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Doc
Doc
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May 13th, 2013 at 5:48:51 AM permalink
Category: Europe
City: Monte Carlo, Monaco
Casino: Casino de Monte-Carlo


The Principality of Monaco is a sovereign city-state on the Mediterranean coast of France. It has a total area of just 0.78 square miles. The principality has increased its size not by conquest or annexation but by land reclamation – building extensions into the sea. Such reclamation has increased the land area by 20%.

The most populous area of Monaco (itself the most densely populated country in the world) is Monte Carlo, or "Mount Charles", which is named for Charles III who ruled Monaco in the mid-19th century. The name refers to that piece of the Alps that extends right to the water at Monaco.

In 1191, Monaco was established as a colony of Genoa. It first came under control of the Italian House of Grimaldi in 1297, but they had to fight for centuries thereafter to retain/regain control. By the middle of the 19th century, many of the inhabitants objected to being taxed by the Grimaldis and declared the independence of their towns. That issue was resolved by Monaco ceding those portions of their territory to France in return for payment. Unfortunately, they ceded much of their tax base, causing continuing financial difficulties.

At that point, a very clever Princess Caroline came up with the idea of a casino to generate revenue and taxes, and after some false starts it saved them from bankruptcy.

Just as was the case with yesterday's casino, the MOGH catalog includes a clumsily-worded history of this venture. I don't know where they come up with this stuff.

Quote: MOGH catalog

Prince Charles III (1818-1889) in 1856 allowed the opening of a casino. After a first unsuccessful installation in 1862, the casino moved in 1863 to a modest house in the hill, being called François Blanc to organize the gambling. He founded SBM (Societé des Bains de Mer et du Cercle des Étrangers du Monaco), becoming the director and dealer of SBM in association with the Prince of Monaco. The new Casino de Monte Carlo was opened in July 1865. The casino contribute to the prosperity of this new resort, and ensured quick fortune to François Blanc and Prince Charles III. In 1878, Mary White, Blanc´s widow, asked the famous architect Charles Garnier to build the Opera the Monte Carlo and a new casino in baroque style, richly decorated. In 1904 opened the casino International Sporting Club. In 1975 opened a new casino associated to Loews. SBM owns today five casinos: Casino de Monte Carlo, Casino Café de Paris, Sun Casino, Monte Carlo Bay Casino (only slots) and The Gaming Area of La Rascasse (only slots).


I visited not just the Casino de Monte-Carlo but also that Casino Café de Paris, which is right next door. In spite of what it suggests in that paragraph above and in some other on-line resources, I could find no table games at all in that place.

When my wife and I visited Monaco as the second stop on our cruise last fall, we walked around much of the city – far too much, to hear my wife tell it. She still hasn't forgiven me for not hiring a taxi to take us around. We visited the palace courtyard, watched the changing of the guard (performed much less precisely than at Buckingham Palace), and then walked down one large hill and up another.

If you recall the photo of the Noordam at the port in Monaco, which I included near the bottom of my post with my chip from that ship, think of it this way: we walked from the ship up to the point from which I took that photo then down and across to the opposite side of the harbor and up to the casino. From there, we walked back down to the water-level street, and I earned some minor forgiveness by buying us passage on a water taxi to take us across the harbor to our ship.

I was very disappointed in the Casino de Monte-Carlo. I had read that it had several gaming salons, though when they finally opened the doors at 2 p.m., we could only see one. There, in spite of it being a nice size room, they only opened three tables, two with blackjack and one for roulette, even though perhaps a few hundred people had entered the casino. The rest of their tables were idle and unstaffed. All of the employees seemed arrogant to the point of being totally rude to the patrons.

That salon was called the American salon, perhaps because there was American (maybe -- I didn't look that closely) roulette offered there and an unstaffed craps table. Ordinarily, there is a fee charged to enter that salon, but since they were undergoing some kind of renovations, they did not charge an entrance fee for the construction zone.

