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
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.
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.