30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

What Happens in Vegas...

Busting boxes of cards is sorta like playing the slot machines.  Sometimes I'll pull a nice hit and walk away with more value than I started out with.  But realistically... most of the time it's the other way around.  That's why I firmly approach sports cards and gambling the same way.  Entertainment trumps money.

Three weeks ago, I took a short trip down to Vegas to visit my parents, eat home cooked meals, and make my annual donation to their local casinos.  Mentally... it's better for me to assume that I won't return with any money in my pockets.

I know it's kinda negative... but I learned a long time ago that trying to make money off of sports cards and slot machines just isn't for me.  It's all about the thrill of tearing into packs or pushing little buttons to see if I walk away a winner.

And that's exactly what happened on my most recent trip...

Three separate jackpots made the difference.  The one on The Walking Dead slot machine was especially exciting, because it lasted almost 15 minutes and the jackpot kept going higher and higher.  It felt like I had pulled a hot pack out of a highend product and every card in the pack was better than the one before it.

These jackpots essentially paid for my flights, bought my parents some groceries, and took us out to dinner.  They also helped me pay for this...

If you asked collectors to build a Mount Rushmore of Ichiro cards, there's a pretty good chance that this card would be on it.  His 1993 BBM card is considered by many to be his true Japanese rookie card and personally I enjoy the simplicity of this design.  It kinda reminds me of the 1990 Pro Set football design.

In addition to this card, I've wanted to own an Ichiro autograph for quite some time as well.  Unfortunately both of these aren't within my normal cardboard budget.

However... thanks to the wonderful Red Rock Casino Resort and Spa... I was able to kill two birds with one stone and purchase this cornerstone card to my Ichiro collection.

The card was originally priced at $350 or best offer, but we agreed on a $299 price tag.

That week my hometown was hit hard with rain and flooding, so eBay generously gave San Jose residents a 20% off coupon that I also applied to this card.  That brought the total down to $249, which in hindsight is still way out of my budget.

Three weeks later, I have zero regrets.  It's not often I have the opportunity to add a card like this to my collection.  And honestly... outside of one day possibly purchasing a 1956 Topps Mickey Mantle... there's a good chance this is the most I'll ever spend on a single piece of cardboard.  And since I don't anticipate hitting another three major jackpots anytime soon... who knows if I'll ever add that Mantle to my collection.

But if and when I do... I'll be sure to write about it on here.   You know the saying... what happens in Vegas... gets written about on my blog.

Happy Tuesday and sayonara!


  1. That is a heck of a card and even better that it was practically free. Congrats on the amazing addition

  2. I had some luck with the original Walking Dead early on but at this point it pays out so poorly for me that I ignore it. That's a fantastic win on just a $1.50 bet! You're smart not to max bet that game, though. Congrats!

  3. I've never had much luck with slot machines. Of course, I've only put about $30 lifetime into them, so it's a small sample size. I think I prefer the cardboard lottery, even though my luck there doesn't seem much better.

    Congrats on the big pick-up!

  4. Do you ever hit up any of the card shops in Vegas?

  5. Cha Ching-Money in Vegas must go further than here-:). Glad you could add such an icon to your collection, fantastic addition

  6. That Ichiro is very cool. And it does indeed resemble the Pro Set FB. I was in Vegas in December. First time there. It's a whole different world.

  7. That definitely has a distinct Pro Set look to it. Excellent addition to your Ichiro collection.

  8. So cool that you were able to get such a big card. Who would have thought that the zombie apocalypse would net it for you.

  9. That Ichiro card is fantastic Fuji! Nice addition to your collection.

  10. 1993 and still tearing it up! That cards a treasure.

  11. Congrats on both the winnings and the pickup!

  12. Fantastic card and it looks awesome autographed! Congrats!

  13. Awesome Ichiro!How much does that card go for raw without an autograph?

  14. collecting cutch - thanks. it's easily the most money i've ever spent on a single card and it goes right next to my 56t robinson and 83t tony gwynn as cards I'll probably keep forever

    dennis - i think the odds on the ironman/willy wonka/wizard of oz/walking dead type machines are super tough. one year, i spent a decent dime on britney spears

    raz - honestly... if my mom didn't go, i wouldn't. but she loves it, so i always set aside money to hang out with her. 9 out of 10 times i leave vegas with less money. it actually is probably less than that.

    cynical buddha - i used to. haven't gone the past few years mainly b/c i've never really found any great deals.

    b man - thanks. vegas is fun, but will power is a must have

    sumomenkoman - thank you kind sir

    commishbob - it truly is. i'm grateful that my parents live in summerlin which is in a quieter part of town. but whenever we travel outside of the area...especially downtown and the strip, i totally agree it's a different world

    corky - yeah. it's a good thing that i like the 1990 pro set football design ;)

    matthew scott - i know, right. it's kind of a blur... but i want to say that it was michonne (one of my favorite characters) who helped me keep the jackpot rolling

    reds card collector - thanks! i'm pretty excited to have it sitting in my pc

    the angels in order - i know. i wish we could have seen how his career would have turned out had he played in the mlb the entire time

    kin - thanks!

    daniel wilson - yeah, i love it. might have been a little cooler if he signed in yellow paint pen, but i'm not complaining

    big tone - i've seen them sell anywhere from $75 to $125 raw (or low graded). someone told me that there are counterfeits, so i always wanted a graded copy.

  15. I'm a bit behind on my blog reading this week. Congrats on the luck and acquiring a new collection cornerstone.

    1. I appreciate you taking the time to stop by. Usually when I get behind, I go back a few days... and sacrifice all of the other posts I missed. Gotta wonder how many awesome posts out there I never read because I fell behind.