Step aside Saint Cajetan. There’s a new kid in town and he’s vying to become the Patron Saint of Gamblers. Say hello to Saint Donald Trump, a man who admittedly hasn’t been referred to as a kid in six decades and who isn’t likely to be canonised any time soon.
Not even a deathbed conversion to Catholicism and the construction of a miraculous wall all the way to heaven could bestow that title upon the man they like to call, well, anything but a saint.
To his fans he’s President Trump, God Emperor Trump or, if you’re a peroxide British pariah with a penchant for media baiting, he’s simply “Daddy”. To his detractors he’s a racist, a bigot and a big orange pumpkin – and those are the printable epithets.
One name that neither the left or the right have yet to wield is Saint Donald and yet, when you examine the evidence, there is a case for stating that the president of the free world is the luckiest man to walk the earth.
Could there be a more fitting name to mutter fervently as you rub the dice together before rolling them across the green felt?
Let’s look at the evidence for Trump being, if not an outright saint, then the gambling world’s fortuitous figurehead at least. For one thing, the man is literally named after a card game and on election night ‘The Donald’ certainly came up trumps. And what about those pre-election odds?
On November 8th, every major media organisation had written off Trump’s prospects, with the New York Times Election Meter confidently predicting a 98% certainty of a Clinton victory.
Has any man ever better encapsulated victory against all the odds than Donald J Trump? Talk about taking a pocket pair and turning them into a winning hand. What’s more, Trump didn’t have to bluff to get there; he called it like he saw it from the start, deploying about as much subtlety as a garden rake to the face.
A born winner
It can be argued that there are many things wrong with Trump and his policies, but love him or hate him, the man’s a born winner.
Is it a coincidence that another impossible victory – the Patriots’ Superbowl comeback – was achieved less than a month into Trump’s presidency? At one point in the game, the Patriots’ chance of winning was as low as 0.2%. Sound familiar?
Even after Trump took up his role in the Oval Office, the same naysayers who’d dismissed his chances of becoming president were swift to predict he’d be out the door in record time. In fact, several online sportsbooks went so far as to create an entirely new category devoted to wagering on the likelihood of Trump tripping up.
Punt on Trump? You bet
Want to bet on whether Donald Trump will quit before he has completed his first term? You can. Want to wager on the prospect of Donald Trump being impeached? Likewise, and anecdotal evidence suggests that many disgruntled Democrats were swift to do exactly that in the aftermath of Trump’s surprise election.
Following a first month in office that was characterised by a series of typically Trump-esque gaffes and controversies, it seemed a surety that the doubters would be vindicated at last – and this time around they would stand to pocket a tidy sum from having betted on the tycoon’s downfall.
Then, Donald Trump’s Address to Congress happened, and suddenly all bets were off.
One of the most extraordinary moments you have ever seen
During the course of a powerful speech on Tuesday, the president regained the momentum he had lost, prompting even Democrat commentators to concede that Trump had aced it. Van Jones, a political commentator for CNN, put it best when he referenced Trump’s tribute to the widow of William Owens, the Navy SEAL killed during a raid in Yemen.
“There are a lot of people who have a lot of reasons to be frustrated with him, to be fearful of him, to be mad of him, but that was one of the most extraordinary moments you have ever seen in American politics period”
Van Jones, CNN political commentator
“For people who have been hoping that maybe he would remain a divisive cartoon, which he often finds a way to do, they should be a little bit worried tonight. Because that thing you just saw him do, if he finds a way to do that over and over again, he’s going to be there for eight years… he did something tonight that you cannot take away from,” he said. “He became President of the United States.”
One swallow doesn’t make a summer any more than one powerful speech redeems Donald Trump. If there’s one thing that the man’s ascent to power has taught us, however, it’s never to write off the underdog, no matter how heavily the odds are stacked in favour of the house.
And that’s a lesson that all bettors can take to heart. Don’t be like Donald – just be lucky like Donald, the new Patron Saint of Gamblers.
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