Greek Poker Analogies Fly As Default Looms

With Greece’s economy in tatters and the bailout deal with Germany and the Eurozone finance ministers nearing its conclusion, poker analogies have been flying as the two countries attempt to hammer out the best terms for a “haircut.”
Currently on the agenda is agreeing to a €130 billion ($172 billion) bailout for Greece before it potentially defaults on its €14.5 billion debt repayment due in March.
In return for the deal which would also see Greece’s creditors wipe out around 70% of the debt, the EU are expecting Greece to find another €325 billion in budget cuts. However, Greece is currently buckling under other austerity measures already agreed, such as increasing taxes, cutting 15,000 public-sector jobs and reducing the minimum wage by 20% to €600 per month.
The latest wrangling over further measures now threatens to derail the whole negotiations, with Unions threatening strikes and the 20% unemployed staging demonstrations.
However, many Greeks believe a default may not be the worse option or that the EU wouldn’t allow Greece to fail, with Greek leader of the far-right LAOS party George Karatzaferis now refusing to support his own government and agree the bailout deal.
Using a poker analogy, Karatzaferis said: “Greece can’t go bankrupt… If Greece falls, it will drag many countries with it, in the end even the whole of Europe… Ms. Merkel has a pair of fives and pretends she has four aces.”
That view, however, wasn’t shared by German financial daily Handelsblatt, which wrote:
“During the poker game with their creditors, the Greeks have been acting as if they had a joker up their sleeve. That joker was the threat of declaring bankruptcy and triggering a panicked chain reaction among investors. … But that isn’t a trump card. The main victims of a disorderly bankruptcy would be the Greeks themselves.”
Back in November, 2011, The Economist also wrote an interesting piece entitled “The debt crisis: Playing poker with the Greeks.” In that article it was argued that despite Greece’s GDP representing only 2% of the EU total, the real danger of a default is the chaos that would ensue after investors sought to invest mostly in Germany rather than risky PIGS countries (Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain).
As the Economist wrote: “But it’s also a game of poker; an attempt to convince the Greeks that the EU has all the cards, while the Greeks have just a pair of deuces…For all the bluster, one can’t help feeling the tough EU stance is a bit of a bluff. They can’t view a Greek exit with anything other than fear.”
Whatever the situation may be, unless an agreement is struck and agreed in Parliament soon, the next major Greek poker title making the headlines might be something like “Greece Goes Bust As Bubble Bursts.”
UPDATE:
Following Greece agreeing a a second bailout package on Feb 21st, David
Silver wrote the following in his article entitled; ‘Greece Gets Dealt Another Bad Hand’
“I equated the recent announcement for Greece to a poker game. Greece right now is definitely the short stack at the table, and just won a hand. It’s a shame that the country only got the big and small blinds.”

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