Polling guru Nate Silver talks about a very bad night of poker

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In an interview about his new book, Nate Silver talks about his days as a card shark:

[Q.] You used to make some good money off of online poker, but you write in the book that at the end of 2006, you lost $75,000, “most of it in one horrible evening.” What the hell happened? I’m picturing this night as an absolute disaster.

[A.] Well, I was playing games where you’re betting $200 per betting round, so you start to make [laughs] some bad decisions and kind of go on tilt a little bit, and those losses add up. But poker, I played limit hold ’em, which is actually a really swingy game, you have a really small edge. So if you’re off your game even a little bit — and frankly, that night, I was probably off by more than a little bit — then you’re probably a favorite to lose money. And if you’re just tilting then you’re a favorite to lose a lot of money. But poker does teach you some life lessons. It seemed for a while when the games were easy, you’re just kind of there and clicking buttons and printing money, right? But usually the free lunch scenario comes to an end, in a terribly abrupt way for me, although I was smart enough not to lose all my winnings. I kind of took the hint after I lost about a third of what I won and said, “Okay, I’m going to cash out and start writing about politics and burritos now instead.”

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.