10/14/2008 08:23 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Obama Maintains a Poker Face As McCain Loses His Touch

Over the weekend I traveled to the Mohegan Sun casino/resort/shopping mall on business. They had just opened their new addition to the complex and wanted some publicity. They need it. After all, the gaming industry is suffering even more than the rest of the economy. The Mohegans have canceled further construction of their casino's latest hotel tower and the nearby Foxwoods has had to lay off 700 people and Atlantic City is in its biggest slump since before it was allowed to build casinos.

...and remember, ground zero in the current financial crisis is the Las Vegas construction industry. Few want to gamble at these places when the high rollers at the real casinos in New York, London, Paris and Tokyo are coming up craps again and again. It's hard to fathom the concept of both the house and players losing, but them's the breaks. I remember getting burned in 1999 and 2001.

As we passed through the sea of coin-less slot machines, (a repugnant concept if there ever was one, part of the fun with these things is getting your fingers grubby) someone mentioned that John McCain is a gambling man. I don't really know if he's good at it or not. He doesn't really seem to be.

I've seen pictures of McCain playing craps. Now unless, the dice are crooked, the game is a game of chance, and there's very little actual strategy. Sometimes you get a natural (rolling a seven or eleven) on the first roll and that's a winner, McCain certainly did that when he picked Sarah Palin, but getting a natural on the first roll only gets you so far, and getting a seven on later rolls will be a loser, and McCain has been rolling sevens the entire time. Meanwhile, Obama has been over at the Blackjack table counting cards.

Now in 'Vegas, counting cards isn't considered a nice thing to do by the house, however, it's not cheating, and a person who knows how to properly play the game has an advantage over the house. McCain knows this too, but his people are still screaming "bloody murder" over groups like ACORN, who while not doing it very well, are criminals perpetrating "voter fraud." Voter fraud is when someone votes more than once or registers in more than one place. It's not sending in more than one card with the same name and address or writing "Mickey Mouse" or "Santa Claus" on a card or list. Sure doing the latter is dumb and the former wasteful, but it's not fraud.

My mind wanders back to the tour guide at Mohegan, who explains the spiritual motifs used in the decoration of the "Casino of the Wind" section of the Sun complex, making the place sound like it's a kind of church and I try to think about whether it's just me or might she be right about the religious aspect of gambling one's life savings away at a place like this. Just then we get to the new Poker parlor, which is a very different game indeed.

Even though McCain has been at it a lot longer than Obama in this particular sport, and has shown some skill at it early on, he's clearly begun to lose his touch. Losing his cool here and there while Obama has a perfect "poker face." With the flop being nothing but junk, McCain has been betting big, but everyone believes he's just bluffing, and nobody's listening to him....

That's McCain's biggest problem. It's the old "fool me once" syndrome. The "all Democrats are traitors" canard worked before, but only when the Democrat didn't call the Republican on it quickly enough. When nobody can get more than a pair by the time the river card comes up, then it's probably time to fold. Unfortunately for the two candidates, they're not actually allowed to.

There's one more hand to be dealt, and that's on Wednesday. McCain has can probably think of a metaphor by yourself, but unless McCain manages to fill an inside straight, then it's over.

We are told that after the tour is over, there's a reception with lots of h'orderves and two very pretty actresses introducing a new drink, which costs $1600 per glass. I'll stick with the eye candy and some cokes, thank you. Who says there's no such thing as a free lunch?