MilouPilou's 3 years/1k posts - A retrospective on my journey (1 Viewer)


Jun 30, 2020
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Paris, France
3 years/1k posts A retrospective on my journey:

Recently marked my 3 years in the hobby and 1000th post on PCF. I will first of all thanks the PCF community as a whole, for being so friendly and helpful, without whom nothing would have been possible. Today, I wanted to share my modest collection, past and present, with a bit of history and a lot of photos. I've got threads scattered all over the place, but I wanted to bring it all together and write a bit more than usual - I'm by nature rather discreet - and it's not an easy exercise for a French guy to write in English, I'm sure you'll agree haha. I apologize for any mistakes, I'm sure you'll understand! There's nothing exceptional here, no stunning finds on my journey, no boat resurfaced with trunks full of Paulson mint chips, no speaking for hours with an old man under a porch. Just my story, just a non-Us member who comes out of nowhere, knows almost nothing about chips but wants to start a collection..

Chapter 1: The beginning (April 2020)

I had no idea this hobby existed and zero knowledge about chips. I was no longer hosting or attending other home games at that time, but I get an invite to join a group of long-time friends who play cash games 1 or 2 times a month at 0.50/1€ blinds (still my main group). They're non-chippers, so Dice chips, non-plastic cards and other pilling mats were standard.

At that time, I started hanging around the French forum « ClubPoker » (a great community) during the pandemic, reading, learning and chatting with other members about poker chips. Like many, I felt like at the time to upgrade for better quality chips, cards and stuff for home games.

First purchases in bulk, with no real coherence or precise initial idea other than building a playable cash set:


My very first set: ASM Monsoon Palace



Also jumped on a Sunfly (PolyInno 43mm) GB to acquire these ACF tribute T5 tourney set:

Chapter 2: Le Cercle Concorde (July 2020)

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It all started here, back in the days in 2006, when I made my debuts in 2€/2€ cash games in this poker room located on the 9th arrondissement of Paris. I was 20 years old, was student and had a part-time job, shooting these stakes almost every day with 50 poor blinds, playing like a nit, and hoping for the best (lol). Sometimes I'd go there alone, at night, and hope to hold out long enough until the early hours of the morning to catch a train home, because after midnight there are no more trains to the suburbs - I didn't have a car at the time. I was lucky enough to be overall positive during this period, so I have great memories of it. Walking out of the poker room in Paris at 6 a.m. closing time, pockets full of cash or chips, Seeing people wake up, opening cafés and a head full of memories...I still feel nostalgic today just writing it down...

Alongside, we had our almost daily home games at 0.20/0.20.

As an anecdote, when I left a game one night from Concorde, I joined in a bar a group of friends, including that woman who is now my spouse and the mother of my son. So I really have a special affection regarding that card room.

During my discussions on ClubPoker, first purchases and sales on the forum, I met the man who was to take me under his wing. A former dealer and experienced collector, to whom I owe a lot.

He introduced me to other collectors and one day I had the opportunity to buy a 450-chip Concorde set for a 4-figure sum.

After struggling to convince myself to spend a premium for poker chips, I decided to take the plunge and sell off most of my musical stuff (electric guitars, bass, effects pedals, amp etc.) to raise the money and buy « my grail set », the one I had so many memories of, the one whose chips I loved so much.

Note also a particular context around the Parisian Cercles of the time, with the supposed involvement of the criminal underworld.

Once again, the courts are preparing to open the heavy, discreet door of a Parisian gambling club. After the Wagram in December 2012, it's now the turn of the Cercle Concorde, which was "closed" in autumn 2007, to appear in front of the Marseilles Criminal Court on Monday. The case involves money laundering against a backdrop of rivalries between Marseille-based Corso gangs. Under the microscope are a restaurant owner, a Swiss banker, a renowned former gendarme-barbouze and members of the Marseilles gang. In all, twenty defendants will face charges including criminal conspiracy, money laundering and extortion. They face up to 10 years in prison.

The story. Lantieri and Raffalli, the investor and the manager.

