Saturday, August 06, 2011

Selling chips

I've decided to sell off my poker chip collection. It's rare these days that I find one in circulation that I don't already have, and I think I've looked at them and gotten all the pleasure out of them that I'm going to get. They're kind of heavy and take up space, and I have a secret plan for what to do with the extra money.

Before turning to ebay, I thought I'd offer them here first. Based on previous posts I've done about collecting chips, I know that I have some readers who might be interested.

I kind of doubt that anybody would be interested in buying the whole lot in one fell swoop (though if you are, please contact me and let's see if we can work something out). At the other extreme, I can't stand the thought of trying to offer them for sale one by one, pricing each separately, working out shipping, etc., hundreds of different times.

So my thought is to start off trying to sell an entire casino collection at a time. I'll begin with the Palms, for which I think I have more different chips than any other place. The Palms also has a unique advantage: Next to the main cashier, they keep a display of all the chips they've ever issued, which serves as a reference guide for collectors. Unlike any other casino, then, I can be reasonably confident about how close to complete my set is.

I have never tried to collect anything other than $1 and $5 chips. I have one each of the two main different styles of $1 chips the Palms uses, though I'm lacking a commemorative issue that I didn't even know existed until I checked the chip board the other day.

In $5 chips, I have 151. My best estimate is that I am missing 14 that have been issued. At least four of these are very common ones, and when I checked the reference board against my collection, I was surprised to find that they are not to be found in my binders. Apparently what happened is that I got so used to seeing them in use at the poker tables that I assumed every time that I already had them stashed away. There is a little fudging in that 14-missing number because the photographs I took of the Palms chip boards had some glare and out-of-focus areas where I can't be sure of what I'm seeing; I'm confident, however, that the real number that I'm missing is not less than 11 and not more than 17 (i.e., there are only three spots I'm unsure of), assuming the display cases represent a complete set.

The display cases also showed three oversize $5 chips that have never circulated, but have only been available to purchase at the cashier cage. I have never attempted to find or buy those, so that's another three short of a truly complete set. But overall, if one were looking to assemble a complete collection of Palms $5 chips, what I have would get you about 90% of the way there.

Condition? They're all circulated, some more than others. I'm not fussy about condition, I just wanted to try to assemble as nearly a complete set as I could. I play at the Palms often enough that when there are new chips issued, I can and do almost always grab them within the first couple of weeks, so all the ones issued within the past five years or so (since I've been in town) are not quite mint condition, but you'd have to look closely to notice any wear. Older ones are what they are.

I have spent exactly zero time and effort searching web sites with chips for sale to try to determine which, if any, of these are considered to be hard to find and therefore worth more. My goal here is to make a sale quickly and easily, rather than squeeze every potential dollar of profit from the venture.

So here's what I plan to do: I'm setting the "reserve" price at $1060, which is $7 for each $5 chip, plus $3 for the two $1 chips to make the total an even number. The 8 1/2" x 11" 3-ring-binder plastic sheets in which I store them are included in the sale, and I'll cover shipping within the U.S., or deliver them in person if the buyer lives in Vegas.

If I get exactly one offer to meet that price, it's a done deal. If I get more than one person willing to pay that, I'll set up an informal auction with $20 minimal increments, conducted by email, until we have a winner. My email address is in the "profile" sidebar. Payment is to be via PayPal, or cash if we're meeting in person. No, I will not accept Full Tilt transfers!

I scanned my sheets of chips and posted the resulting jpegs below so that you can easily see what I have and don't have. Click on them for the full-sized versions. (The red rings in some slots do not represent ones I removed for separate sale, but are just places where I shifted things around into more logical groups for purposes of checking completeness. They were just in random order previously.) I'm not posting the photos I took of the Palms display cases, but I have them in case a serious buyer is interested.

Jennifer Tilly knows

This is from the Big Game, Thursday's installment.

Guess the casino, #941

To reveal the hidden answer, use your mouse to highlight the space immediately after the word "Answer" below.

Answer: Green Valley Ranch

Friday, August 05, 2011

"Hitting the Nuts"

A few months ago I read in one of the poker magazines (Poker Pro, maybe? I can't remember.) about a new poker-themed movie coming out. "Hitting the Nuts" was to be a comedy about a poker tournament held in rural Indiana, shot "mockumentary" style.

Somehow I learned that it was going to be screened at a film festival in Las Vegas last month, but when I looked up the details, I found that it would be shown on a Saturday morning at the Hilton. I think it was $10 to get in for that session. I didn't mind the price so much as the getting up early. So I skipped it.

I was surprised a couple of weeks ago when I was browsing a poker torrent site looking for a poker show that I had missed, and noticed the film listed. I was curious, so did a download, but didn't watch it until last week, when I was in D.C. visiting Cardgrrl.

