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The Story of the $5 Hooters Girls Casino Chips

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On February 2nd, 2006, the brand new Hooters Casino Hotel opened on the spot of the old Hotel San Remo casino. Everyone is familiar with the Hooters restaurant chain, their sexy waitresses, and the Hooters Girls swimsuit pageants and calendars. The corporate leadership though that adding a theme casino just off The Strip in Las Vegas would be a great fit for the brand. Dealers and servers alike were dressed in the iconic tight white tank tops and orange shorts. To further promote the brand, Hooters decided to produce limited edition $5 casino chips. Each chip would feature a Hooters Girl with a new chip introduced each month. The Hooters Girls would be photographed in her Hooters server outfit on the front of each chip and in a bikini or some other seductive outfit on the reverse side. A limited edition of 1000 chips each month were produced with each chip individually numbered. The hope was that casino chip collectors and Hooters memorabilia collectors alike would scoop them off the tables.

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(Jan & Feb 2006 -- front and back)

Although the casino opened in February, they wanted to issue an entire calendar of 12 Hooters Girls, so Aimee and Amanda was the first $5 Hooters Girl casino chip to be introduced in February during the grand opening. As expected, these sexy chips were quickly scooped up from the gaming tables. So many collectors wanted to create their own calendar of Hooters Girl chips, that they soon started appearing on eBay with starting bids of $20 per chip. When March rolled around, it was Amber's turn. She did not disappoint, and soon patrons were flooding into the casino just to ask for Amber's $5 chip so that they could start their own Hooters Girl collection.

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(Mar 2006 -- front and back)

When April rolled around, $5 chips featuring Hooters Girl Holly were made available. Only, by now, dealers in the casino caught on to the fact that the price for these limited edition chips all exceeded their $5 face value. Dealers at first refused to pick out the Hooters Girls chips from their wells at the black jack tables. Patrons were told to take a seat, buy some chips, and play a few hands. Their initial buy in might (or might not) contain Aimee's, Amanda's, Amber's, or Holly's chips. Serious collectors saw a way around this by asking for $100 in red $5 chips, walking away from the table with them, picking out the limited edition chips, and then redeeming the unwanted house chips at the cage.

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(Apr 2006 -- front and back)

The dealers had had enough. As they colored up their tips, they did so for the limited edition chips which they kept at the bottom of the rows of $5 house chips in their wells. The dealers then started selling these chips on eBay and the prices jumped to $30-$50 per chip. New collectors wanted the previously released chips and those that had already started their collections needed the new chips that were issued each month. The year continued with Sherry as your May Hooters Girl, followed by Kami in June, Tiffany in July, Martina in August, Kat in September, Beverly in October, Sharlene in November, and Linsey in December. As each month passed, frustration among the collectors grew.

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(May-Dec 2006 -- front and back)

In 2007, Hooters decided to double production to 2000 chips each month. Instead of satisfying collectors, this had the opposite effect. New collectors were able to get a hold of the 2007 chips, but now the price of the original 2006 chips shot up as their demand increased. If there's anything collectors despise, it's a hole in their collection. The photos also changed. The Hooters waitress outfits were replaced by close-up facial portraits of the models. The individual serial numbers, an added production expense, was also dropped. When the chips were released in the casino, the Hooters Girl would be on hand to pose for pictures and even sign their chips.

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(Complete 2007 Collection -- front and back)

The casino finally banned employees from removing these limited edition chips from the property. Hooters released another full year of $5 Hooters Girl chips in 2008, but this would be the last year, again with a production run of 2000 each month. The first pair of twins appeared on the July release. Caitlin was the last Hooters Girl when her chip was released in December of that year.

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(Complete 2008 Collection -- front and back)

There were a few additional $5 Hooters Girl chips released during that run. The first was Marsha on the $5 limited edition 2006 4th of July chip. Michelle was featured on the $5 limited edition 2007 New Years chip. And lastly, in 2008, Hooters grouped 5 girls as part of The Rat Pack series of $5 limited edition chips.

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(4th of Jul 2006 & New Years Eve 2007 -- front and back)

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(The Rat Pack 2008 -- front and back)

As the newness wore off, prices declined. Today, just over 10 years since Hooters opened for business, you can purchase $5 Hooters Girl chips on eBay for $12-$22 each. Entire calendar year 12-chip sets can be had for $110-$170. I'm sure that having all 3 calendar years framed on the wall of your home poker room would make for quite the discussion piece. Hey, why not buy 2 sets so you can display both sides!

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(Assorted $10, $25, and $100 chips -- front only)

A number of named and unnamed Hooters Girls appeared on various $10, $25, and $100 chips, but these higher denomination chips were never as popular as the $5 chips. A few are shown above. As with most novelties, buying and selling will have its peaks and valleys. But Las Vegas residents who were persistent about collecting the entire 36-chip set to construct their own 3-year calendars (or who were just reselling these chips on eBay for profit) continued to arrive each month as the new Hooters Girls chips were released in the hopes of picking theirs up at the $5 face value and maybe meeting the models themselves.