I understood that there was another "European" salon to which admission could be gained by paying a fee — normally an additional fee – but no one was willing to say what games were offered there, how many tables were open, or what gaming limits were required. I might be willing to gamble a bit, but I am rather reluctant to buy a pig in a poke, so I did not pay to check out the other salon. I could just imagine paying a fee to see a bunch more unstaffed tables and arrogant employees.

Last week, I checked the casino's web site and found an interactive tour of the facility. The area that I did enter was called the European salon on that web tour, and the table layout is quite different from what I saw there. I can't explain that unless it is related to the renovation that they were performing last fall, and that wouldn't really explain the name change. This morning, I checked out the web site again, and apparently there is renovation going on there, too. The virtual tour is different, or maybe I just couldn't find the one I saw last week. This time I found a place where it says the American salon is slots only and confirms that the room I was in last fall is called the "Salle Europe." Maybe, perhaps even hopefully, what I saw six months ago was not representative of what the casino really is like in normal times.

At the blackjack table where I watched, people were playing two or three-deep, with standing players placing wagers behind those of the seated players and relying upon the decisions that the seated players made. And I couldn't even get close enough to the table to place a wager behind!

Eventually, there was an opening that allowed me to get closer, and to my complete surprise the seated player stood up and left, too, giving me the chance to grab the chair. By that time, I only had a few minutes to play before having to head back to the ship. The table minimum was €10, and the smallest chips in play were €5, so that is what I have as a souvenir. In my short session, I managed to win €50.

The souvenir shown below is a white injection molded (I think) chip and has three triple "edge inserts" in green and very dark blue (maybe black), plus three logos that I do not recognize. The center insert is a silver coin with a tiled pattern. It is marked with "jeux Americains" (American games, if I haven't completely forgotten the few lessons I took in French half a century ago), perhaps reflecting the American salon name and the table selection there. I have no idea who manufactured this chip, though B&G seems to be a likely candidate.



When I posted that photo of the Noordam in the harbor and tried to give directions to the casino's location in that snapshot, I said I might soon post a photo of the front entrance to the casino. Done:


For those still interested in the topic of the accuracy of street clocks, the time stamp on this photo is 1:17 UTC, which would have been 3:17 Monaco time.
Nareed
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May 13th, 2013 at 6:45:08 AM permalink
Quote: Doc

The principality has increased its size not by conquest or annexation but by land reclamation –



I'm sorry, but that line is absolutely hilarious :) It just boggles the mind to think Monaco would conquer territory. Whose? I immediately got reminded of "The Mouse That Roared"
Donald Trump is a fucking criminal
Ayecarumba
Ayecarumba
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May 13th, 2013 at 11:07:52 AM permalink
Very interesting Doc. I think the "logos" could be artistic representations of the goddess "Fortuna":
. photo from euseree.com

What is in the middle of the traffic circle in the casino photo? Is it a mirror?

Apparently, the casino is such a tourist attraction that the owners attempt to separate the players from the lookyloos by restricting the tourists to certain salons in the mornings. Perhaps that is why the staff was so surly, not taking the "boat" player's action seriously. Of course, it could be that they are just rude to everyone.
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication - Leonardo da Vinci
Doc
Doc
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May 13th, 2013 at 1:46:20 PM permalink
I think that's a crystal ball, but I'll have to check my other photos. There is also a fountain and a sculpture of a giant flower. I'm travelling this week and can't check the other photos from here -- having enough trouble just trying to post.

It isn't that they restrict tourists to certain salons in the morning -- the whole dang place is closed until 2 p.m.!
Ayecarumba
Ayecarumba
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May 13th, 2013 at 3:07:19 PM permalink
Quote: Doc

It isn't that they restrict tourists to certain salons in the morning -- the whole dang place is closed until 2 p.m.!

You are right. Games don't open until 2 pm, but tourist groups can now pay an admission fee to take a look around the public salons from 9 am - 12:30 pm, when the games are closed. Link to The Casino de Monte-Carlo website here.
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication - Leonardo da Vinci
Ayecarumba
Ayecarumba
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May 13th, 2013 at 3:45:02 PM permalink
Here is a screen shot of some original jetons and chips from the website celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Casino de Monte-Carlo. Apparently, B&G has been their supplier for a long time:



The casino is issuing limited edition chips celebrating the anniversary.

