Wednesday, September 9, 2009

When you're bluffing

Sometimes when you are watching Poker on television, you see the way some players bluff their hands. When they are not holding a strong hand, but they are acting tough and trying to sell their aggressiveness to the other players at the table. When a player has a good hand and wants his opponent to play aggressive, he attempts to portray a weak hand. These stereotypes are more magnified in less experienced players. The bluffer worked his way up to his spot on "Poker After Dark" by exaggerating the strength of his hand and relying on force of personality to win the chips. It is rare that the bluffer wins the tournament, because eventually he will face a smooth operator who gets the right hand when the bluffer has a low pair. It's like those fly eating plants suckering an insect. Once the fly gets caught in the sap, game over.

These poorly produced Youtube ads that Ignatieff has released are just selling the bluff. It makes no logical pragmatic sense to completely remove themselves from the bargaining table. Why not negotiate good legislation? Canadians want good legislation. If the center-left just punts and says "see what you can work out with the socialists and a special interest lobby", then that hardly serves Canadians. Layton is not playing a strong hand right now, but if he capitulates and props up the government, does he gain any votes? Canadians want to see the Liberals and Conservatives agree on legislation. Permanent withdrawal from the negotiating table is either over-playing a poor hand to force a competitor to assume the poll eroding submissive position, or it is blind ignorance and they believe they can win if they collapse the government and go right to the polls. Whatever it is, I suspect that a lot of voters are not going to feel good about it.

Jack Layton has to know when to hold them, know when to fold them, and know when to walk away. Of all the coalition partners, Layton paid the steepest price. He either needs to re-invent himself, or go all in and call the Liberal bluff.

1 comment:

  1. The other thing is, the bluffing from Jack since the last election occured mostly off-camera (as voters weren't much interested), and a long way away from when his cards would have to be revealed. But now, all eyes are on the players, the media is noting every word change in their rhetoric, and it will soon come time for everybody to show their cards.

    BTW, good pic of Jack and Gilles in today's national news watch, taken from the Coalition-signing ceremony, I think. Worth a thousand words, easy.

    Calgary Junkie