While learning how to play blackjack, it was easy enough to remember that King, Queen, and Jack were all worth 10 points, but when I started learning Texas Hold’em, I kept forgetting which was higher ranking: king or queen? (If you were just as confused as poor lil’ novice me, the answer is king.)
In a world where people are fighting for gender equality for both sides, it got one Netherlands-based designer wondering: why are we still using a gendered ranking system?
23-year-old Indy Mellink, the founder of GSB Playing Cards, came up with the idea for gender-neutral playing cards in June 2020 while she was playing card games with her family to keep busy during COVID lockdown.
“Last summer I suddenly wondered why we are still using traditional playing cards, while the world around us is changing and many things are reconsidered from a different perspective,” Indy writes on the GSB website.
These new, gender-less playing cards use a different ranking system: gold, silver, and bronze.
For some, the idea of having to learn a whole new system of card rankings may seem frustrating, but when you step back and look at it, this ranking system is internationally known and recognized already. So, it’s nothing new to learn.
Gold, silver, and bronze are the order of medals ranked from highest to lowest typically awarded at competitions. It’s easy to understand that gold is the highest ranked as it is the most valuable, followed by silver and then bronze. This ranking system is even used within the VIP programs of plenty of online casinos. Easy-peasy. No need for pesky genders.
The idea of a genderless deck of cards isn’t to “de-throne the king” or make the queen the most powerful card, it’s just genderless. The king and queen still get to rule over their land, they just aren’t sitting at the poker table anymore.
Why does gender need to be a part of poker? It may seem like such a small thing, but Indy believes that all of these “small things” add up to how we perceive gender in the grand scheme of things. By making small changes in places where gender isn’t necessary, we’re making strides toward equality for all.
With the exception of the king, queen, and jack cards becoming gold, silver, and bronze respectively, the rest of the cards retain their traditional looks, so you don’t need to memorize an entirely new deck.
Indy also wanted to make sure the cards were race-inclusive after noticing that, due to the white background of most standard decks, all face characters are depicted as white.
GSB Playing Cards’ mission statement is: “These GSB Playing Cards were designed with the passion to fight for equality by removing the focus on the sex- and race-inequality debate from a place where it does not belong.”
In addition to crushing the race and gender equality debates one card at a time, GSB also prints cards on eco-friendly paper and they are stored in eco-friendly tuck boxes. You can show your support of equality for all while also being kind to the planet.
If you’re not a big fan of change, don’t worry, I don’t think the traditional deck of cards will be going anywhere anytime soon.