years ago, more than I would like to admit to, my former
wife Carol and I enjoyed country western dancing. We
often went to Sam’s Town located on Boulder highway at
least twice a week and The Cowboy Club in North Las
Vegas at least once a week. We mingled and became
friends with an older crowd. The self proclaimed leader
of this older crowd was an elderly woman we called “Ma”
or Sam’s Town Ma depending upon whether she knew you or
not. Ma’s full name was Jackie Makler. She rarely if
ever danced but sat overlooking and presiding over all
who passed by her booth and acknowledged her presence.
Her husband Al always was with her and they generally
sat at the first booth on the left of the dance floor
(before it was remodeled) as you entered the dance hall.
always looked for another woman to dance with whose
first name was Kelly. Ma couldn’t dance because she was
over weight and had enough problems just walking. Kelly
would often arrive late and Al would wait patiently for
her so he could have someone to two step with. Most of
the younger crowd loved the line dancing and didn’t care
much for the traditional two step or waltz.
time while Ma and I were sitting alone, Ma started to
tell me about Kelly and what a great dancer she was. I
remember Ma telling me that Kelly and her husband had
been in Las Vegas for many years. They had operated a
dance studio and now both were retired. No sooner had Ma
finished sharing her information. In walked Kelly who
appeared to be irritated and smiling at the same time.
Ma inquired as to what was wrong. Kelly proceeded to
tell Ma, while I intently listened, that her husband had
purchased a roulette wheel with the corresponding
roulette chips. She did not care so much that he
purchased this “thing” but it was in the middle of her
beautiful living room. She told her husband she wanted
this ‘thing” moved as soon as possible. We three laughed
and moved on to a different topic. The year was sometime
in the late 1970’s or early 1980’s.
that time, little did I know or care but the Kelly who
hung with the dancing group at Sam’s Town was Kelly
Gellette. Yes, the Kelly Gellette who was married to
the man who I would become good friends with in the
1990’s, chip dealer/collector Jim Gellette.
that makes for a nice story but the story is far from
roulette wheel and chips that Jim purchased came from a
gentleman who lived in California. A man by the name of
Myron Eichen. The roulette wheel and chips were from the
Dunes. According to chip authority James Campiglia, the
roulette chips were issue number four, Christy and
Jones, white inlay with the name Dunes and the number
“1” prominently displayed upon the white inlay. There
were racks of each of the five colors.
Gellette sold the roulette wheel and the chips were
dispersed by him throughout the years to various dealers
1994 I retired from the Internal Revenue Service. I
decided to start to play poker more often than I had in
the past. I had played for many years and when I first
started to play the poker game I enjoyed was called…….
two down and five up. Today it is called Texas Hold’em.
Anyway, I started to play during the graveyard shift at
Texas Gambling Hall and Casino. At that time there was
no Texas Station. During the course of many months I met
a gentleman who for whatever reason became my friend.
Richie is the type of person one just instantly likes.
He’s infectiously happy and enjoys life to the fullest
Today we still are good friends and I see or talk with
him often. His full name is Richard Schwartz but
everyone calls him Richie, Rich. Anyway, one day while
playing we were sitting next to each other in a hot and
heavy 10-20 Hold’em game. Some way the conversation
turned to collecting old time Vegas memorabilia. I
casually mentioned I collect casino chips. Richie said
it was too bad we had not met years earlier because he
had gotten a roulette wheel and corresponding roulette
chips from his brother-in-law, kept the items for years
and finally sold them to an old time Las Vegas chip
dealer. I about dropped my jaw so low it almost hit the
green felt table.
Richie where did you get the roulette wheel and roulette
chips from? “I told you my brother-in-law Myron Eichen.”
Richie said with a big smile that indicated, in a nice
way, a question as to whether I was senile for asking a
question I supposedly knew the answer too. Tell me about
it Richie I pleaded.
Richie said Myron had purchased the Dunes wheel and
chips from an antique dealer in California. Myron often
purchased such items if the price was right. Myron’s
wife Joan did not care for the amount of space the
roulette wheel took up so she asked Myron to get rid of
it. Myron called Richie and asked if he would like it.
Of course I’ll take it Richie told Myron. Myron had the
wheel and chips delivered to Richie who kept it for
years. Richie’s daughter “Breezy” played with the chips
stacking them, building houses with them. Etc. Finally
one day Richie needed some money and ran an ad in the
local paper to sell the wheel and related chips. Who
answered the ad? You guessed it…..Jim Gellette. Jim
purchased the wheel and remaining chips that were
intact. (Inlays were missing from Breezy playing with
the chips as a little girl). Jim paid Richie $3,500 for
Where’s the wheel……I don’t know. I should have asked Jim
before he died but I didn’t. Where the chips...The chips
are are scattered throughout the collecting community.
What do the chips actually look like? Here is a scan of
one. I hope you enjoyed the story as much as I enjoyed