The beginning of the investigation: the Marronniers massacre. Just two months after the inauguration of the Concorde, Paul Lantieri was arrested in January 2007 in connection with another case: the massacre at the Marronniers brasserie in Marseille. In April 2006, this gunfight resulted in the death of kingpin Farid Berrahma and his two lieutenants, against the backdrop of a war between Corsican and North African gangs for control of the underground slot machines in the city.

In the course of their investigations, the police discover that Paul Lantieri is involved: he is said to have helped one of the gunmen, Ange-Toussaint Federici, known as "ATF", a figure of Corsican organized crime, to treat a wound in a Marseilles clinic. The two men were arrested at the same time, but did not meet the same fate. In October 2012, "ATF" was sentenced to 30 years' imprisonment. For his part, Paul Lantieri was indicted, then quickly released. However, his businesses are now more than ever in the crosshairs of the law.

The ace up Lantieri's sleeve: the Marseilles godfather. Searches carried out as part of the investigation into the massacre uncovered Lantieri's links with the upper echelons of the Marseilles underworld. Investigators discovered that La Rotonde had been financed by Nick Venturi, a former kingpin of the "French Connection" and the strong arm of Gaston Defferre, the emblematic mayor of Marseille from the post-war period until his death in 1986. This godfather introduced Lantieri to another figure from the Marseilles milieu: Roland Cassonne, "an old gentleman", according to the investigation file. In fact, it was Cassonne who financed the Cercle Concorde on the side. Through eavesdropping, the police also learn that the establishment is a "laundry": the club is used to launder illicit money.

May 2007: The entente cordiale between Paul Lantieri and Edmond Raffalli, the manager of the club, quickly fell apart. The latter criticized Lantieri for being too greedy. "I want to know how much money there is and where it's going," he raged one day. The manager of the gambling house turned to the arbitration of Roland Cassone, their clandestine "benefactor". One evening in May 2007, the circle's strongmen, Jean-François Federici, brother of "ATF", and Jacques Buttafoghi, both members of the Corsican "bergers-braqueurs" gang, along with Marcel Ciappa, their "debt collector", pulled off a coup de force. Lantieri and his Swiss partner were expelled from the establishment, to the benefit of Raffalli.

From Switzerland, banker François Rouge attempts a counter-attack. On the advice of the famous criminal lawyer Jaques Vergès, the latter contacted Paul Barril, former number 2 in the GIGN and founder of François Mitterand's anti-terrorist unit, who has since set up his own private security "consulting" company. However, all attempts to bring back the Lantieri-Rouge were in vain, as the balance of power finally shifted in favor of the Raffalli-Féderici alliance.

September 2007: ALL-IN. In September 2007, "debt collector" Marcel Ciappa, known as "Petit Marcel", was shot dead with a sawed-off shotgun at the age of 64 in an Aubagne clinic by two killers disguised as surgeons. The investigators, who had been following these internal power struggles, intervened a few months later. On November 27, 2007, François Rouge was arrested near Lyon. Paul Barril was arrested on December 24, 2007 at the Baumettes prison in Marseille. Nick Venturi's son was also caught in the net. Roland Cassonne was arrested in his villa in Aix-en-Provence. The 63-year-old Marseille midfield legend was pruning the hedge in his garden, wearing a bullet-proof vest and carrying a Glock automatic pistol in his pocket. As for Paul Lantieri, he escaped the dragnet. But after six years on the run, "Monsieur Paul" turned up for the opening of the trial on Monday. His final bluff?

Now some pron of the set, with its evolution over time from start to nowadays:





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Chapter 3: PCF debuts - What iz a Paulson? (2020 - 2022)

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One day, I stumbled across a photo of this chip and literally fell in love with it. I asked about them to my friend who said « Just register on PCF and post an ad! » Which I did, without really knowing what I was getting myself involved in!

Before posting my first ad, I obviously spent days and nights browsing the forum. Reading, learning, understanding. First, about the chips themselves (manufacturers, molds, leaded/unleaded, inlays, hotstamps etc.), how to ship correctly, but also to understand the workings and mentality of the PCF community, so as to fit in as well as possible.