Check out the entire 150th anniversary site here.
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication - Leonardo da Vinci
Nareed
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May 13th, 2013 at 4:07:03 PM permalink
Quote: Ayecarumba

You are right. Games don't open until 2 pm, but tourist groups can now pay an admission fee to take a look around the public salons from 9 am - 12:30 pm, when the games are closed. Link to The Casino de Monte-Carlo website here.



That's pretty odd for a small country best known for being the place where Grace Kelly lived after she got married :P
Donald Trump is a fucking criminal
Doc
Doc
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May 14th, 2013 at 5:45:53 AM permalink
Category: Europe
City: Barcelona, Spain
Casino: Gran Casino de Barcelona


When my wife and I cruised on the Noordam last fall, we visited Barcelona the very next day after Monaco. I was already aware that I was not on good standing after having “forced” her to walk all over one small city, so I didn’t have in mind to make that same mistake a second day in a row – I try to either spread out my mistakes or at least change them up a bit.

Unfortunately, there are some parts of Barcelona that are just meant for walking, and we began our visit by rambling down the Ramblas, window shopping throughout. When we got to the end, or maybe to a mid-point that we declared to be the end for us, we caught a taxi over to the Gran Casino de Barcelona. No way I was stupid enough to suggest walking that leg. And I knew right up front that we would be taking another taxi from the casino back to the ship.

One resource I read states that the Casino de Barcelona opened July 8, 1979 in Saint Pere de Ribes, and moved in August 1999 to Barcelona Olympic Port. I don’t know when the “Gran” got added to the name. The casino is connected to a hotel, with the entrance to the gaming machines on the same level as the hotel lobby, but with the table games in a basement area.

There was a special procedure required for gaining access to the table games area. I described that in a post I made in a new thread shortly after we got home, and I asked for help understanding the receipt I had been given at the casino. I think the description that I gave in that post was better than anything I could generate new today, so I’m just going to refer everyone there. Oh, and that receipt doesn't have "Gran" on it the way the chip does, just "Casino de Barcelona", so I'm not totally sure what the name of the place really is.

I played blackjack, sorta. It was one of those tables where people are standing behind the seated players and placing bets behind theirs. I was not so lucky as I was in Monaco, and I was never able to get a seat. My notes say I was in the casino for an hour and a half, but I don’t really know how long I was playing stand-up blackjack. The game didn’t affect my personal finances noticeably. I cashed in for €1,25 more than I bought in for, and I kept a souvenir chip worth that much, too.

The chip is an extremely plain orange chip. It is the kind I would expect to see at very-low-end casinos in the US, perhaps with a hot-stamped label, or maybe as roulette chips at a lot of places. I have no idea who made it. The chip definitely struck me as less than I would have expected as the currency at a casino that otherwise seemed rather nice. There are no markings at all molded into the chip, and the center inlay looks like something that most any eight year old could generate on their home computer.



This is the last of my very limited set of European chips, and the last of the chips officially in my collection. Some years ago, I played at a few casinos in Cairo, and I would love to be able to post chips from an "Africa" category. Unfortunately, I was not collecting these souvenirs back then, so I don't have anything to show. I do have one final (for now) chip to post, though, and that will be coming tomorrow in a new category.
Doc
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May 15th, 2013 at 5:37:27 AM permalink
Category: Asia
City: Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Casino: NagaWorld


Today's post begins another category of chips with the only one I will post from Asia. I have never been to Asia, though I thought I was going to get a trip there in 1969 courtesy of the U.S. Army, and I have never seen the casino that is the source of today's Casino Chip of the Day.

I received this chip as a gift from forum member teliot, aka Dr. Jacobson. When he first contacted me, he said he had some chips from Cambodia and noted, "One of them has your name on it." My brain must have been fried, because I thought that meant that "Doc" was a word in the Khmer language and was printed on the chip as part of a slogan or something. Doh!

