The Outcasts of Poker Flat Questions and Answers
by Bret Harte

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How was Mr. Oakhurst the strongest and the weakest in The Outcasts of Poker Flat?

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The last description of John Oakhurst in the story is "he who was at once the strongest and yet the weakest of the outcasts of Poker Flat." The first description is that he is a gambler. When Oakhurst is exiled from Poker Flat, the author observes:

He was too much of a gambler not to accept Fate. With him life was at best an uncertain game, and he recognized the usual percentage in favor of the dealer.

Oakhurst is portrayed throughout the story as a strong and stoic figure, accepting his fate with philosophical calm. All the other outcasts seek solace in liquor, one of the very few luxuries afforded them. The alcohol soon reveals their weaknesses, but Oakhurst does not drink and remains reserved and sensible.

Oakhurst is constantly described as a gambler playing a losing game. The epitaph he composes for himself (written, significantly, in a firm hand) states that he "struck a streak of bad luck." He is a strong man playing weak cards. As a gambler, Oakhurst is familiar with this...

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