so, Obama is telling the world he does not consider Israel one of our closest allies.

The former president continues (emphasis added):

[T]he JCPOA was not just an agreement between my Administration and the Iranian government ... together with the United Kingdom, France, Germany, the European Union, Russia, China, and Iran.

But not "together with" Israel – or, for that matter, with any of our (though not, apparently, in Obama's view) allies, who, if not, in Obama's thinking, "closest allies," are certainly physically located "closest" to Iran and, therefore, would be significantly more threatened by a nuclear Iran.

The JCPOA, notwithstanding the participation of Russia, which shares a border with Iran, was, essentially, a deal negotiated and agreed by the countries relatively distant from, and therefore less endangered, by a nuclear Iran, including two countries, Russia and China, that are not even allies, let alone close, let alone closest allies, while excluding our true allies and one of our closest allies, Israel.

It is also clear, from the second above quote, that without actually coming out and saying so, Obama is fine with working with Russia, China, and so-called closest allies who vote against us in the U.N. to appease Iran while throwing our Middle Eastern allies under the bus.  Indeed, he is proud of that.  Another tell.

When, finally, Obama deigns to mention Israel and the friendly Arab states (emphasis added):

We were clear-eyed that Iran engages in destabilizing behavior – including support for terrorism, and threats toward Israel and its neighbors.

...he lumps all our Middle Eastern allies, except Israel, into a collective reference to "[Israel's] neighbors."  But more important, while paying lip service to recognizing Iran's "support for terrorism, and threats toward Israel and its neighbors," he clearly does not take such support and threats seriously.  Certainly, he saw no need to address them in the JCPOA – unlike, by the way, the current president, who has made it clear that any new deal must address all of Iran's destabilizing actions.

"[T]hreats toward Israel," in the context of Obama's statement, is meant to make us believe that Barack Obama actually cares about "Israel and its neighbors."  But the tell says different.

Regardless of anything Barack Obama said, says, or may say in the future, the JCPOA's purpose was never to reduce, let alone remove, the Iranian threat to "Israel and its neighbors" or to prevent the Persian state from building a nuclear weapon.  The JCPOA's purpose was to remove the sanctions that, remember, Obama opposed and threatened to veto even before the JCPOA, and to appease, enable, and empower Iran.

Obama's tells prove it.

Gene Schwimmer is a New York and New Jersey licensed real estate broker and author of The Christian State.

Poker is a game of odds.  There are high-probability hands and low-probability hands.  As one would expect, lower-probability hands, such as a full house, trump – are stronger than – higher-probability hands.  The player with the stronger hand wins over the player holding the weaker hand.

Or not?

In poker, or any number of other games where human beings play not just against the odds, but against each other, and no player knowing what cards the other players hold, a weak hand can, in fact, beat a higher hand if the player with the weaker hand is able to trick the other player into thinking the weak player's hand is stronger than it really is – in other words, a bluff.

In poker, it is not enough to read one's cards; one must also read the other players.

The best poker players constantly are on the lookout for clues in the opposing players' behavior for signs that reveal the opposing players' true position.  They look for "tells":

We don't ever know for sure how good or bad another player's hand is, often until it's too late.  But ... we sometimes receive clues from other players, based on changes in their betting patterns or their physical demeanour[.] ...

Poker tells that may indicate a strong hand

•   Fluid speech.

•   Shaking hands.

•   Full relaxed lips.

•   A full, ear to ear, relaxed smile.

•   Eyes open, not blinking. ...

Poker tells that may indicate a weak hand

•   Incoherent, forced, high pitched, slow, broken, or unnatural speech.

•   Holding breath and not moving.

•   Putting chips into the pot with great force.

•   Staring right at you.  (Strength means weakness.)

These are just a few of many tells that a shrewd poker player will look for in the other players' eyes, faces, mannerisms, method of play, etc.

Tells exist not only in poker.  There are political and geopolitical tells, too.  Take, for example, former president Obama's recent statement reacting to President Trump's May 8 announcement that Trump was withdrawing from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) (emphasis added):

Walking away from the JCPOA turns our back on America's closest allies, and an agreement that our country's leading diplomats, scientists, and intelligence professionals negotiated[.]

"Closest allies" – such as these guys?

That was 15 year ago.  And today?

Plus ça change...!  Well, except there may be more weasels this time than last time – and all the years in between, as our so-called closest allies have increasingly voted against us in the United Nations.

With "closest allies" like these, who needs enemies?

Hardly surprising, then, that all of our supposed closest allies voted against us on Jerusalem.

On second thought, make that almost all.  For, as Orwell might say, à la Animal Farm, though we (supposedly) have many "closest allies," some closest allies are "more closest" than others. 

Shortly after the Jerusalem vote, a visibly angry U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley said she would be "taking names" of those nations that claimed to be our friend with one hand while betraying us with the other.  But what is the one name Nikki Haley will not have to take?  Which country has consistently proved to be our true closest ally, standing staunchly beside us when other of our so-called closest allies abandoned us?  Who has consistently voted with us in the United Nations, while our other "closest allies" voted against us?

Israel – that's who.  Israel – America's closest ally.  Bar none.

But not close enough to make Barack Obama's list of "closest allies" in the above quote.  Obama's excluding Israel from his list of "closest allies" is a major "tell": without explicitly saying so, Obama is telling the world he does not consider Israel one of our closest allies.

The former president continues (emphasis added):

[T]he JCPOA was not just an agreement between my Administration and the Iranian government ... together with the United Kingdom, France, Germany, the European Union, Russia, China, and Iran.

But not "together with" Israel – or, for that matter, with any of our (though not, apparently, in Obama's view) allies, who, if not, in Obama's thinking, "closest allies," are certainly physically located "closest" to Iran and, therefore, would be significantly more threatened by a nuclear Iran.

The JCPOA, notwithstanding the participation of Russia, which shares a border with Iran, was, essentially, a deal negotiated and agreed by the countries relatively distant from, and therefore less endangered, by a nuclear Iran, including two countries, Russia and China, that are not even allies, let alone close, let alone closest allies, while excluding our true allies and one of our closest allies, Israel.

It is also clear, from the second above quote, that without actually coming out and saying so, Obama is fine with working with Russia, China, and so-called closest allies who vote against us in the U.N. to appease Iran while throwing our Middle Eastern allies under the bus.  Indeed, he is proud of that.  Another tell.

When, finally, Obama deigns to mention Israel and the friendly Arab states (emphasis added):

We were clear-eyed that Iran engages in destabilizing behavior – including support for terrorism, and threats toward Israel and its neighbors.

...he lumps all our Middle Eastern allies, except Israel, into a collective reference to "[Israel's] neighbors."  But more important, while paying lip service to recognizing Iran's "support for terrorism, and threats toward Israel and its neighbors," he clearly does not take such support and threats seriously.  Certainly, he saw no need to address them in the JCPOA – unlike, by the way, the current president, who has made it clear that any new deal must address all of Iran's destabilizing actions.

"[T]hreats toward Israel," in the context of Obama's statement, is meant to make us believe that Barack Obama actually cares about "Israel and its neighbors."  But the tell says different.

Regardless of anything Barack Obama said, says, or may say in the future, the JCPOA's purpose was never to reduce, let alone remove, the Iranian threat to "Israel and its neighbors" or to prevent the Persian state from building a nuclear weapon.  The JCPOA's purpose was to remove the sanctions that, remember, Obama opposed and threatened to veto even before the JCPOA, and to appease, enable, and empower Iran.

Obama's tells prove it.

Gene Schwimmer is a New York and New Jersey licensed real estate broker and author of The Christian State.