Poker Playing Canines – Help Bring Poker Out of the Smokey Backrooms and into the Light

Poker Playing Canines – Help Bring Poker Out of the Smokey Backrooms and into the Light

Latest Casino News 22 May , 2019 0

Cassius Marcellus Coolidge, an instantly recognizable commercial painter who has given the world the series of Dogs Playing Poker, was born in 1844, into a family of abolitionist Quaker farmers and was named after one of the most eloquent orators against slavery, nicknamed (with provisional anthropomorphism) "The Lion of White Hall." Nicknamed "Cash" by friends and kin, he had no official training whatever, but was very active, publishing drawings in papers before he was 20.

In 1903 he was commissioned a series of paintings on his favorite theme: mastiffs and Saint Bernards engaged in human activity. On nine of the sixteen paintings well bred and mannered dogs drink beer and whiskey, smoke cigars and pipes, and play five-card draw poker. Furry and in fur coats or flannel suits, they usually fill a cozy room with the only source of light being a shaded lamp above the table.

The players are established bourgeois, and seem to be reasonably well-behaved gentlemen, sometimes not altame tame, but proper enough. The paintings reflect approximately the same period as that depicted in Sergio Leone's Once Upon a Time in America. But Coolidge does not focus on the greed and violence of illegal underground clubs; rather, he shows poker finally emerge from the criminal murk into a more homely reality where decent members of society probably never bet more than a few symbolic cents and allowed themselves a few drops of bourbon when their wives were not looking. Poker was becoming common entertainment for most American men, not a means to make quick and dangerous money.

As early as 1875, respectable persons attended major night-time poker sessions. At least one monthly, Poker Chips, was dedicated to the game and most periodicals published related articles. At the turn of the century, unified rules for draw-poker were for the first time spread among all poker clubs. Reporters suggested that baseball had ceased to be the national game.

Gradually, unrelated to any criminal associations, the ability to play poker and the ability to wield a gun became the staple talents of any real man. Men who played good poker were usually likewise good soldiers, good sheriffs, and good politicians. In the spring of 1918, in Europe, the game was the most popular mode of entertainment among Harry Truman and his two million troops. Truman perfected his draw and stud poker as an artillery officer. When the peace treaty was signed, waiting to be shipped home, he and his combat friends spent the time at endless games of poker which they continued even after arrival home.

The ability to bet big and smart, bluff, and risk profitably was seen as identical in essence to the ability to survive in battle, survive on dangerous jobs in law enforcement, or do any job which required brains and brawn.

Coolidge had ample opportunity to observe the types, the clothes, the cards, and the basement clubs where games were regularly held. Adding a vivid touch of anthropomorphic humor, he created memorable representations of the middle class enjoying a game by then at least 200 years old.


Source by Thomas Kearns


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