- Hardcover: 273 pages
- Publisher: Praeger (May 5, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0313382085
- ISBN-13: 978-0313382086
- Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.2 x 9.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,287,692 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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King of the Slots: William "Si" Redd
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"Harpster packs an incredible amount of detail–based on exhaustive research–into this biography, giving the reader a surprisingly vivid portrait of Redd. He is to be commended for drawing on a range of sources and melding them into a readable story. . . . Even Las Vegas and casino history buffs will learn quite a bit from King of the Slots. It's a well-researched look into the life of an important, but undeservedly lesser-known, gaming pioneer. It deserves a place in everyone's Nevada/gambling library." - dieiscast.com
"As a longtime pinball machine and jukebox distributor, Si Redd's insight and drive had a profound effect on the evolution of modern-day casino slot machines. Through his development of video poker slots, the first million dollar jackpot, and the founding of International Game Technology -- today the world's largest manufacturer of coin-operated gaming machines -- Redd's innovations have had an unparalleled affect on gaming worldwide. Jack Harpster's biography portrays the remarkable story of this colorful individual who was a predominant figure in the development of today's casino gaming industry." (Marshall Fey, grandson of Charles Fey, the inventor of the three-reel slot machine, and author of Slot Machines: America's Favorite Gaming Devices)
"Si Redd is truly one of the founding fathers of the gaming industry. It's hard to imagine what our industry would be like today without him. Si's vision led to the birth of video poker and wide-area progressive jackpots -- two games that helped revolutionize and enrich the gaming experience, and have become favorites of millions of casino players across the country. But the visionary businessman was just one side of Si. Those of us who knew him saw another side as well: a philanthropist dedicated to creating a better community for all. The man you're about to read about led a truly inspiring life, and this book will help ensure that his legacy to our industry and our community will not be forgotten." (William S. Boyd, Executive Chairman of the Board, Boyd Gaming Corporation)
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Top customer reviews
In KING OF THE SLOTS, Jack Harpster traces Redd's career, from his childhood as a sharecropper's son in rural Mississippi, to his start in the coin-operated amusement business with pinball machines and later jukeboxes, to a successful career as a machine route operator and distributor, to a second career in Nevada as a slot salesman and, eventually, manufacturer. Harpster packs an incredible amount of detail-based on exhaustive research-into this biography, giving the reader a surprisingly vivid portrait of Redd. He is to be commended for drawing on a range of sources and melding them into a readable story.
Despite his renowned philanthropy, Redd wasn't all sweetness and light-as a hard-headed negotiator, he didn't always make those he did business with happy. Towards the end of his life, he had a series of regulatory reverses that may have tarnished his legacy. Similarly, Redd didn't always have the Midas touch when it came to business. It's to Harpster's credit that he doesn't minimize these negatives, and they make his biography of Redd feel more balanced and more accurate for their inclusion.
Even Las Vegas and casino history buffs will learn quite a bit from KING OF THE SLOTS. It's a well-researched look into the life of an important, but undeservedly lesser-known, gaming pioneer. It deserves a place in everyone's Nevada/gambling library.