Tuesday, January 5, 2010

WBPT Trip Report: Part 5 - The Gamblers Book Shop #WPBT

I think every time I've gone to Las Vegas, there's always a few things that surprise me. Sometimes, I know I'm setting myself up to be surprised, but on every trip I always hope to discover something I had no clue was in my future.

When Yestbay got us to the Pinball Hall of Fame, I just happened to notice in the other building in the parking lot there was a store I'd only heard and read about; The Gamblers Book Shop.

It would be hard to believe that poker and gambling would have advanced as far as they have without this store. Many of the authors we read today got their start with the help of this store. David Skalanky's first book on Hold 'em, aptly titled, Hold 'Em Poker, we first printed and sold here.

The store is small and cozy, these pictures pretty much show the whole thing. Circling just below the ceiling throughout the store are pictures of gamblers that make up the history of our games. It's respect for the past can be seen and felt everywhere.

I was looking through the shelves, and found a few of the old hand bound manuals that you hear about. Early authors with no publishing deal would type up what they had, bind it together and put it on these shelves in hopes someone would buy it. They were so cool.

I've gathered together some links to much more definitive histories of this store:

I wish I would have asked the gentleman below what his name was. He was fascinated by my coming from Minnesota. He used to live up here but had called Las Vegas his home for quite a while. He was just full of a fascinating stories about Las Vegas. He could name people at the drop of a hat and connect them to all sort of tales. If I was a real writer, I would probably have been more prepared for this, but I wasn't. My loss and I feel it. He took the time to show me around to tell me stories about some of the books. I found a few books I had on my to read list. Two of them had stickers stating "Signed by author." Yep, those found their way back to my suitcase for the trip home.

Another story I listened to made me a little disappointed. He told me Doyle Brunson was in the store the day before signing his biography, The Godfather of Poker: The Doyle Brunson Story. Son of a bitch! That's a bad beat. I would have waited in line all day to be there for that. As bad luck would have it, they sold the last copy of the extra's he'd signed earlier in the day. Did I say, son of a bitch? How bout, gawd damn it!

Next year, I know we will be going back to the PHoF, that's becoming a tradition. PirateLawyer even promises a much better process for organizing the trip. I'd like to suggest we also take the journey a few feet away and visit this little book store again. I'm thinking I will also be checking out their web site to make sure we aren't missing a super cool book signing. I mean come on, who doesn't want to watch Texas Dolly autograph his biography on a little table right in front of you! Heck, next year, I'll probably even remember to bring a notebook, pen and a voice recorder to do a better job of listening.

Stay tunes, I'm not quite done yet. Steel Panther and the rise of the Purple Pride are still to come!


Shrike said...

I have no objection to a good two-fer.


Memphis MOJO said...

Excellent piece, and the photos really add to it.

jamyhawk said...

Keep the reports coming. I'm enjoying them.