Jennifer shows the gender-neutral playing cards being used.
Culture Current Events

UVM Adds an Intervarsity Poker Club

BURLINGTON VT—This week the University of Vermont launched a new Texas Hold’em Poker Club for amateur card players and aspiring professionals alike. The new collegiate program boasts over a hundred and sixty-six members (a decade-long record for intervarsity extracurricular participation).

The founders of the UVM Poker Club have a unique spin on the game that is raising eyebrows in some circles. Whereas the age-old game of poker would typically employ the standard hierarchy of winning hands (e.g. high card, a pair, two-pair, three-of-a-kind, full-house, etc), the Club has chosen NOT to employ these age-old rules for regular game-play.

                “As anyone clearly understands, hierarchies are byproducts of the male patriarchy, and exude white, cis privilege,” Poker Club president, Debra Manning, explained, “As a result, our poker club will NOT be relying on racist or sexist poker-hand hierarchies to determine who ‘wins’ or who ‘loses.’ We will be employing a more enlightened approach to playing the game which is fair and more equitable for all involved. We believe in equality vs exclusion.”

As Manning went on to further elucidate, instead of permitting a full house to beat a pair of twos (“standard poker rules”), UVM’s Poker Club will adhere to a more “woke” philosophy, unencumbered by male privilege or any form of sexism or racism. Players of a poker hand verbally share with each other who they FEEL won the hand. The decision must be unanimous by all game participants. In this way, hierarchy is snuffed out and serves no role whatsoever in determining game winners or losers.

                “Winners and losers are derivative paradigms of white privilege,” club participant Nancy Silverson, explained while taking a slow sip of her expresso. “Winners and losers are what one experiences in failed patriarchal hierarchies such as capitalism. We want nothing to do with hierarchy here at our school’s Poker Club! Concepts such as “winning” or “losing” engender misgivings tantamount to microaggression! We don’t wish for any of our club members to feel unsafe or uncomfortable at any time. In fact, it is not uncommon during certain games for members to step aside from the table and willfully choose to enter a designated “safe space” if they feel in any way triggered by unexpected emotional distress or undue alarm. We encourage everyone to have fun, but to do so in an emotionally and physically safe way.”

We witnessed multiple hands of poker played by UVM’s Poker Club participants following our interviews. Defying conventional rules, a hand consisting of 7-high would often beat three-of-a-kind; or a king-high flush would lose to a single pair of threes. The important thing noted in all cases was that all players involved always felt completely safe and unrestricted by male, cis, racism; nor were they shackled by any white privilege inherent to the hierarchy of standard poker hands. It was beautiful to behold.

Jennifer shows the gender-neutral playing cards being used.
Jennifer shows off gender-neutral playing cards being used at UVM’s Poker Club.
Sean Dempsey
Sean Dempsey moved to New Hampshire as one of the first 100 ‘Free Staters.’ He unabashedly believes in the US Constitution and the message and principles enshrined by its founders. Sean believes the country in which we live needs to re-examine what Jefferson, Washington, Franklin, and Adams believed (and were willing to die for). The message of freedom is not a tag line or something to be embarrassed by, but is sacrosanct and more important than ever!

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