Poker with Nate Silver (Not): When to hold ‘em, and when to fold ‘em

Kudos to AAPOR (American Association for Public Opinion Research) for adding a new, fun twist to this year’s conference.  They added a Texas Hold ‘Em charity event.  Finally, some numbers-friendly competition with other pollsters, and only our dignity on the line.

Nate Silver, of FiveThirtyEight fame and a recipient of an AAPOR award, was kind enough to join us. Cool.  As we entered the poker parlor, Nate and I were chatting, and I thought it would be a nice challenge to sit at his table — until Nate’s voice dropped to a whisper and shared, “it has been a while (playing poker), but I did play professionally for a few years.”

So, I moved to another table.  Yes, Kenny Rogers’ ditty was playing in my head.

In the end, I failed to make it out of the first round, and Nate made it to the final group of three.  Our celebrity host, a World Series of Poker veteran, pulled out some impressive moves and won the event.

Nate Silver’s first influential work was in baseball statistics.  He would probably enjoy playing in my fantasy baseball league, full of other professional political/sports-junkie quant types.  Too bad there are no seats left at our table (phew).