The Good, The Bad… And the Downright Ugly of Poker Tattoos

6 years ago
The Best of Poker Tattoos
03 Oct

Tattoos used to be the preserve of sailors and criminals back in the day, but in modern times you’d struggle to walk the length of your street without seeing someone inked up. Of course there are any number of designs you might have etched on your body, but poker symbols are definitely up there with the most popular. But there are tattoos and then there are tattoos!

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the good, the bad and the downright ugly of poker tattoos.

The Good

If you’re going to get yourself inked, try to make it as personal as possible. This version of the ever-popular ace of spades works really well – perhaps a bit on the big side for its position, but nicely done nevertheless.

On first sight from afar I thought this was just an ugly mess until I looked closer and saw what it actually was – a fantastically clever caricature of Motorhead’s late, great vocalist Lemmy Kilmister, encased in his trademark Ace of Spades – warts and all!

Getting the suits tattooed is one of the most popular of all poker inkings, and this one fits the bill perfectly – big, bold and artistically done! Not for the faint-hearted or the shy though; the rib-cage hurts like hell when that needle digs in to bone!

Here’s another couple of takes on the suited tattoos. The main plus of suits is that they can fit anywhere and have contrasting colours and shapes for the artist (or yourself) to play around with as a design.

For some, big sleeves and bodywork offer the opportunity to show off amazing tattooing skills. This one is expertly done: the shading, the hands and the mirrored sunglasses denote expert tattooing while the moustache looks real enough to touch!

The idea of Jesus playing a female Satan might not be the top of most peoples’ lists, but it allows the artist to go to town and show off his expertise. It might not go down too well when you flash it to your great grandmother in church however!

The Bad

OK, Let’s have a look at some of the worst versions of what we’ve just seen. How can you get the Ace of Spades wrong I hear you ask? Well, take a look at this…

Take a simple design and add everything you can to it – spider webs, a hangman’s noose, rain and lightning (I think!) and split it into three parts. Just awful! And this next one is no better, although I have my doubts if it’s even a real tattoo!

This is what happens when you let a three–year old draw things and then allow his four-year old sister to tattoo it!

OK, not every tattoo artist is great – and they all have to practice somewhere before setting up shop – but the next two tattoos are downright BAD! And not in a good sense either!

If you can stop what is wrong with this one in under 10 seconds you get a bonus tattoo! Ok, we all know hands aren’t easy to draw – in which case don’t fucking draw them if they are going to be permanently displayed on your arm! I’m not sure if the spades are getting any better with practice, but I reckon it would take about 100 arms-worth before it looked anything like the real thing.

The Ugly!

I may be being a bit unfair on this next one – after all you’re free to get tattoos anywhere you like and the actual work isn’t so bad – but getting suits on your fingers might not serve you too well when you go for a traditional job.

How about on the hands?

Well, no, just no! Even if the Q 3 A is hugely significant to you, I’d advise a back or arm tattoo instead. However, this next one wins the entire poker tattoo internet image award for UGLY!

What the actual fuck was this guy thinking about when he got a royal flush tattooed on his face? Seriously, you’d have to be grade A ugly to think this would make you look better! If anyone can tell what the script and lettering above and below means then please post in the comments section – it might just make sense of what we’ve just seen!

Ok folks, this is just a small sample of the designs – good, bad and ugly – that are already out there. My own next design is a chess one unfortunately, but if I ever do get a poker pone done, it might be nice to have an ace up my sleeve…

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Andrew from Edinburgh, Scotland, is a professional journalist, international-titled chess master, and avid poker player.Read more


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