Daniel Negreanu Compares Presidential Debates to Poker

Keeping with the US Presidential Election theme we started yesterday when we shared Phil Hellmuth's assessment of the recent first Presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, there has also been a piece circulating online written by Daniel "KidPoker" Negreanu about the similarities between these one-on-one debates and heads-up poker.

Speaking to www.wired.com prior to this week's first debate Negreanu said that they were“absolutely 100-percent” comparable to poker. He continued, “The similarities are striking. With poker, you develop strategies based on your read of what your opponent is going to do. That’s no different from Hillary and Trump, trying to exploit the others’ weaknesses and minimize their strengths.”

Comparing these one-on-one debates to heads-up poker, Negreanu (quite correctly as it turned out in the first debate) sensed that Trump might find it tough going as prior to this, he had only debated on a crowded stage where you are, to a degree, able to hide some of your weaknesses, whereas heads-up "Your weaknesses are magnified", and you have to play more hands you might be unsure of. Rather than being able to pick and choose his one-liners, Trump will have to repeatedly engage in in-depth political discussions, something Clinton has far more hands-on experience with.

Negreanu also correctly summised that Clinton will have to be more aggressive in these debates than she has previously been, say when competing against Bernie Sanders for the Democrat nomination. Being a firm favourite against Sanders Clinton was able to take fewer risks and get away with it, but against Trump, who is known to be confrontational, and in what is shaping up to be a tight race, Clinton will need to be assertive.

Negreanu gave the pair some advice, depending on how the debates are shaping up saying, "The first debate should be a feeler debate, a chance for both candidates to see how it goes, look at the polling and pundits, and adjust for the second debate. If you’re doing poorly after both of the first debates, then number three is the time to go all in.”

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