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Thread: The Story of Caesars Palace and the 25th Anniversary Chip

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    Bronze alpha1243's Avatar
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    The Story of Caesars Palace and the 25th Anniversary Chip

    In 1991, Caesars Palace celebrated their 25th anniversary. To commemorate the milestone, they came up with the novel idea to produce a limited edition $25 casino chip. Their hope was that patrons might decide to keep the $25 chip as a souvenir upon visiting the property. Since the chip would cost Caesars less than a dollar to design and produce, this venture might even turn a profit.

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    They decided to produce 50,000 chips -- all in the $25 denomination to match their 25th anniversary. Special artwork was commissioned and the chip was manufactured in ceramic, rather than the usual clay chips used in their house rack. The cage would distribute all 50,000 limited edition chips throughout the various table games. It was announced that, at the end of the anniversary year, any of the $25 commemorative chips left on the tables or in the cage would be collected and destroyed.

    At the conclusion of 1991 not a single commemorative $25 chip was anywhere to be found. All 50,000 chips had made their way out of the casino by enthusiastic patrons and were no longer redeemable, netting Caesars a profit of over $1.2M. The success of this little project started a boom throughout the casino industry.

    Producing limited edition chips soon spread to other casinos, both inside and outside of Las Vegas. Limited edition chips were produced in various denominations from $1 through $100, and even included denominations that were never expected to see any table play, like an $8 limited edition chip popular with Asian players. The practice of producing limited edition chips became so widespread that the Nevada Gaming Commission eventually banned the production of $1 limited edition chips. $5 limited edition chips are the most common denomination today.

    Casinos who notoriously took advantage of casino chip collectors by producing extreme numbers of limited edition chips include the Hard Rock and Palms. These casinos would routinely issue $5, $25, and $100 chips for everything from rock group appearances to triple crown races to Playboy playmate appearances to holidays (Christmas, Halloween, Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, etc.)...and of course anniversary chips. The Hard Rock has issued over 250 limited edition chips and the Palms has issues close to 400. If you've played poker at the RIO during the WSOP you might have even come across some of the 216 different $5 limited edition chips they've issued since 1995.

     
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      Dan Druff: interesting story

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    Diamond Hockey Guy's Avatar
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    Just out of curiosity, why would they no longer be redeemable?
    (_) ..
    ∫\ \___( _)
    _∫∫ _∫∫ɯ \ \

    Quote Originally Posted by Hockey Guy
    I'd say good luck in the freeroll but I'm pretty sure you'll go on a bender to self-sabotage yourself & miss it completely or use it as the excuse of why you didn't cash.

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    Bronze alpha1243's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hockey Guy View Post
    Just out of curiosity, why would they no longer be redeemable?
    Casinos will post redemption notices -- usually giving patrons 6-12 months -- to cash in any chips before taking them out of circulation. It's an accounting issue. To be exact, chips are property of the casino and many have signs posted stating, "Chips may not be removed from the casino property". This also helps protect them in extreme situations, such as having your casino's chips blasted across the beach after hurricane Katrina. You can't show up with a handful of $500 chips and try to redeem them. Most casinos also have a back-up rack of large denomination chips ($100 and above) in the cage which they can put into play as soon as they detect that the primary rack has been compromised. If you go into some of the larger Las Vegas casinos which have issued, then canceled, several limited edition chips, you'll sometimes see a board next to the cage showing which chips are no longer redeemable.

     
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    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    Thanks for posting that story. I never knew that about the 1991 limited edition Caesars chips -- probably because I was still too young to legally gamble then.

    It is true that chips can be taken out of circulation at any time, with a limited period of redemption.

    This is why poker players who store chips in their safety deposit box (or take them home) are foolish, unless they go to the casino regularly.

    On a side note, it is always a mistake to take home 5k chips, because casinos will question you when you go to redeem them, and they will confiscate them if they don't believe your story.

    Bellagio once had the nerve to threaten to confiscate a $5k chip I had won just the day before in the poker room, after I had been sitting in their game for nearly 24 hours. I won a bunch of chips, so I let someone swap his 5k chip for two racks of $25 chips when I was ready to leave (which is allowed). I took that chip home, then came back the next day and cashed it. They didn't believe I had been playing the day before, and the floor manager insisted that he never saw me. We got into a big argument, but finally one of the dealers said that he remembered me in the game, and the manager rudely uttered, "Fine, cash it" to the cashier, and walked away. This was about 10 years ago, and I've refused to take $5k chips ever since.

    Nolan Dalla also infamously had a $5k MGM chip confiscated when he admitted that the chip was given to him by a friend.

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    Bronze alpha1243's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Druff View Post
    Thanks for posting that story. I never knew that about the 1991 limited edition Caesars chips -- probably because I was still too young to legally gamble then.

    It is true that chips can be taken out of circulation at any time, with a limited period of redemption.

    This is why poker players who store chips in their safety deposit box (or take them home) are foolish, unless they go to the casino regularly.

    On a side note, it is always a mistake to take home 5k chips, because casinos will question you when you go to redeem them, and they will confiscate them if they don't believe your story.

    Bellagio once had the nerve to threaten to confiscate a $5k chip I had won just the day before in the poker room, after I had been sitting in their game for nearly 24 hours. I won a bunch of chips, so I let someone swap his 5k chip for two racks of $25 chips when I was ready to leave (which is allowed). I took that chip home, then came back the next day and cashed it. They didn't believe I had been playing the day before, and the floor manager insisted that he never saw me. We got into a big argument, but finally one of the dealers said that he remembered me in the game, and the manager rudely uttered, "Fine, cash it" to the cashier, and walked away. This was about 10 years ago, and I've refused to take $5k chips ever since.

