Poker Part of Illinois Governor Scandal

Written by:
Thomas Somach
Published on:

Once again, the game of poker has shown itself to be a vital part of American life by being connected to a big story in the news.

Poker, part of the fabric of America, has some tangential connection to almost everything of consequence that happens, it seems.

This time, it's the political scandal involving the Governor of Illinois in the USA, who earlier this week was arrested for, among other things, trying to solicit bribes in exchange for political appointments.

Most notably, the Governor, Rod Blagojevich, was taped by the U.S. Feds trying to sell an Illinois U.S. Senate seat to the highest bidder.

The seat, currently held by Barack Obama, will be vacated when Obama becomes U.S. President in January and under Illinois law, the Governor picks the replacement Senator, who serves until the next election.

According to news reports about the scandal, a telephone call involving Blagojevich that was taped by the Feds involved the Governor talking in poker metaphors.

An FBI affidavit connected to the case reveals that Blagojevich is heard in one recorded phone call talking about a promise of a payoff from an emissary of U.S. Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., who is the son of the civil rights leader and who was interested in being promoted to the Senate, news reports said.

"We were approached to pay to play," Blagojevich says on the tape. "That, you know, he'd raise me 500 grand. An emissary came. Then the other guy would raise a million, if I made him (Jackson) a Senator."

He'd raise me 500 grand? The other guy would raise a million? What, nobody calling to go all-in?

Just another example of how poker usually has some role in big news events.

During the recent Presidential election in the U.S., there were numerous stories about Obama's poker-playing prowess during his days as a State Senator.

And earlier this year, Joran van der Sloot, the suspected murderer of American high school student Natalee Holloway in Aruba, was tricked by a pal into revealing in front of a hidden camera how he disposed of her body. The stunt was part of a Dutch television broadcast. It was noted in the show that the pal had befriended van der Sloot after meeting him in a Dutch casino while both were playing poker.

In addition, last year, it was revealed that a Korean college student who shot up the campus of Virginia Tech University and killed numerous students had earlier written a play for his college writing class about video poker.

Thomas Somach,

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