Monday 5 December 2016

John-Paul McCarthy: What the gambler didn't know was that the house always wins

Albert Reynolds was a great risk-taker, always ready to wager the bank on one last spin, writes John-Paul McCarthy

John-Paul McCarthy

Published 24/08/2014 | 02:30

Getting Down to Business: John Major and Albert Reynolds arriving at 10 Downing Street
Getting Down to Business: John Major and Albert Reynolds arriving at 10 Downing Street

One of the key scenes in Anthony Hopkins' stunning turn as Richard Milhous Nixon takes place as he is walking into a hostile meeting with the 
CIA director.

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An aide warns Nixon 
that the CIA director is a "world- class poker player". Hopkins mutters in reply: "Yeah? Well, I own the fucking casino."

This reply speaks to the fundamentally illusory element in the risk-taking personality, and it rather haunted this week's coverage of Albert Reynolds' passing. Though possessed of all the guile and selfishness of a riverboat gambler, Reynolds never quite accepted the fact that someone else owned the various casinos he operated in, and that the house never loses for long.

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