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Chicago Gambling Memorabilia Auction Features Relics from Poker’s Past

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Chicago Gambling Memorabilia Auction Features Relics from Poker’s Past

Rare books on poker, vintage playing cards, dice, and other relics from poker’s past will be up for auction in Chicago next weekend. Potter & Potter Auctions’ Gambling Memorabilia sale takes place May 19. The items up for auction will be on display for the public at the Potter $ Potter gallery in Chicago May 16-18.

Back when a deck of cards was hard to come by, square games were nearly impossible to find. In the Old West, cheaters were called “advantage players,” and they went to the game with tricks up their sleeve, sometimes literally.

One of the featured items at the auction will be a Will & Fink Brass Sleeve Holdout. This cheating device looks like something invented by Mr. Gadget. It would be far too bulky and conspicuous to use at a card table today, but poker players of the past used it to keep an ace up their sleeve.

The auction also includes a piece of rare, pre-poker history. The card game faro was a gambling precursor to poker, and by 1882 it was already infamous for the taking the money of unsuspecting gamblers. At the auction will be an original copy of Alfred Trumble’s book “Faro Exposed, or The Gambler and His Prey.”

The book is expected to fetch over $20,000 – it is the only copy in a private collection and the only known complete copy. Not everything at the auction is priced as high. Gamblers and poker players looking for an affordable bit of memorabilia to display can pick up dice, vintage poker chips, and more.


Hailing from Wisconsin but arriving in Las Vegas in 1995, I'm better known at various US online poker rooms under the pen name "OreoBob" and "SoyFlush". I'm an avid poker player and editor-at-large who has contributed as a freelance writer for diverse national and international iGaming publications since 2004.