Chequers Book Reviews
The Professor, Michael Knapp
The Gaming Table, Revised Edition, Allan Myers, Ernie Wheelden, and Michael Knapp (1998)446 pages, perfect bound, $35 plus $3 postage, KMW Publishing Co., Dept. E, P. O. Box 17002, Louisville, KY 40217 (also carried by dealers)
Until 1991, no one had attempted to gather the names, locations, addresses, and operating dates of every casino which had ever existed, throughout the world. The Gaming Table was that book. The Revised Edition takes this major reference work a major leap forward.
More than triple the size of the original book, The Gaming Table is organized in four main sections: the 16,000 entries in the main section are alphabetical, with cross-reference entries to aid in research.
The geographical index, from Antigua to Zimbabwe, allows the collector to determine easily and quickly whether his collection represents most of the casinos from a particular location, or to plan a visit to a foreign jurisdiction knowing in advance what casinos are in the area.
A section consisting of pictures of chips with Oriental characters, illustrations, or other difficult-to-describe markings has been included, and some of the chips are identified by source. Others are still unknown. An extensive explanatory introduction, a User's Guide, and the most complete bibliography of gaming research materials published to date are also included.
Not only legal (licensed) casinos are included in the book. Extensive listings of illegal clubs which flourished throughout the United States from the 1920's through the 1950's are covered by The Gaming Table.
Whereas the first edition contained many blanks (unknown adresses or operating dates, for example), the years of research and major assistance of other collectors who are acknowledged in the beginning of the book, has resulted in a far more complete and comprehensive reference work which belongs in every collector's library.
It is an invaluable aid to chip identification, and provides the link between merely amassing a number of different chips and a collection: where some background and history of each chip is known and valued by the collector.
There is much to be learned from The Gaming Table. For example, one of the oldest casinos listed is Il Riditto, in Venice, Italy, which operated from 1624 through 1774: a period of 150 years! The oldest casino still in existence and operating is the casino in Baden-Baden, Germany, which opened in 1748, almost 250 years ago.