Putin Has Gone From a Chess Player to a Poker Player Trying to Call the US, Europe's Bluff

Written by:
Ace King
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Retired CIA Senior Clandestine Services Officer Dan Hoffman recently spoke to Fox News Digital and explained how the profile of Russian President Vladimir Putin has changed drastically over the past two weeks.  He's not just playing "chess" anymore, he's playing "poker" with innocent civilians being killed.


"The profile of Vladimir Putin from today is not the one that we would have written two weeks ago, or two years ago. And so if we thought about Vladimir Putin as a coldly calculated chess player, which I frankly thought he was, and I thought he was going to extort a deal out of us and never go to war against Ukraine because it would be too prohibitively costly in terms of spilled blood," Hoffman said. "But that's not the guy we're dealing with now. So it's almost like we've seen a transition from a chess player to a poker player."

Hoffman says that Putin is attempting to play off a "bluff," and says that his calculus is different from before.

"He doesn't know everything about us. When you're playing poker, I don't know exactly what hand he's holding. He doesn't exactly know what we're holding," Hoffman said.

Following Russia's invasion of the Ukraine last week, much of the rest of the world responded with crippling sanctions against Russia, its oligarchs, and even Putin himself.  That hasn't stopped the Russian leader from continuing to carry out attacks against the Ukraine and its people.  He has also raised the alert status for his nuclear forces.

American and the European Union are not bluffing, Hoffman points out.

"The Biden administration has done a good job of shoring up NATO," Hoffman acknowledged. "We've got a lot going on, we've got Germany providing lethal assistance, we've got Sweden providing lethal assistance," Hoffman said. "The SWIFT decision is going to be good long term. Nothing immediate, but it's a good step in the right direction."

William Muck, political science professor, North Central College, Naperville, Illinois, has recently used a similar analogy in trying to get into Putin's mindset.

"It does appear that Putin has shifted how he understands and engages with the international community. The tone and language from his recent speeches are particularly telling. Putin has been much more aggressive, provocative, and nationalistic.

"One gets the sense that he now sees himself as a historic figure. That his war in Ukraine is about rewriting the end of the Cold War and making Russia great again.

"People talk of Putin as this brilliant chess player who skilfully outplays his rivals in the international system. That may have been the case in the past, but I think the better current metaphor for his mindset is poker. Putin is a gambler, and his invasion of Ukraine suggests he is all-in on this hand.

"If he wins, it is possible he goes down in history as the figure who restored Russian greatness. However, if he loses, this may be the beginning of the end of the Putin regime in Russia."

- Ace King, Gambling911.com