The king has been toppled! This is figuratively what a Dutch woman, Indy Mellink, has done in poker circles by redesigning the traditional deck of cards. Her move has left many fascinated by the levels at which discrimination can be felt.
At a time when certain colors and symbols are attached to gender, Mellink felt that the King got undue ranking in a game that was supposed to be gender neutral. What if a game of poker was being played by all females, is holding up the kings card a worthy win?
Regardless of which gender is playing or included on a table, a neutral win feels well deserved. The impact might be subtle at first but it definitely opens up other avenues of accepting gender ranking.
The forensic psychologist removed the King, Queen Jack cards and replaced them with Gold, Silver and Bronze. This new deck of cards is intended to be free of gender prejudice. There will be no more rank of the King as the most powerful card while the queen tags behind.
The GSB deck of cards has preserved the faces of all other cards from the traditional deck. The 3 alternative cards use bars of gold, coins made from silver and bronze-made shield on the faces respectively. It is a matter of evolving to suit the times as has been the journey with playing cards.
The traditional poker playing cards were first brought to Europe during the middle ages. This first design, unknown by many, was adapted from Mamluks culture. The Mamluks Empire ruled a considerable portion of the Middle East during their reign.
The card faces were later changed to match with figures that resonated with English rule at the time. It is no wonder that the King, Queen and Jack cards offer a snippet into European leadership. Royalty and officials of the court were held in high regards but under hierarchy.
In 1377, the symbol on the card ranked as the “king” had the impression that a high ranking marshal is holding up a suit symbol. The flipside showed a low-rank marshal with a symbol held down. The idea of gender standardization began in Germany where the queen card originated from.
The current deck of cards was harmonized from these adjustments. As the world awaits the elimination of Covid-19, it is about time punters start to get familiar with this new deck. A whole year has been wasted by the pandemic but there is hope that new high steak poker season will return to television by December.
Although Indy Mellink denies being a feminist and activist on gender issues, she is quick to connect current gender based inequalities to pre-existing norms. All it took for this 23-year-old to revolutionize poker as we know it is a family game session. In one of Netherland’s numerous lockdowns owing to Covid-19, it dawned on her that even games promote inequality.
When she voiced her concerns to her parents, they understood and supported her quest. It did not take long to come up with the choice alternative of precious metals to rank card values. Most people have probably never thought about the impact of having a king and queen in a deck of playing cards.
According to this young psychologist, her cards are not going to change the manner in which players calculate card game wins. GSB cards by Mellink reserve ranking as part of play but completely eliminate gender connotations.
The new deck version appears to have been positively received all around the world. Already, the United States and Europe have seen a total of 1,500 decks distributed to customers.
Results from studies conducted on the uptake of casino games among the two genders reveal that 45% of women stay away from poker because they feel intimidated by men. It has taken industry players many years and strategies to attract the small number of females there. Will the secret weapon in this market be genderless playing cards?
While many people have been impressed by her perspective in promoting gender equality, some think it is unnecessary. On social media especially where people have been known to make remarks without holding back, critics have expressed general opposition to the move. For this 23-year-old student, negativity is the last thing on her mind.
Inclusivity in card games for Mellink means people play without making a certain gender to feel less important. It is quite unfortunate therefore that there are varying opinions on an issue that was intended for unity. She is however fully aware that this new deck of cards she has created will not be the magic bullet in addressing gender bias.
To come up with the GSB card designs, Mellink got help from her family and friends who were instrumental in quick snapping. The internet provided the perfect platform for promoting and selling the initial batch of 50 decks. The young innovator is impressed by the interest that gaming shops are expressing.
With customers from Germany, Belgium, and France on her buyer list, Mellink is optimistic of more sales. She is however cognizant of the fact that some players have never taken notice of the gender disparity expressed in playing cards. Switching to the new decks will definitely take time.
The current generation has been at the forefront of many innovations that have turned the table on traditional systems. Formally switching the decks could necessitate an overhaul of existing game rules which is not required. For now, achieving gender neutrality is the key to promoting fair co-existences of the sexes.
Teaching old dog new tricks is going to take time but how about a young one? The GSB decks could gain ground in young arenas like the United States online gambling scene. While having a physical deck of cards is still appreciated, developers have a chance to promote gender equality through GSB adoption.