    Nolan Dalla also infamously had a $5k MGM chip confiscated when he admitted that the chip was given to him by a friend.
    Druff,

    In Nevada, the casinos must post a redemption notice (usually at the cage and in the local newspapers) giving players 6-12 months to return their chips to the cage to cash them in. You're right, taking any large quantity, or large denomination, chips out of the casino, especially if you're not a frequent player, is foolish. The best examples are the Biloxi casinos. When hurricane Katrina hit, several casinos (all constructed on barges in the Gulf of Mexico by state law) were totally destroyed. Chips from the Beau Rivage, for example, were blown across the beach, into the Gulf, and where ever flood surge waters could take them. Honest gamblers with chips at home were now indistinguishably mixed with opportunists who went about collecting chips after the devastation. The Beau Rivage had a tough time figuring out which "patrons" to honor. High-limit craps players who routinely worked with a casino host were vouched for if they brought in large denomination chips which looked pristine. Everyday Joes who tried to cash in even $5 chips after the storm were turned away, especially when the chips appeared damaged and weathered. You may recall that the Hard Rock was scheduled to open within a week after Katrina struck. They were never opened to issue any chips, but their racks had to be replaced once they re-opened a year later. I managed to obtain one of the original $1 chips (left) which had a different design from their replacement rack (right).

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    All that said, I have a drawer full of casino chips (about 600), though mostly $1 chips. If a casino closes its doors tomorrow I may still be able to redeem them, but as a collector these are just chips I trade with other collectors. If they can no longer be had for a buck at the casino, then the price tends to go up. Here are ten $1 chips I have for trade from casinos that may have closed in your lifetime and are no longer redeemable in Las Vegas:

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    Only New Jersey has a redemption policy that allows patrons to cash in any chip, any time -- even from closed casinos. So if you have a drawer full of black $100 Taj chips, you don't have to make your way past the line of striking employees to get to the cage before they close their doors forever. Here's the redemption notice from the Taj:

    "Gaming Vouchers and Gaming Chips Can be redeemed at Trump Taj Mahal’s Casino Cage until 8am on October 10, 2016. Thereafter, gaming chips from Trump Taj Mahal and Trump Plaza, and gaming vouchers from Trump Taj Mahal can be redeemed at Tropicana Atlantic City’s Casino Cage beginning at 8am on October 10, 2016."

     
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      LarryLaffer: nice collection. Stardust is the casino Lefty ran (along with the hacidenda) for the outfit
      
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    King of Lost Wages LarryLaffer's Avatar
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    my favorite story about something like this is the Becky Behen-Binion debacle. She tried to stiff Bob Stupak of all people.

    From Positively 5th Street by Jim McManus (i played a tourney with this guy one time, he signed my book because I had it in my bag for some reason, i think i was reading it on a break)

    A story I've heard around the Horsehoe this week also rings true- that back in '93 Ted ordered twenty thousand white $1 chips and twenty five thousand dark brown $5,000 chips from a company in Arizona. The first part of the order was unremarkable, but the second one seemed off. Why would a casino suddenly need $125 million worth of extra-high denominational chips? When the chip maker called the Horseshoe to double check the order, Ted confirmed the numbers so the company put the chips into production. (in a run of this size, chips cost the client only eighty cents a pice, though each one is redeemable for $1-or $5,000-in cash.) In the middle of the run, a different Horseshoe Executive called and told them to stop production of the chocolate-colored $5,000 chips. Fifteen-thousand were already finished however, so it was agreed that these would be shipped. And since none of them were ever logged into the casinos vault, it seems reasonable to assume that Ted, in effect, had minted himself $75 million in legal tender.

    .....A corollary. Bob Stupak, the man who built the Stratosphere Tower (the tallest building in Las Vegas) somehow got his hands on a few racks of Horseshoe chocolate chips....When he attempted to redeem $250,000 worth of chocolate in August of '99, Becky's cashiers turned him down. Stupak protested that he had won the chips playing black jack, but no Horseshoe pit boss could remember of a score of this magnitude. Becky had also insisted that hundred-chip racks of chocolate had been stolen, and that it was her fiduciary responsibility to protect her casino from gross fraud...Stupak also sued Becky, of course, but the kicker was Jack Binion took his side in court, submitting an amicus brief saying Stupak won all of his chips fair and square.
    "Winning is the most important thing in my life, after breathing. Breathing first, winning next."

    George Steinbrenner

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    Bronze alpha1243's Avatar
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    Larry,

    I'm missing a couple of the $1 Hacienda chips from the 1960's. They had a good 40 year run until they closed their doors in December 1996. These are the 3 varieties they issued since the 1980's.

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    As for the Stardust, they went through 5 different house racks of chips since 1958. These are the last 4 varieties issued from 1964 up until their closing in November of 2006. They even managed to end their run by issuing a limited edition chip. That crazy pink $1 chip never got confused with the $5 chips, because the nickels were a mustard color during those years. I always liked those heavy "coin-in-center" chips. Slots-A-Fun and Fremont were the last to use them and I think if you dig deep enough through the stacks of $1 chips on the Fremont craps tables you still may find a couple.

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