It’s Valentine’s Day on Sunday and, in common with all other “special” days in this peculiar era, this one will likely be a bit different from other years. Even the most committed couples will possibly feel they’ve seen quite enough of one another over the past few months and would probably like nothing more than a night alone. But this is the situation, and we’re stuck with it. (Unless you managed to get that last flight to New Zealand.)

So, if we concede that this year is different, let’s take a different approach to our annual guide to buying poker-related Valentine’s gifts for our beloveds. We have plenty of more standard options from previous years.

This time, we’re shopping only from Ebay.

VINTAGE GREETINGS CARD

It was with a certain sense of trepidation that I typed the words “Valentines” and “poker” into the Ebay search bar, but many of the results were a pleasant surprise. It turns out that people have been associating poker — or other card games — with love for many decades, and there are some vintage items on offer that seem genuinely appealing.

A seller named “mikeingreensboro” has a terrific selection of vintage greetings cards, including many for Valentine’s Day, many of which are related to card games. They’re often made even better by the fact they are pre-used, meaning we get to read the messages of previous absent lovers.

Some vintage poker-related greetings cards

There’s one, based on the ten of hearts card, which offers “TEN-der” greetings and whose printed message reads “My TEN-der devotion constant and true, With TENderest feelings I TENder to you”. The previous sender — someone named Tony, who sent it sometime between 1900-1920, according to the seller’s estimate — has crossed out the “true” and written “false”. A true bluffer.

Two good hands to hold

Another card shows a small boy sitting at a card table with three cards — the flop? — face up on the table in front of him. The cards read “I LOVE YOU” and the card’s message reads: “My cards are on the table, my Valentine”.

There are others to look through too, including one by artist Frank O’Neill, which shows a man holding a royal flush as well as a woman’s hand, staring lovingly over a poker table.

The message reads: “Two Good Hands To Hold”.

VOUCHERS TO CASH IN LATER

Perhaps the best idea for Valentine’s gifts during these times is simply to write an I.O.U. (Let’s face it, most poker players are familiar with the concept.) You could, of course, just write this on a piece of paper, but there’s a way to monetise everything and “crafty_and_personal” are among those outlets to produce so-called “Love Tokens”, which take the form of an ornate heart-shaped I.O.U.

Cash in your tokens at a later date

For poker players, the Breakfast in Bed is probably a good one, so long as breakfast can be served at 3.30pm. And, when touching by strangers is once again permitted, the full body massage will probably also go down well. As for the weekend getaway? Only if we’re back for the Sunday grind, OK?

HIS & HERS T-SHIRTS

In a recent look at the history of court cards in a card deck, we learned that some early packs from Spain and Germany omitted the queen. These mediaeval sexists obviously hadn’t thought about the poker Valentine’s market: these days, you need the queen in order to have co-ordinated his and hers T-shirt sets to sell to poker-obsessed couples.

His & hers T-shirts

There are at least two options for these gift sets, one from “cherriecreates“, which is billed as “Wifey Hubby Poker Casino Valentine’s Couple Gift“, while another from vnstyle is billed as King of Spades and Queen of Hearts Matching shirts. The idea is similar in both, and all things considered, they could be a whole lot worse.

A COUPLE OF ABSOLUTE PUNTS IN THE DARK

If your Valentine is the kind of person who simply wants something — anything — if it has the word “poker” written on it, then can I offer this vinyl record from Italy. It’s recorded by the Jimmy Fontana Trio, and is apparently called “Poker Di Jazz” backed with “My Funny Valentine”. It’s very difficult to know precisely what you might be letting yourself in for here, but it’s definitely got “poker” on it.

Take a punt on these gifts?

The same uncertainty surrounds this crate label from the King of Hearts asparagus company. I suppose it’s possible that some people might collect crate labels from long discontinued products, and this one dates from the 1940s. It shows the King of Hearts rising from within a big heart and was presumably the kind of thing that was once attached to a can of asparagus. Note: there are no guarantees that your Valentine will actually look you in the eyer again should you purchase any of these gifts.

Lead photo: “Could Love be on the Cards?“, Luke Hayfield, CC BY 2.0.

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