Her generous assessment of it: "Well, it wasn't unremittingly awful."

I thought that it pretty much was--starting very early on, when one of the characters, an Amish farmer, explains that he's entering the tournament because he is desperate for money due to all of his cows suddenly turning "homosexual." It gets more stupid and less funny from there.

Here's the official trailer:

A longer version is available on the film's official site here.

The whole thing is pure stinkeroo--lame and unfunny, with acting and dialog of a level you'd expect to see in a high school improv sketch. It attempts to generate laughs by being over-the-top absurd in both plot and characterization, but everything just falls flat. There is certainly more poker than in most "poker" movies, but it's entirely of the preflop-shove-and-suckout variety. This isn't surprising, since we learn early on that nobody in this tournament knows much of anything about how to play.

I can't imagine who put up money to pay for this wretched thing to be made, but I recommend that you not encourage them to make more like it by buying the DVD (or a theater ticket, if it is being shown anywhere, which I kind of doubt).

Guess the casino, #940

To reveal the hidden answer, use your mouse to highlight the space immediately after the word "Answer" below.

Answer: Bellagio

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Guess the casino, #939

To reveal the hidden answer, use your mouse to highlight the space immediately after the word "Answer" below.

Answer: Texas Station

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Guess the casino, #938

To reveal the hidden answer, use your mouse to highlight the space immediately after the word "Answer" below.

Answer: Sam's Town

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Guess the casino, #937

To reveal the hidden answer, use your mouse to highlight the space immediately after the word "Answer" below.

Answer: Palms

Monday, August 01, 2011


Today Cardgrrl and I drove out to Charlottesville, Virginia, to see Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's home. Highly recommended. If you somehow went in not understanding what a complicated, interesting, and influential man he was, the visit will set your mind straight. You will, of course, also be left with that central conundrum in understanding his life of contradictions: How could a man who wrote so eloquently about and labored so diligently for liberty and equality own 600 slaves? (The tour guides, incidentally, are careful about their language. They never mention "slaves." Now the politically correct term is "enslaved workers." Who knew that slaves had PR people still working on their behalf to straighten out our language?)

Many photos to process, but it may be several days before I get to them. For now I'll just leave you with these two.

Guess the casino, #936

To reveal the hidden answer, use your mouse to highlight the space immediately after the word "Answer" below.

Answer: Bally's

Sunday, July 31, 2011

I, spy

Yesterday Cardgrrl and I chose, among all the touristy things to do in D.C., to visit the International Spy Museum. The thing that most surprised me was how busy it was. Even though I knew it was a weekend in the peak of tourist season, I had expected this to be a little-known, little-seen place--probably because I had never heard of it until I looked at a list of area museums yesterday while deciding how to spend our day. Boy, was I wrong. It was completely packed, shoulder-to-shoulder all the way through.

It was also a lot bigger than I expected. It doesn't look big on the outside, but it took nearly three hours to go through all the exhibits. It does not just cover the predictable cold-war era, but the whole history of spying--starting with the Bible and Sun Tzu's "The Art of War." There is, for example, a room devoted to spying during the Civil War, and you'll learn about Cardinal Richelieu, the Dreyfus Affair, and George Washington's spying efforts.

I chose the title for this post because at the first stage of the museum tour, one is asked to adopt a cover identity--memorizing details about an alter ego. At the end of the tour, one is quizzed about it. I failed, sadly, not having taken the memorization part of the program very seriously. The computer was rather vague about what exactly would happen as a result of my cover being blown, but based on what the museum said about the fate of other spies who failed to stay under the radar, I was probably captured, interrogated, and executed.

A few photos from the day:

The Metro station, waiting for the train:

Roy Lichtenstein's "Modern Head," which has been moved from near the World Trade Center in New York to one of the Smithsonian buildings, just across the street from the Spy Museum:

The International Spy Museum:

Statue of Felix Dzershinsky, father of the KGB, flying overhead in the entrance:

A bunch of random stuff in the display cases:

This is cool: an actual Enigma machine (not a replica) from WWII:

This is said to be the set of rules that American agents working in the Soviet Union came up with for survival and success. Sound applicable to poker to you?

Lots of museums around here are free. This one is not. It's $20 apiece. But I think it was worth it. The video presentations are especially well done. I enjoyed learning about how double agents helped the invasion of Normandy be pulled off successfully, and how Aldrich Ames's treachery was discovered by his peers inside the CIA. It's worth a visit if you have the time and inclination.

Tomorrow we're off to Charlottesville to look around at Monticello.

Guess the casino, #935

To reveal the hidden answer, use your mouse to highlight the space immediately after the word "Answer" below.

Answer: Sahara