Sunday, May 02, 2010

Strange chip

I'm watching today's NBC heads-up poker championship episodes. As they come back from a commercial break, they show a montage of Vegas shots. This image was among them:

This was on screen for less than half a second, but it caught my eye because I immediately recognized it as not being a standard Caesars Palace chip. I have a few strange Rain Man talents, and spotting non-standard poker chips happens to be among them. It's not real high on the list of superhero powers you might pick for fighting crime, but ya gotta work with what nature gives you.

Not only is this not the standard Caesars chip, it's one I'm confident I've never seen before. Mind you, I don't go out of my way to find old or non-standard or commemorative chips. I don't buy them from chip dealers, or go shopping for them online or anything like that. I have never paid more than face value for a chip, and probably never will. But if an unusual one happens to make its way onto the poker table, I'll be virtually certain to notice it, and I'll buy it from the pot if it's one I don't have in my collection.

Here's what the standard $5 chip looks like, although the color rendering is all off here; the real thing is orange-red like the one above (I lifted this photo from an eBay auction):

I did find the old chip listed online at a site that specializes in older Vegas chips, here. They're selling it for $19. I wonder how long ago they were replaced with the current style. I'm guessing at least ten years, maybe much more than that, based on how worn most of the Caesars chips are, and the fact that I've played there about a million times and never seen one of the old ones slipping into play.

Anyway, this is only noteworthy because it seems peculiar that NBC's video crew somehow got hold of one of these retired chips, instead of just grabbing a current one and getting a shot of that. It seems extremely unlikely that this was a freak accident, and the one chip the cage randomly loaned them for a photo op was the one old one in a million. Somebody went well out of his or her way to get them that chip (or perhaps just a photograph of it)--and then it makes an appearance for just a few tenths of a second, in the middle of a series of shots that nearly buries it, so that only Raymond Babbitt and I would notice it.

There's a story behind this little incident. I have no idea what it is, but I'm intrigued.


Keiser said...

Yeah those "new" Caesar's chips are pretty old. Dealing there last year I ran into some people betting $200 with 2 stacks the same height, except one was 19 thicker chips and the other was 20 thin chips. That's why the good dealers have to count down every single stack.

Benny said...

Ah, The power of the Chip.
Funny stuff an!
Are there Chip collectors out there?
$19, do you think it's worth it?

Wayne Murphy said...

Calling a chip strange is, well, strange. Calling a chip collector strange, now we're talkin'!
Look for an email from me, please.

And for Benny, the "book" value on that chip is $20-24 in well used condition.