The “Dogs Playing Poker” series of images were originally a series of oil paintings designed to sell cigars. Somehow these images transcended their initial meaning and have turned into a staple of American kitsch. Pool halls and rec rooms all over North America have at least one of these famous paintings, or ones that have been inspired by them.
At the same time C. M. Coolidge sat down to paint these images, another American legacy was being formed in the tattoo studios of New York City. Fast forward almost 100 years later and the two have finally come together in this back piece by Jeff Houston from Under the Needle Tattoo in Seattle, WA.
A larger version of the picture can be found in the cartoon tattoo gallery, where you can see these dogs in all their poker playing glory.
For those curious, the actual title of this particular painting is “A friend in need”, referring to the ace being passed under the table. Now I’m not sure, but I think the English bulldog is passing a card to a pug. Which goes to show, pugs can the the sneakiest dogs around. So take care the next time you’re playing poker with a bunch of dogs, the ones with the crazy eyes tend to be the cheats.