Hey, here's a thing! This old commercial was just posted on Youtube, and it's quite an artful piece. If you remember the '90s, (although, as the saying goes, if you remember the '90s, then you totally weren't there or maybe you were there and didn't eat enough fun mind-erasing drugs) you'll remember that The Wiz was a prominent electronics dealer that advertised in damn near every New York area sporting event. Nobody beat them. They were so prominent, in fact, that at some point between 1993 and 1996, they tendered their own currency. The Knicks-- namely Patrick Ewing, John Starks, Derek Harper, Anthony Mason, and Charles Oakley-- got a hold of that currency and used it to play some sort of byzantine gambling game that I don't quite understand. Behold:
Jump for some explanation.
A little play-by-play:
0:00- I'd bet any number of Wiz Bucks that somebody else wanted the seat closest to the fireplace but Oak was like "no fucking way" and growled a little bit and the others promptly acquiesced.
0:02- Al Trautwig. Oh hell yes.
0:07- This is a fast-paced game! They're just throwing the Wiz Bucks into one big pile!
0:10- Hey, that's interesting. Patrick "raises" the bet, (not sure whose bet he's raising, but I don't think even he's sure) and announces that somebody is going to save $100 with a single Wiz Buck he just played. Thus, "Wiz Bucks" aren't equivalent to US dollars. In fact, each appears to be equivalent to $100...in savings!?
0:13- Starks tries to cheat. That wily son of a bitch.
0:18- Hold the phone, these things represent a whole range of savings on a variety of electronic goods! The maximum winnings in this game are apparently $2500. Not sure how many Wiz Bucks that'd be. Anyway, I suppose that allows for "raising", because one buck's savings might outdo another's. What's compelling is that you have to part with a high-value Wiz Buck to reap the lesser Wiz Bucks of your opponents. But what if they trump yours!? Well, they win, most likely. Whoever's holding the highest-value Wiz Buck should win this entire game. Every time. That is, unless there are enough Wiz Bucks to encompass the full gamut of playing card suits and values. Like, maybe each genre of electronic equipment (TVs, camcorders, audio systems, and personal computers. "Much more" are jokers.) corresponds to a suit with demarcated savings values. Are you allowed to put cards down in combination? If so, I could see this game being sort of like Big Two, only with Wiz Bucks. I still can't quite wrap my head around how the Wiz Bucks are both playing cards AND betting chips. I wonder if Al Trautwig would be willing to explain this to me.
0:21- Mase raises to a $200 Wiz Buck. Shit is getting heated. Off camera, Derek Harper chokes out Starks for peeking at his Wiz Bucks.
0:23- Clipping Wiz Bucks at the table, Derek? Really? You didn't do that in advance? If the guys hadn't just seen him throttle John Starks, they'd probably say something.
0:29- Note that we go the whole ad without Oakley saying or doing anything. That's because he's counting Wiz Bucks.
An excellent, albeit puzzling, advertisement. Note that The Wiz is now out of business, presumably because of games such as this one amassing too many savings for its players.