Science Fiction Games

A science fiction cover of 1957. A sexy woman is gambling with death probably, and it looks like if she’s loosing.


Soldiers Pleasure

Soldiers Playing Dice on a Drum. A typical baroque painting by the Flemish artist Michiel Sweerts. It’s a kind of peaceful scene, the arms are laid aside and the war drum is used for gambling.


Casino Royale

Cover of "Casino Royale" first James Bond novel by Ian Fleming. There is the Nine of Hearts, with whichBond wins the game, but also has the meaning of fortune, love and victory.


Soldiers Karma

An etching by the famous Swiss artist Urs Graf. "All my money lost with gambling" is written upon the sword of this 16th century mercenary.


The Cincinnati Kid

Poster of the famous movies of 1965 with Steve McQueen as Cincinnati Kid. Maybe the best known poker film ever.


Bombers Luck

B-29 Nose Art. A four leaf-clover, two dices and a the mandatory pin-up. Nothing can go wrong with that.


Immigrants Leisure

Italians gambling in Columbia Hall. A newspaper illustration of 1873.


Tric Trac Players

Les joueurs de tric-trac by the French Le Nain Brothers. I haven’t any idea, what’s “tric trac”, but it looks like a kind of backgammon.


Mad Joker

A cover illustration of Mad Magazine. There is no doubt that the central card could only be the Joker.


Super Chess

Super Chess by the Swiss painter Paul Klee. Modern interpretation of the subject.


100 Bullets

Cover of the comic book series written by Brian Azzarello and illustrated by Eduardo Risso.
Sure that's here the deadly Ace of Spades.


Pin Up Chess

Your move (1964) by the American artist Gil Elvgren. A sexy pin up playing with a chess piece; I don’t think that Elvgren suggested that she’s really able to play chess.
The artist uses here only one of the numerous chess metaphors.


Playing for the Booty

Pirates of the Mediterranean playing at dice for prisoners (1869). A 19th century engraving of a painting by the British artist Frederick Richard Pickersgill.
Probably Corsairs from Algiers robbed some beautiful Italian or Spanish women and are gambling now for the booty. A highly romanticizing scenery, what a gorgeous life had these pirates.


Gambling at an Inn

Gambling Scene at an Inn (late 1640s) by the Flemish painter David Teniers the Younger. A typical Baroque painting. Some travelers are passing their time at an Inn with gambling.


Arab Children

Arab Children Playing Cards by the American painter Frederick Arthur Bridgman. Bridgman was specialized in oriental subjects and chose here unspectacular street scene. So it’s kind of a mixture of genre painting and orientalism.



Renaissance Card players

Card players (c.1520) by the Dutch painter Lucas van Leyden (1494-1533). A mixed group of men and women are playing cards. They are gambling seriously because there’s a lot of money on the table.
To me it’s surprising how up-to-date the cards are looking totally in contrast to the renaissance dresses.


Greek Heroes

The Greek heroes Achilles and Ajax are playing dice during the siege of Troja. Seems that gambling was already in ancient times the preferred pastime amusement for soldiers.


Deadly Chess

Napoleon is playing chess with the Russian Winter (1975) by the German lithographer Andreas Paul Weber. And as always when someone is challenging his destiny it’s already clear who will win.


Peaceful Card Players

Card Players (1635) by the Dutch Golden Age painter Jan Miense Molenaer. Probably peasants are playing cards, women are watching and a boy is playing with a dog. It’s a peaceful scenery; gambling is here a decent leisure to pass time.


Oriental Amusement

Almehs playing Chess in a Café by the French Orientalist painter Jean-Léon Gérôme. An idyllic exotic scenery, but also indicating that the girls are not stupid like many of the popular odalisques.


Who’s the Winner

"Winner take all", cover of a pulp magazine of the 1960s. Interesting is, that the woman is painted here in the traditional pose of fortuna. She’s seductive and promising. Sure that the prize is not the money. But she’s also deceptive and I don’t think that there will be a winner at all.


The Avengers

Here Emma Peel in the legendary television series the Avengers. This so called "Chess board Intro" was specially produced for ABC network in the United States in 1966.

Of course the Avengers are playing chess, the great strategic game.


Symbol of Death

The ace of spades is often seen as a symbol of death and is known in popular folklore as the "death card". Therefore it’s popular in the military to decorate tanks, airplanes and other stuff. Here a destroyed British tank in World War One, probably part of the British 12th Division.


A Break

Union soldiers having a break are playing cards. This painting by the American artist Julian Scott contrasts a peaceful scene with the war. Playing cards has here nothing to do with vice or destiny it’s only a typical manner to pass time, especially for soldiers.


Tough Guy

The cover of a pulp western magazine from 1942.

Gambling – which means poker - is here the trade of tough men. Sure it leads to trouble, so you have to be prepared to shoot it out.


Soldiers Gambling

Soldiers Gambling with Dice (1643) by the Dutch Baroque painter Pieter Jansz Quast.

Once more the Soldiers are playing on a drum. The drum is actually indicating that they must be soldiers and not normal customers in an inn.


Beauties with Dice

Playing at Dice (1910) by the French painter René Schützenberger.

Three nude girls in a kind of oriental exotic setting are playing dice. To me it looks like the art nouveau interpretation of he traditional harem paintings which where still very popular in that time.


Tricky Joker

Heath Ledger as Joker in the film The Dark Knight of 2008. The Joker the card as well as the person have here above all treacherous tricky characteristics. Their power lies in deceiving and betraying than in real strength.

It’s the old interpretation of Fortuna as the personification of capricious luck. Gambling implies here always betrayal.


Soldiers Delight

Soldiers Playing Dice by the Italian Baroque painter Michelangelo Cerquozzi. Despite the arms it’s more a peaceful scene. Obviously poor soldiers are plying dice as a pastime.
Interesting is that they are playing dice on a drum, which must have been kind of typical because it can be seen on many paintings.


Vicious Cards

End of a game of cards (1856) by the French painter Jean-Louis-Ernest Meissonier. It’s a typical 19th century history painting illustrating anger and death as the results of gambling. Kind of Three Musketeers illustration.


A Royal Game

The German emperor Otto IV playing chess with a woman. An illumination from the famous Manesse codex (1305–1340) showing that chess was always a royal game.


Futuristic Chess

Here the legendary Star Trek chess. The proper quest for Spock.


Nice Card Game

Card Players in a Sunlit Room by the Dutch Golden Age genre painter Pieter de Hooch. It’s an idyllic scenery which is shown here. There is nothing bad or evil in an nice card game on a sunny afternoon.


Lady Fortuna

Immigrants arriving in New York. In place of Lady Liberty there is Fortuna awaiting them and from her horn of plenty are falling the dices of (probably good) luck.
So dices are used here as symbols of good luck and fortune.


Playing for a Woman

Like many Greek heroes Theseus and Perithous were also great abductors of women. Here they are playing dice for Helen. Despite some are saying they are playing with Helen, I don’t think so.

An 1831 painting by Odorcio Politi.


Seductive Luck

A seductive fortuna by the great American artist Robert McGinnis. She challenges, she seduces, she promises ... and she has the eyes of a demon.