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Saturday, December 8th, 2007

Prez Poker

Written by Tom Somach in Poker News

Throughout history, various U.S. presidents have been known to participate in a poker game or two.

Probably best known for their poker-playing prowess were chief executives Harry Truman and Richard Nixon.

But what if they and other presidents had played together?

And what if someone had captured that scene?

It’s not possible, of course, because U.S. presidents have spanned the last 200 years.

But one can imagine.

And one who did is Carthage, Missouri artist Andy Thomas, who recently painted two oil paintings portraying imaginary scenes of U.S. presidents playing poker together.

Modeled after the classic “Dogs Playing Poker” painting that famously shows dogs of different breeds at the poker table,

Thomas’ paintings show U.S. presidents from different eras together at the poker table, enjoying a hearty game.

One painting, titled “Grand Old Gang,” an obvious reference to the Grand Old Party (GOP), portrays eight Republican U.S. presidents from throughout history playing poker together.

Pictured in the painting are Presidents Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Abraham Lincoln, George Bush Sr., George Bush Jr., Teddy Roosevelt, Gerald Ford and Dwight Eisenhower.

The second painting, titled “True Blues,” an obvious reference to Democratic or “blue” states, portrays eight Democratic U.S. presidents from throughout history having a grand old time playing poker.

Pictured in that painting are Presidents Truman, John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Andrew Jackson, Franklin Roosevelt, Jimmy Carter, Woodrow Wilson and Bill Clinton.

In the Republican painting, a relaxed Reagan, in rolled-up shirtsleeves sans tie, fans his cards and smiles as the other chief execs, including an uptight Nixon in coat and tie, look on.

Lincoln appears without his trademark top hat as he banters with Ike and the current President.

In the Democratic painting, all are seated except a tieless, open-collared JFK and a hunched-over LBJ.

Truman, seated next to Jackson, wears an aloha shirt, the colorful Hawaiian-style attire he favored when hosting poker games as President at his hideaway in Key West, Florida.

Thomas has made prints of both paintings, with each print selling for $300.

Know someone who loves poker and politics?

This could be the Christmas gift you’ve been looking for.

For more information about the paintings/prints, or to see what they look like, visit the artist’s website at

(E-mail Tom Somach at [email protected].)

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