Begich plans secret poker strategy for 50th birthday

Sen. Mark BegichMark Peter BegichFormer Alaska senator jumps into governor race Overnight Energy: Trump directs Perry to stop coal plant closures | EPA spent ,560 on customized pens | EPA viewed postcard to Pruitt as a threat Perez creates advisory team for DNC transition MORE (D) seems to be taking his upcoming 50th birthday in stride, telling ITK, “I’m still breathing. That’s a good sign.”

The junior senator from Alaska, who will be on a plane back home when he turns the big 5-0 on Friday, is placing his bets on his relatives putting together a Vegas-style bash.

“More than likely, according to what my wife has told me, her sister is setting up a birthday-party dinner/poker game with the family. I’m all for that,” says Begich.

But don’t expect his family to rig the poker tournament so the birthday boy wins. Begich is going for an entirely different tactic — losing big time: “The idea is to make them feel sorry so they buy me more gifts!”