August 2008
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Day 25: Binion’s $13,960 display

The Binion’s $1,000,000 display is back.

This isn’t quite how it used to be. The $10,000 bills are long gone, now it’s a pile of hundies on a poker table, encased in inch-thick perspex.

At least, we’re meant to believe they are all hundred dollar bills. There’s just no way of knowing for sure.

Only 20 of them have Ben Franklin’s face facing out at the front, and another 20 at the back. That’s $4,000 for sure. The other 9,960 bills in the sealed display could quite easily be $1s, which would make it a $13,960 collection.

Without further proof, I’m going to assume it’s not quite the glamorous photo op they’re making out.

However, the promotion is still a good one.

For $20, you get one picture and either $25 in slot play or $25 for table games. The promotional chips look just like poker tournament chips – they’re plain purple chips with gold embossing which just says "5" (not even $5) and "promotion only – no cash value".

You get the same sort of thing at casinos which offer "win card" promotions, where you buy a set of strategy cards for $10 and receive $15 in promotional chips.

I think it must be the first day today, as I took the promotional chips to a pit only to be told at first "they’re roulette chips". Then, after two pit bosses got their heads together and read the embossing they concluded, "they are promotional chips with no cash value".

I was quite surprised how little anybody cared that I was apparently trying to pass off the equivalent of monopoly money. Maybe it happens a lot, but you’d think they might have words with someone who tries it.

After I finally found a table that would take the chips I spun the $25 into $73 with a dealer who apparently just could not make a hand. An very impressive return, as I never raised my bet from the $5 minimum once.

The rules say you can get the photo and free play up to five times per week, which is well worth doing when they’re basically paying you $5 to have your photo taken. In fact, you don’t even need to turn up for the photo to get the free money.

I will definitely have another go at the free bet, and I might try to get another picture too.

Here’s the first attempt. Apparently I’m taking a piss on fourteen grand.

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