Fun Facts About Richard Nixon, Quite the Gambler?

When you think about those in high power or political positions, you might wonder.. what do we have in common? For those who like to gamble, here’s a fun little fact for you; Richard Nixon funded his congressional election campaign with money that was won by playing cards in the South Pacific. Growing up a Quaker, you wouldn’t peg this guy for much of a gambler however, the odds were definitely in his favor. Taking up poker in his young Naval years, President Nixon became quite the player. He participated in friendly games as well as those for money.

President Nixon would bet with strong starting hands, but then bluffed to weasel his way to some winnings. During his months out at sea, it was common for Nixon to bring in around $6,000 for every two months playing. He played so much that he opened his own poker bar. After the war, Nixon was urged to run for the house of representatives. His gambling was what funded his campaign. Just before the election, Nixon gave up the games for good. In his autobiography, the president went on to illustrate that his skills and winnings were exaggerated and that he typically played the game for fun.

Richard Nixon’s gambling was not limited to just poker. As a teenager, he worked in Prescott, Arizona at a carnival. His duties at the carnival entailed running a game called the wheel of fortune. This game was played once the customer paid to spin the wheel for prizes that consisted of cash. While this game wasn’t quite legal, it brought him some extra money and it was fun for the customers too. We usually see our friends growing out of this mindset however, it seems as though the future President would carry this type of behavior with him straight to the White House.

With that being said, it’s a wonder that the gambling community has struggled to maintain solid ground with the US government. Each time a new casino is proposed on a local level, there is a good amount of pushback. There are many different regulations that need to be approved before a casino can open, this tends to take much more time than setting up a wheel of fortune at a carnival.