#118 “Poker Face”

From D.S. in Chattanooga, Tennessee

When I first began to examine these illustrations, my eye was instantly drawn to the picture in the upper right hand corner that displays the four symbols which mark the suits of a deck of playing cards (spades, diamonds, clubs and hearts). I found this to an interesting addition to the illustration, but I did not immediately associate any importance with it or see how it was related to the other illustrations by D.S. Over time, however, the interlocking theme of all of these illustrations became clear to me.

It’s not just the one illustration that displays this “card playing” concept; this idea runs through all of the illustrations. While the illustration in the upper right may be the only one with any overt reference to card games, all of the other illustrations present concepts that are highly applicable as well. Follow along with me as I briefly examine them individually.

Upper Left: The drooling wolf perched carnivorously over the dead rabbit is clearly a metaphorical reference to the predator/prey aspect of card games, especially poker. The competition in most poker games is extremely fierce, and the natural order of dominance and survival of the fittest is clearly emphasized. Also, as a minor side note, the act of continuing to play out a hand after the winner has already been determined is called “rabbit chasing.”

Upper Right: The inclusion of the traditional card suits is clear enough, but I also encourage you to notice the hectic nature of the illustration. Can you see how all of the elements appear to be thrown together in a whirlwind of confusion? This obviously reflects the unpredictable nature of the game and the fact that although we can play the odds, the cards will ultimately do as they please. We are at their mercy as they blow us back and forth on the winds of fortune.

Lower Left: This illustration is small, but it speaks volumes about the necessity of a solid poker face. You literally have to be speaking out of both sides of your mouth. You must become two people in one.

Lower Right: I believe the suave style of dress presented in this picture is representative of the fact that poker has long been considered a gentlemen’s game, but the head which appears to be on fire pays homage to the fact that even game of skill and class is also emotional and ┬ádramatic. The game is elegant but dangerous, stylish yet treacherous.

So, in conclusion, deal ‘em out and let the chips fall where they may!

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