Casino cafeteria

While double checking the list of new arrivals from the Gambler’s Book Club against the UNLV catalog, I came across a singular title:Casino Cafeteria.
This gem has the alternate title: What you always wanted to know about casino gambling but were to [sic.] intimidated to ask.

It is allegedly “a smorgasbord of standard and unusual questions that are asked by people who are new, who work and who play in the exciting gaming industry.”

Points for effort, but typos in the title are usually not harbingers of a literary masterpiece.

Good news for visitors to the Gaming Collection: because I’m diligently ordering new books, you’ll have about 200 new titles to browse in a few weeks.

Gambling or investing in the future?

I read an article about the president’s proposed changes to Social Security that got me thinking about the great debate over whether investing in the stock market is or isn’t gambling.

Within the past week, I’ve written a draft of the section of Roll the Bones covering several stock bubbles of the 18th and 19th century. I’m going to give you a sneak preview sample, as that’s the best way to put the article into historical context:

[Even after several bubbles crashed] investors still sought the next “sure thing,” showing that the English gambling spirit was irrepressible. One writer described Jonathan’s, a coffeehouse near the royal [stock] exchange, as “being full of gamesters, with the same sharp, intent looks,” although these gamesters had turned in their cards and dice for stock in the Bank, East India, South Sea, and lottery tickets.

So is investing Social Security money in the stock exchange tantamount to gambling? Read on to see if the AARP and Christian Coalition have any more clue than 19th century English stockjobbers.

Continue reading Gambling or investing in the future?

RFIDing the future

Steve Wynn has seen the future, and it’s spelled R-F-I-D. When Wynn Las Vegas opens in April, it will have the latest in casino chips–high tech checks with radio frequency ID tags inside them.
Continue reading RFIDing the future

A cyborg among us

The Internet is great. Today I learned that if I designed a cyborg avatar with my name, it would look like this, according to the Cyborg name generator:
DAVE the Cyborg

The Cyborg Name Generator: DAVE

Go ahead, make your own! Actually, since they appear to be all metal, these might be more properly considered androids, but who’s complaining?

Just another schmuck…who’s redefined gaming

Not only is he a brilliant casino builder, he’s also self-deprecating. Commenting on the ad that ran during The Big Game On Sunday, Steve Wynn said:

“The humor is central — it’s what saves it. I’m just another schmuck.”

The story of the ad, if you didn’t see it, is quite interesting.

Continue reading Just another schmuck…who’s redefined gaming

Daily Quote for 2/7/05

“I don’t want to be the one to call it the dumbing down of Britain, but I think its the dumbing down of Britain.”
–Warren Lush, chief oddsmaker at Ladbrokes, on the huge upswing in novelty betting on everything from televised talent shows to whether someone will live to be 100. You can read the full story of novelty betting here: – English risk odds on oddest of wagers.

This came to my attention because I’m currently writing the chapter of Roll the Bones dealing with the initial English gaming mania (1660-1750), and novelty betting was huge back then, too.

A super flip

It was nice to see an actual football game in the midst of all the commercials, but as a lifelong Eagles fan I’m naturally downcast at the outcome. Still, can anyone from the Delaware Valley honestly say that they expected any better? I think Philly has just internalized low expectations, and that losing is now accepted quite readily.

I’m surprised that absolutely no one has commented on what I thought was the greatest controversy of the game–the coin flip.

First of all, I’m all for getting kids involved in sports, but it’s hardly fair to them to put them on the field in such a high-pressure situation. For those of you who didn’t see the coin flip, they brought one of the kids out to actually toss the coin. Instead of flipping it, he sort of pitched it (kind of like someone might slide dice), so that it didn’t actually spin over its axis and land on a random side. If you tired that sort of thing at craps you might get yourself in the black book, but the kid only got a grateful handshake from Donovan McNabb. Funny stuff, yet totally ignored by the play-by-play. I’m surprised Joe Buck didn’t rant about how the blatantly-rigged toss was a “digusting act.”

Oh yeah, people also bet on the game. Luckily for Nevada sports books, the Eagles scored that late touchdown. It was funny hearing people reference Philly’s phyrric victory, saying, “these fans are disappointed, but happy that their team…umm…played with pride.”

Casino carpet unleashed

If you like the casino carpet gallery and are in the vicinity of the Imperial Palace tomorrow morning at 10, stop by the Samurai room. I’m giving a talk entitled “Art for Gamblers’ Feet: Casino Carpet from Coast to Coast” at the 17th annual meeting of the Far West Popular Culture Association.

I’m not on the schedule, but I’m presenting with people doing activist environmental websites, mushroom clouds, and yoga. Seriously. Here’s a list of some other papers being presented at the conference:

The Culture of a Clothing Optional Beach
Sacha Baron Cohen�s Borat: (Re)Inventing Kazakh
Bodies as Commodities in Sin City: an Update of Decapitation Advertisement in Las Vegas, Nevada
Talking with Rivers, Rocks, and Trees
Fists of Celluloid: Kung-fu for Western Audiences
The Rise and Fall. . . .and Rise of Zombie Cinema
Comic Books and Literature: A Comparative Approach
Ronald Reagan: President and Poet
The Psychology of the Rat Pack: The Unseen Sinatra
Sports Violence in Detroit: A Lifelong Detroit Fan�s Reactions and Analysis

As you can see, presenting a paper about casino carpet at an academic conference is about par for the course here. This is going to be a lot of fun.

Lucky you…in movies?

A few months ago, I spoke to Mali Finn Casting about a prospective movie about poker players, Lucky You. Today I got a follow-up email, which might give you–yes you–your big break:

Casting is underway on Warner Bros./Director Curtis Hanson’s “Lucky You” to star Eric Bana (Troy, The
Hulk) and Drew Barrymore.

We’ve set up a website for poker players and dealers to submit pictures along with a brief form.

I encourage you all to submit and forward the info to your friends/co-workers, etc. as well.

Go to for more info.

I checked out the website, and there is a fairly detailed questionnaire for you to fill out and return, along with a snapshot. If you play poker and live in Vegas or LA, this could be a chance for you to be in a major motion picture. I don’t think this kind of opportunity comes along everyday.

Fish and chips in downtown LV

NOTE: I stole that headline from the lede (or lead) to Liz Bentsen’s article, which seems to be the most complete coverage of the story that confronted me as I straggled into work late this morning.

The story is: Landry’s Restaurants is buying the Golden Nugget from Tim Poster and Tom Brietling.
Continue reading Fish and chips in downtown LV