Elena Kagan Plays Poker

Supreme Court nominee noted in media as “accomplished player”

by , May 12, 2010 | 1:54 am

I know poker players sometimes forget there’s a whole non-poker world out there, but really there is … and one of the big stories in the big media these days is the nomination of Solicitor General Elena Kagan for US Supreme Court.

Turns out Kagan is known amongst her posse as something of a poker player. The only contemporary Kagan I could find in the Hendon Mob any player database is Matthew Kagan, from Cambridge, MA, who min-cashed in the 2005 WSOP main event. Definitely not her, but who knows, she’s got strong Harvard ties, maybe related … ?

From newsbusters.org:

Amongst the non-ideological superlatives: ABC’s Diane Sawyer trumpeted the “historic nomination” of the “five foot three inch powerhouse,” CBS’s Crawford insisted “her interests reflect her openness. She loves softball and poker” (poker reflects “openness”?) and NBC’s Pete Williams hailed her as an “accomplished poker player, opera lover.”

From CNN:

Kagan also plays poker and drinks beer, according to Litman, who described her as “someone who from early on has focused on the law’s impact on people’s lives.”

The Daily Show:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Release the Kagan

(Poker part at 1:30)

The Colbert Report:

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Kagan Worship – Dahlia Lithwick
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor Fox News

(Poker part at 2:58)

Good for poker? I highly doubt it. Obama’s a poker player, after all, but he certainly hasn’t delivered on poker issues the way he never promised to. And I gotta think anyone who can make it anywhere close to the Supreme Court has to be able to put their fandom aside to carefully consider legal precedents. If anything, I’d think subconscious cues connecting poker to her name might work against her chances of confirmation. After all, America/Donald Trump spoke, and Joan Rivers won the coinflip.

Then again … poker, softball, opera … single-no-kids, “used to smoke like a chimney” … I dunno … could fit the profile of a typical 50-year-old lady online player, no? Yeah … definitely … I think I played a sit-n-go with her a while back:


I suppose if she was familiar with the online game, it couldn’t hurt. Unless she was really familiar with online poker, in which case we all might should probably report for prison tomorrow. Bottom line: while it’s nice to hear about important people playing poker, we’re a long way from seeing a robe with PokerStars patch on it.

3 Comments to “Elena Kagan Plays Poker ”

  1. OhCaptain

    On avid player does make it possible to explain and have someone understand the concepts of the game that show more of the skill side. If she truly is accomplished (whatever the hell that means) she might have considered the game for it’s long term view. It could happen.

  2. DanM

    i agree, but still, she’s a POKah PLAYa, a POKah Playa!

  3. james covert

    It’s business aside, she’s hot on her heels and has a good grasp of the game, i believe she has more to come though.