As regular readers will know, I put in a few sessions of poker at Caesars Palace during the weekend when the NBC heads-up championship was taking place. I hadn't been there in about a year.
One of the things that I fully expected was Bette Midler poker chips, celebrating her recently opened show at the Palace. Sure enough, there they were (as seen above).
What surprised me, though, was the absence of Celine Dion chips. On prior visits, there were no fewer than five different Dion $5 chips, and they constituted a sizable percentage of all of the $5 chips in circulation--at least 10-20% of them.
But in my recent visits, I saw exactly one Dion chip.
This cannot be a coincidence. Chips don't just disappear in such numbers. There could not possibly that many people so interested in collecting them that they all got snapped up by casino patrons. The clear implication is that Caesars had their chip counters, at some point, start removing the Dion chips from circulation as they came in. A few stragglers are still out there, not having ever been put in the drop boxes, or perhaps taken away by customers and brought back in later.
This is distinctly odd. Usually commemorative chips just stay in circulation forever, until they are broken or pocketed by customers, or whatever. Caesars did not do a wholesale replacement of its poker chips; there are still tons of old, worn ones being used all the time. They just selectively removed the Celine Dion chips. That's very peculiar--unprecented, as far as I know. At other places, you still get chips advertising shows that closed years ago.
Apparently, Caesars Palace wants not just to replace Celine Dion with Bette Midler, but erase any evidence that the former was ever one of their headliners. (They really should have some Elton John and/or Jerry Seinfeld chips made up, too.)
Maybe their current corporate brass agrees with the gist of this rant from Vegas Rex about the Dion years in Vegas, a shameful period from which we have now been freed: http://www.vegasrex.com/2007/12/15/were-free/.