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The Passing of Larry Eastman


Lucky Dipper
Mar 11, 2023
I was lucky enough to spend some time talking to Larry Eastman before he passed this past February. If you are here in the Cali section then you know who Larry is. He wrote the first published book on California chips and was one of the original OG CA chippers back in the day. He along with others like Doug Saito, Butch Reynolds and Armin Pfaender would go into some of the most sketchiest cardrooms all over CA just to get chips. It was a passion that had nothing to do with money or getting rich. Just the fun of the find. Larry made some mistakes along the way and he admitted that to me himself. I'm not gonna go into the story here but suffice it to say there are TWO sides to every story and it's a shame people only know the one version and not his which I have had others corroborate. But it is what it is

Before he died I asked him about some clubs and their chips and I have a lot of that info detailed for a new project. One of the chips I asked him about were the Pacheco Inn and Pioneer Rex chips.

Both have the same design more or less but their provenance has always been up for debate. Why would 2 card rooms have the same types of chips? Were the chips ever really used at the Pioneer Rex? Their use at the Pacheco Inn makes sense because it was the oldest club in CA and was a major stopping point for travelers in the area. There is even a large wagon wheel on the front of the building. But why is the Pioneer Rex listed as them using them as well? Well because Larry lived in Jackson and saw them in the club. "I was there and can tell you firsthand they were in play" So the speculation is that maybe when Pacheco Inn changed over to California Grand..the chips and their rights were sold over to Pioneer Rex. A club that had a similar long history going way way back to the Frontier days as well. As of now that seems the best hypothesis as to how they got there. Butch Reynolds told me that it was not uncommon for chips to travel from one cardroom to another. So again this sounds very plausible.

Larry was kind enough to let me purchase his immense collection of California matchbooks and once I scan them I will share them with the hobby. There are some really fantastic ones in there with many of the clubs not even listed in Chipguide. They will be known as the Larry Eastman Collection.

RIP Larry

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