Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Gambler's Mecca

The Gamblers Book Club has moved to several locations in its long, storied and peripatetic career. When I finally made my first pilgrimage, it was residing in a small storefront on Eastern south of Tropicana, and I found myself in book collector heaven. Shelves and shelves of books, which despite repeated visits I've never managed to note down every title so I can add them to my to-be-read list. They'd frequently be visited by authors like Nicolas Pileggi and David Schwartz, some of whom were dropping by to be interviewed for their regular podcast. And aside from classic titles like Ovid Demaris's Green Felt Jungle and Doyle Brunson's How I Made A Million Dollars Playing Poker (the original title of his Super System), and all the latest titles on everything from Backgammon to the Mob, they had collectibles! Remnants of vanished casinos, like an El Rancho ashtray or, my personal favorite, bars of soap from the Stardust!

Gamblers Book Club has finally relocated to its old downtown stomping grounds, moving in with the Gamblers General Store at 800 block S. Main. (A clerk at the General Store told me the Book Club had bought them out.) Now more than ever, this is the one place anyone who's serious about studying their game, or anyone who's serious about collecting gaming paraphernalia, has to visit. The General Store was always a cool place, a veritable museum of ephemera like old slot machines and gaming tables, except that if you raked in enough chips at the casinos, you could actually buy them. Want an old Hooters blackjack table with a "Big Pair" bonus? Check. Your friends want to humiliate you into buying a deck of Hannah Montana playing cards? Check. Got twenty grand to blow on an old fruit machine? Check. 

My advice? Go early and often. Show up on the weekend for a 10% discount. Don't forget, the American Casino Guide has a discount coupon as well!

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