It wasn't long before I made another decisive encounter: Zaki @horseshoez, I can't thank you enough dear friend. Not only did you offer a high-quality reshipping service for over a year, but also your friendship and trust. You took the time every day to reply to my more or less silly PMs haha. You even went out of your way to put yourself in uncomfortable situations to help me find certain chips. I owe you so much. Thank you for all. I'd also like to take this opportunity to salute and warmly thank two other members who also helped (and still) me a lot with reshipping, among other discussions and tips about the hobby: @liftapint and @ReallyGoodUsername God bless you guys!

Without going into too much detail, I didn't manage to find them, despite several months of intensive searching, PMs and offers ranging from $800 to $1200 (which shocked a part of the community at the time, which is quite laughable when you see what happened next and the differences in reactions depending on who makes the offer). For the record, I was finally offered one, but at a prohibitive price, which I refused, so I opted for a replacement $5 chip, which turned out to be a rather nice choice. In the meantime, I was already working on the other denoms, trying to make something coherent, while taking into account the randomness of chip availability, complicated auction schedules for Europeans, etc., we've managed to create a coherent whole. So I chose the easy side of NAGB chips. Can't I have a rack of OG's? Okay, let's go for a Tribute set!

@Senzrock helped me here for 80% of the chips (Hi my friend!) @Josh Kifer milled the solids and @Gear perfect labels done the job.

Pron of the set, with its evolution over time to nowadays










Chapter 4: Sample sets and Singles Era (2021):

Caught up in the addiction, and with a certain comfort having a reshipper, I started collecting various singles and sample sets.

Here are a few photos of my past collection, I'm now out of the game, nothing much to say about that. It was fun to own them, but definitely not my thing. Over the years I have refined my tastes and tempered expectations.

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To be continued
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Chapter 5: That’s a Miracle! (2021 - 2022)

Then one day, after near a year of vain searching, a retiring French chipper posts an ad with 160 x $5 Bourbon Street at his cost, and he's extremely kind enough to give me the first shot. DIBS!!! Finally, I've got them!!!!!! And for a phenomenal deal, near my very first public offer for those chips. That’s what I call a miracle. True is that I wouldn't have been able to afford them if the seller wasn’t community minded.

Now that my Tribute set is locked, what can I do with these? First complete the 2nd rack, which I was able to do single by single. In the meantime, I've had the opportunity to purchase some Aztar racks and complete a pretty cool mixed set.

Pron of the set, with its evolution over time to nowadays




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To be continued
Chapter 6: Abandoned projects

A mixed hotstamp set that started well, but the step was too high for me.


House mold sets that unfortunately didn't end in success:



Chapter 7: Tina’s sets

I play exclusively in cash games, but having a small tournament set in the collection wouldn't go amiss. I went for the budget option with an Aria cards mold set, and couldn't pass up a Tribute Bellagio 98 set, which are in my TOP 3 favorite lineup.






For someone who's only been here 3 years, I consider myself extremely grateful and lucky to have this collection and so many people to tag and to thank that I'll be endless. Today, I'm a happy chipper and only looking for more home games and meetups to enjoy and felt the chips, with people sharing the same love for the chips. The social aspect of the game is essential to me, and the beautiful objects we collect enhance the good times spent with friends.

Thank you for reading, take care of yourself and your families. <3
Great read, great stuff. Love hearing stories like this. Not sure why, but I've always found French chippers to be some of the best. They steal all our resources :p Kidding, but now I want more B&G chips :) Looking forward to what you do next @MilouPilou1
Great read, great stuff. Love hearing stories like this. Not sure why, but I've always found French chippers to be some of the best. They steal all our resources :p Kidding, but now I want more B&G chips :) Looking forward to what you do next @MilouPilou1
Thanks for your kind words. Learned all from the French veteran chippers, and then from PCF ones, owe you all so much guys.

Well, let's tease the next set which I'll work on: House mold GN's - first rack secured.

Oh and a custom CPC would probably be the final boss :ROFL: :ROFLMAO:


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