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Canines Gambling in a Card Game

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With these dogs playing, the game is bound to get a bit ruff.Left to right .

"Ah, you see, the poor dumb beasts have no thumbs, so I ask you... how are they holding their cards? ... It should be impossible, and yet somehow they go on... playing the game. In the end, Razputin, aren't we all just dogs playing poker?"
Edgar Teglee, Psychonauts

This is a Stock Parody of Dogs Playing Poker.

To those not in the know, Dogs Playing Poker is not a painting, but rather the name of a collection of oil paintings by Cassius Marcellus Coolidge. Eighteen in fact, each set in a poker room or a courtroom or some other place with dogs in varying levels of civility gathered together playing cards or betting on horse races. It's Exactly What It Says on the Tin.

While not all of the paintings from the Dogs Playing Poker portfolio have the dogs actually playing poker, the idea has long since stuck in the public consciousness: dogs put into a set with cards and ash-trays and emptied glasses of scotch as if the dogs were people, and it's funny. Hell, they aren't always dogs. They could be cats, mice, lizards, bug-eyed aliens, and even full-grown people in cartoonish dog-suits.


Sub-Trope of Art Imitates Art.


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    Comic Books 
  • In one scene in Mystic, Giselle's cat is playing poker with a group of dogs. The dogs call him out for breaking a rule, and he is incredulous that there is no bluffing allowed in Dog Poker.

    Comic Strips 
  • Parodied in The Far Side, where a homeless artist lays in the street with unsold paintings depicting variations with other animals such as giraffes, insects, chickens and crocodiles. The caption states that he eventually rose to fame after a friend told him, "Gus...have you ever tried dogs playing poker"?

    Films — Animation 
  • In Barnyard, during the party in the barn house some dogs are seen playing poker while one animal is painting a picture of them in the exact same likeness of the original panting.
  • Looney Tunes: Back in Action has Chester, Spike, Charlie and other Looney Tunes canines playing cards at a table inside Yosemite Sam's Wooden Nickel casino. Their game gets interrupted by The Hero falling from an exposed hallway onto the table, wrecking it. All the dogs bark at him, though most have spoken conversational English in their cartoons.
  • Puss in Boots: The Last Wish: In a flashback to how Puss lost his sixth of nine lives, he is shown beating some dogs at poker with a hand of five aces. They were not amused.
  • Up: There's a scene where some of Charles Muntz's dogs are playing a game of poker, the bulldog with a big pile of dog biscuits in front of him.
    • In Toy Story 4: There is a painting of Muntz playing cards with the dogs in the antique shop and in certain posters.

    Films — Live Action 
  • In The Thomas Crown Affair (1999), Catherine Banning's team searches Crown's house and recovers what appears to be the Monet he stole. However, once an art expert examines it, he finds that it was painted on top of a copy of Poker Sympathy, exposing it as a fake Crown planted to troll them
    Detective McCann: Monet's unknown masterpiece: Dogs at Cards.
  • In SHAZAM! (2019), one of the inter-dimensional doors leads to a room where some crocodile-men are playing poker in a setting directly lifted from the paintings. As soon as one of those crocodile-men lunges towards the protagonists, they slam the door on its face and the incident is soon forgotten.

  • The short story A Gamble with Wildthyme by Steve Lyons concerns the cheating taking place in A Friend in Need.
  • In the comedy book "How To Keep Dinosaurs", there's an image of a group of Deinonychus playing poker (with slabs of meat in place of chips) as an obvious pastiche on this trope. It also comes with this caption:
    "Deinonychus will only play poker for high steaks."

    Live-Action TV 
  • In an episode of Cheers, Sam Malone loves the paintings (in particular one of Dogs Playing Blackjack) while his more sophisticated lover, Diane Chambers, hates them. Sam says that he sees something new every time he looks at it.
  • In the That '70s Show episode "Hunting", Dogs Playing Poker is parodied by the characters taking the places of the dogs.
  • Near the end of the Snooker Commentators sketch series on That Mitchell and Webb Look, snooker broadcasting dries up and the commentators begin covering dogs playing poker. This proves difficult as dogs can't actually do that.
  • The cast of Whose Line Is It Anyway? do this as an example of what animals do when their humans aren't around.
  • One episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch ends with Sabrina playing Go Fish with a group of dogs. She wins the game but then offers to buy them all treats to cheer them up.

