Five-minute filler: Down the poker memorabilia rabbit hole

January 27, 2021inPoker

At 55 minutes past the hour, all tournaments on PokerStars stop. It gives you five minutes to visit the bathroom, make a drink, or wolf down some food. Or do something else altogether. Our occasional Five Minute Filler feature offers an alternative way to spend 300 seconds (or more).

The internet is full of rabbit holes. Essentially, it’s a warren for the inquisitive mind. There are few websites quite as fun to get lost in as ebay, which was one of the internet’s earliest success stories, and is still going strong more than 25 years after its founding.

If you have the odd five minutes, searching around for poker memorabilia is great fun. Just look at what’s on offer. If you have five grand burning a hole in your pocket, for instance, then a signed Doyle Brunson cowboy hat is there to be had. “Hat shows minimal signs of wear, but was indeed worn by Doyle,” reads the listing, with some other remarkable details sketched in.

A Brunson original (Image: ebay)

“Hat was gifted to seller in 2009 by Doyle Brunson for Mother’s Day and sent to Seller (along with other gifts) by Cyndi Violette,” we are told. As if proof were needed, one of the images shows the packaging box with Violette’s name in the “From” box. More intriguing perhaps is the final image, which shows “seller and Doyle at from (sic) 2010 New Year’s party at Howard Lederer’s home”.

One word of warning, though: “It’s (sic) size is quite large. Not sure you would want to wear this hat, but you could.”

A rare first edition of Brunson’s first book (Image: ebay)

There’s plenty of other Brunson memorabilia available, including a first edition of the book that became known as Super/System. It’s particularly rare, and carries a $950 price tag, as its name at this stage was still How I Made Over $1,000,000 Playing Poker. There are all kind of other photos, chips and cards signed by the Texan great — and someone even has a copy of his high school yearbook, where Brunson appears as a sophomore and on the basketball team.

If we delve into the ebay category “Weird Stuff > Slightly Unusual”, we find an item that certainly fits the bill. You probably won’t ever get to the last two of the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event, but if you’re willing to send the entry fee to a player named Scott Neuman, you can get your hands on the chip bags that two heads-up WSOP players once used.

A $10K bag (Image: ebay)

Yes, you read that right. Ten grand is the asking price for the discarded bags in which the chips belonging to Peter Eastgate and Ivan Demidov were stored before they went heads-up in 2008 to decide the world title. In his listing, Neuman details how he watched the battle from alongside the table after being invited by one of the players’ managers. At a later date, Neuman bid at an auction for the chip bags and won them, but is now trying to sell them on.

Neuman is a player himself, and once played a WPT event after raising the buy-in on ebay. One must remain sceptical that these bags will ever fetch the asking price, but certainly it’ll be worth digging through the bins at whatever major tournament you attend next. There could be more valuable trash just waiting to be salvaged.

Salvador Dali memorabilia

The most expensive item with “poker” in the description is also one of the most unusual. Actually, “surreal” is the better word. A seller named “WorldClassPlayingCards” has a collection of items designed by the great Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dali, including plates, playing cards and posters. All are certified limited editions and the work of one of the most collectable modern artists, although their link to poker seems questionable. However, as the seller says, “This is a true piece of history as each Dali artifact can tell a story and also proves that owning such a magnificent collection is truly remarkable for any collector!” Who could possibly doubt that? $45,999 and it’s yours.

Personally, I’d rather take the table of taxidermy racoons playing poker for a little over three grand, but each to his own.

What’s the best piece of poker memorabilia you’ve seen or own? Let us know in the comments box. Otherwise, just head on over to ebay in your five minutes per hour and dive down the rabbit hole.


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