It is impossible to keep poker players happy, as they will always find something to complain about: this dealer is too slow; it’s too dark at this end of the table; the TV isn’t on the right channel; that guy takes too long to bet; that seat’s been empty for two minutes and the floor personnel haven’t brought us a new player yet; where they hell is the waitress? Add to that the variance of any poker game, where even the best player can lose a hand when the wrong card comes, and you find yourself surrounded by people prone to moan.

The latest example has to do with the recent purchase of Harrah’s St. Louis by Penn National Gaming, which re-branded the venue as one of its Hollywood casinos. It will eventually mean new carpeting, new restaurants, a new nightclub, etc. — an upgrade that will cost tens of millions once it’s done.  But in these first two weeks of the new ownership, the priority was getting the Harrah’s logo off everything and replacing it with the Hollywood brand on every sign, card, table felt, uniform, employee ID, and chip.

Upper management may be new but, fortunately, the personnel in the poker room haven’t changed, nor have the games and players, so there’s very little to complain about. But poker players will always find something worth a gripe, and their ire has been aimed at the chips.  The complaint is that the $5 chips and the $25 chips are too similar and thus easily confused at the table.  Most of the games in the poker room have low limits (buy-ins up to $3000), so the $25 chips are rare, but in the bigger games ($500-$5,000 buy-ins) chips of $25 and up are more common.

Those are the games that I play in regularly, so I’ve heard the whining and shaken my head. St. Louisans seem to have a congenital resistance to change, even when there’s nothing they can do about it.  In this instance, Hollywood isn’t going to toss these chips out and make new ones, so players will just have to get used to them, which they will in the next few weeks before they discover something new to bitch about.

I have played in dozens of casinos around the world, with plenty of different color schemes, and the chip colors don’t matter to me at all, because I try to remember that the idea of a poker game is not to be aesthetically pleased by the chips, but to get as many of them as possible from your stack into mine.