Thanks again, Elliot! I don't count this chip as part of my collection, since I didn't go to the casino myself to collect it, but it certainly merits being included in this thread.

Phnom Penh is Cambodia's capital city with a population of roughly 2 million people of the country's total of 14 million. The city's population and economy have recovered significantly since the Khmer Rouge were driven out more than 30 years ago.

The NagaWorld casino was established in Phnom Penh in 1995. And the casino's web site describes the source of the name this way:
Quote:

NagaWorld® derived its name from the mythical fable of a 7-headed dragon or “Naga.” The majestic dragon was believed to be residing in the rivers and guarding the entrance to Phnom Penh. The tale revealed its only sighting during the appearance of a rainbow and was thus considered highly auspicious. Reminiscent of a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, NagaWorld® was thereafter likened to a promising symbol of new beginnings and prosperity.


Since I have never been to Asia, and certainly not to this casino, I can't provide any first hand info on the place to help fill this post. Fortunately, this forum has a diverse population of members, and our member NokTang has posted about several visits to NagaWorld. I'll leave it to all of you to check out his review of the casino. I hope that he will give us a follow-up, first-hand story right here in this thread. Other people have made posts here about NagaWorld, too – does anyone have other chips that they can post for us to see?

The NagaWorld web site also comments:
Quote:

The official currency in Cambodia is the Riel. However, US Dollars are widely accepted. In fact, many businesses set their prices in US Dollars. Nevertheless, it is wise to carry some Riel with you for smaller purchases. The current exchange rate for Riel to US Dollar is around 4000 riel = US$1.


I tried to verify that exchange rate, but my Android app doesn't even list the Cambodian Riel. One online resource lists the figure at 3984.85 this morning, so the casino's site seems to be reasonably reliable on this. As a typical stupid American, I have some difficulty comprehending such currencies. If a Riel is worth roughly 0.025 cents, what do you buy with a Riel? Why have a monetary system in such a tiny denomination unit? Does it really make someone feel like a millionaire if they have $250 worth of local money? I just don't understand.

The chip shown below is a rather plain pink plastic chip in the Clover mold of Bourgogne-et-Grasset. It has six clover icons impressed around the perimeter and a black hot-stamped center label of the denomination and the name "Naga Casino". I don't know whether this is an earlier name or an abbreviation. I understand that this mold design has been used worldwide for quite some time.



This concludes the chips that I have available to post now, and I'm dumping responsibility for this thread right into the lap of rdw4potus, who I think has enough other chips to keep the thread going for maybe another year. He is also continuing to expand his collection.

As I collect additional chips, I will look for appropriate opportunities to post them. In the near term, I plan to visit many (all?) of the remaining casinos in Colorado right after WoVCon ]I[, and I will have them available to post when my replacement gets to that point in his collection.

Good luck with carrying this forward, rdw!



Edit (7/25/18): Now, more than five years after I made this post of the NagaWorld chip, followers of this thread are enjoying an extended series of Casino Chip of the Day posts from forum member and chip collector PokerGrinder. On his visit to multiple countries in Asia earlier this year, he stopped in to play at the NagaWorld casino and collected his own souvenir chip. He posted the image here and told us more about the casino. If you stumble across this five-year-old post, you might want to check that link for some updated info.
Last edited by: Doc on Jul 25, 2018
Doc
Doc
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May 15th, 2013 at 5:52:44 AM permalink
As I attempted to add the Asia Category and the NagaWorld chip to the index in post #1 of this thread, I got an error messge:
Quote:

Your post is too long, please shorten it.


Since I expect the directory to get much longer than this over time, I'll send an PM to JB to ask how to handle that. Hopefully, post #1 can be split into two parts that will appear as posts #1 and #2 to keep them together at the beginning of the thread. I'll let you know how that will be resolved.

If the full directory simply cannot go all together at the beginning and has to be split into parts way down here on page six zillion of the thread, maybe I should ask rdw4potus to take over responsibility for maintaining the directory, too, though we haven't discussed whether he would be willing to take on that additional load. I'll pursue that possibility, too.

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