Casino Nacional (1 Viewer)

SteveEH

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Going to Havana is like going back in time. It's a bustling, historic, eroding, polluted city, and the Hotel Nacional de Cuba is it's oasis!

The first time I visited Havana was on a guided tour where they plan everything for you. When the bus took us along the Malecon, I saw it for the first time - towering over me on a rocky plateau. It wasn't on the itinerary, so I knew I'd have to return to see it one day.

Havana2012 116~2.jpg


That day came a couple of years later when I stayed there for 3 nights. In the photo below, I'm sitting on the terrace and the waiter's just about to drop off my cafe con leche.

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On the first trip I learned about its history, and studied a lot more on my own. Learning about the mob and gambling, and imagining how different Vegas would be today if there was no revolution was fascinating to me (the book "Havana Nocturne" is a good read if you're interested). I discovered Wilbur Clark ran the casino in the Hotel Nacional, and the chips were made on the H-mold.

wilbur clark's casino chips.jpg


How cool would it be to have my own custom set of chips made with the same mold the original ones were made with??? Of course it had to be done!!!

For the inlay, I found an image of an old matchbook with a drawing of the building. Here's a similar image from a luggage label:

lugg-label-naciona-fl.jpg


I had two inlays done by J5design (the best!):

- The first was to best represent the original chips with the casino name curved around the edge. These would be the primary chips for the set.

- The second to remind me of seeing the Nacional for the first time - looking up at it from the Malecon.

nacional_inlays.jpg


The primaries were made in 2011, which makes them 10 years old this year! To celebrate I've introduced a few fresh alternates that will hit the felt this year.

The denominations represent nickles, quarters, and dollars in my home game (we're not ballers).

For the colors, the Reto lavender on black has always been a favorite. Originally I planned to go with a brown base $5 and a light blue $25, but I decided to align with the original chips' colors as best as possible. There wasn't a good match for the minty/blue/grey base of the $25, so I went with light green. A red spot on this one didn't appeal to me and I chose dayglow orange. The $5 is mandarin red with retro blue spots.

On to the pr0n! The first pics are before and after (chips on the shiny polyester material are from 2011, and the ones on felt/velvet are from 2021). Note the sharp vs. soft edges after the 400-500 hours of play time. After that they're all 2021.

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The next are from 2021:

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I was never really happy with my first two sets of clay chips because I didn't really nail the theme. These on the other hand, near perfection IMO, and the community agreed as they made it into the CT calendar one year - what an honor!

When I return to the Hotel Nacional I leave a few samples.

Havana2012 133.jpg
 
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SteveEH

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I remember that pic - pretty cool seeing the work in progress in the mold.
 

BGinGA

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Welcome back! I remember the design thread of your great old-school set, and part of the back-story. You should share it here (and some pics) when you get a chance.
 

Thomacetti

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Feel free to mail me the files....and i'll post them for you.
You could try to open the pictures (with a standard windows app) & copy / paste in your post

Big H-mold fan...(my only ASM besides horseshoe mold)...love me some Key West (+1600 chips)
Your set is awsome.
 

PAZ

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Welcome aboard!! I just pulled out my samples to welcome you! They're still one of the cleanest, sharpest chips in my collection.

IMG_6714.jpg
 

BGinGA

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And one of the first with different inlay designs on front and back. Both J5 designs were so good, had to use them both.
 

SteveEH

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August 30th will be 10 years since I got these chips!

I've updated the first post with the full backstory and pr0n from 2011 and 2021.

Here are some anomaly chips. The one with the yellow inlay was too close to a penny maybe? The other side is white.

PXL_20210821_234735456.jpg


Here's a pic of a vintage chip from the Capri (I forget who sent this to me from CT but if you're around here thanks!). The colors are the same as the Wilbur Clark $25.

PXL_20210821_234801904.jpg
 
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Okku

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This is an awesome looking set! Love the story behind them and how it inspired you to go ahead with the chips! Very well done!
 

WedgeRock

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Congrats on a well executed set. Inlay -- especially the font -- is classy. H mold was a perfect choice. Even the simplicity of a repeating spot pattern seems correct for these chips.
 

Aorus

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Wow this set looks really good. Great job on the Inlay. That Capri chip looks really good. Now I am wondering what the other dinominations look like on the Capri chip.
 

SteveEH

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I posted a separate thread on this but didn't say much other than a cheeky comment.

It looks like someone used my set's mold and colors for 3D poker chip models :) I'm curious if it was anyone here...

Screenshot_20210924-080459.png
 

SteveEH

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Thank you @Spinettis Gaming !!!

Two of the original chips from the Hotel Nacional's casino next to mine!

I love the minty green and wish CPC could do that colour. The hundo texture is less worn than my shuffle stack hundo.

PXL_20220314_234047747.jpg
 
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SteveEH

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Late update but I have a full sample set of original Havana chips to match my set thanks to @Okku. Would like to somehow get these framed with a black and white hotel photo:

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Also thanks to @TKEUofM for allowing me to piggyback onto his order, these will be joining with the next H mold run (curved inlays only):

sa_cn_500a.jpg


As far as I know this denomination didn't exist back in the day, but I wanted to add on.

Back in 2012 when I placed an ASM add-on for existing denominations, Michael requested I send a couple of chips in to ensure the they were the same diameter, which were smaller than my Key West sample. I wonder if my $500s will be semi-oversized?
 
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