    Music Videos 
  • The music video for Snoop Dogg's "What's My Name" has a scene with dogs playing craps while smoking cigars and wearing sunglasses.

    Puppet Shows 
  • In the Dog City special, some of the dogs in the background of the bar scenes are playing poker (and also pool, based on Arthur Sarnoff's Coolidge homages).
  • Done in The Muppets at Walt Disney World during Rowlf's "Dogging It" number with a group of Muppet dogs, though it's unclear if they're actually gambling or just playing for fun.

    Tabletop Games 

  • In the play The Foreigner, a character complains that she doesn't want to be in her motel room because there is a "Damn picture on the wall of some dogs playin' poker."

    Video Games 
  • After Razputin cures Edgar Teglee of his psychosis in Psychonauts, Edgar creates his own painting of the anthropomorphic dogs that populate his mind playing a game of poker. Should you enter his mind after clearing it, you will find him playing that very same game with the dogs.
  • Fallout: New Vegas: If you have the Wild Wasteland trait, then during Old World Blues, in the cyberdog training area of the Big MT, you can find some dogs learning how to play poker.
  • Seen in the Scavenger Hunt portion of The 11th Hour.
  • Pajama Sam: One of the rooms in Darkness' house has such a painting, and some of the dogs move when clicked on.
  • Parodied in Undertale in which the Lesser Dog is playing poker alone against himself (despite his numerous guard dog colleagues being present at Grillby's). Somehow, it's losing. In the True Pacifist ending, it seemingly finally won.
  • One of the players in Telltale Games' Poker Night 2 is Sam, the canine star of Sam & Max: Freelance Police. In one of the game's many humorous asides, Brock Samson points out the obvious joke.
    Brock: I just realized, you're a dog, playing po- (laughing) playing poker!
    Sam: ...I don't get it.
  • One of the in-game paintings in Terraria, titled "Goblins Playing Poker", replaces the dogs in the original painting with, well, goblins.

  • Housepets! has some of the canine characters recreating the famous painting here.
  • A piece of Sandra and Woo fanart created for a contest features foxes and raccoons playing poker.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • The animated television series The Simpsons has made several references to the paintings, such as in "Treehouse of Horror IV" when Homer is driven to insanity by his mix of intense fear and intense amusement in response to one of the paintings.
  • In the Family Guy episode "Saving Private Brian", Mayor West is discovered playing poker with dogs.
    • In the episode "Road to Rhode Island", Stewie comments on the Dogs Playing Poker paintings hanging on a wall, and suggests that since Jesus is alone in one of the other paintings, the dogs should invite him to their card game.
  • In the animated series Rick and Morty episode "Lawnmower Dog", five intelligent dogs play poker and smoke cigars while using their advanced robotic suits.
  • In the Disenchantment episode "Love's Tender Rampage", the characters walk past a shop in where dogs are playing poker.
  • An episode of Courage the Cowardly Dog has Courage enter such a painting and pick up an untouched card hand. He laughs and puts it down, which shocks the other dogs upon seeing that the hand is a royal flush. Courage is then kicked out of the painting by one of the dogs.
  • In the Lilo & Stitch: The Series episode "Finder", Stitch (who was adopted by Lilo as a "dog") plays a game of poker with his experiment "cousins" with cookies in place of poker chips.
  • In the Mickey Mouse (2013) episode, "You, Me, and Fifi", when Mickey calls Goofy for advice on how to get Fifi to like him, Goofy is seen playing Go Fish with Pluto, Nana, Tramp, Peg, Pongo, Copper, Tito, and Sultan (in his footrest form).
  • The Powerpuff Girls (1998): In the episode Monkey See, Doggie Do, Mojo Jojo's spree of transforming the citizens of Townsville into dogs with the Anubis Dog Head includes a party of men playing poker.
  • Carmen Sandiego: After Carmen steals a painting by Vermeer, Zack says that he doesn't get the hype because his idea of fine art is dogs playing poker. Later, when Zack has to go undercover as professional art thief The Duke, he scoffs that it's probably Dash Haber's art preference too.


Video Example(s):


Cartoon Network Bumper

A 20th anniversary bumper featuring some of Cartoon Network's dogs is interrupted by Gumball Watterson.

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Example of:

Main / CaninesGamblingInACardGame

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