The oddity here is George W. Bush, a regular player while a student at Yale and Harvard; and not a bad one in that cohort. But as President, he has shown himself a reckless gambler, with no sign of the good card player’s prudent calculation. So did he learn no sophrosyne from his poker games? Or was he simply surrounded by other callow and reckless young men who would have been easy marks had they run into serious predators like Nixon?
I shouldn’t be surprised if ivy-league frat boys weren’t the best of poker players, if only because the stakes meant nothing to them except for macho points. If you won it was great, and if you lost everything the trust-fund check would cover it and you could come back again next week. But it’s also common for people who are pretty good playing penny-ante to choke horribly when they get to the big leagues, simply because of the stakes and the attention.