Poker chips are a common topic on this forum. This post contains some basic information about poker chips, to help get people up to speed. Read through this, check out some of the links, and if you still have questions, either add a comment to the threads linked below, or start your own thread with your question.
This is just a brief overview on poker chips. You can find more details on Wikipedia
. And the ChipTalk.net forums
is a great resource about poker chips. Check out their what-to-buy page
TYPES OF POKER CHIPS
You should ignore many of the claims made by those who sell poker chips. Terms like "clay" are widely misused. All chips are mostly made of some sort of polymer or resin. It is the type of polymer, additional ingredients, and the method of manufacture which differentiates poker chips. There are three main categories of poker chips construction:
- Injection Molded: These are commonly called plastic chips. They may be all plastic and very light, or contain a metal slug to give them weight. Although disdained by chip-aholics, they do the job and are beloved by some.
- Compression Molded: These are often called clay chips, though the amount of earthen material is only a fraction of the material used, and can vary greatly. These are the most common type of casino poker chips. They weigh around 9 to 10 grams each. These are the most expensive chips on the market.
- Injecto-compression: An injection molding process that provides a denser chip than regular injection molding. These have more of a plastic feel than true compression molded chips, but achieve casino weight without the use of a metal insert. Sometimes called "China clays," they are a popular compromise between the cheapest injection molded chips and the most expensive compression molded chips.
- Ceramic: While they are not made of true ceramic, these chips have a ceramic feel and sound, and are the same weight as compression molded chips, without using a metal insert. They also provide a full chip surface for graphics.
(Thanks to homepokertourney.com
for the use of their chip images
Clay casino chips for decades have been roughly 8-10g. Paulson, BCC, and ASM all manufacture compression molded chips of approximately that weight.
Injection-molded chips would be much lighter and feel "cheap" by comparison, so manufacturers include a metal slug to bring the weight up. Slugged chips are often promoted as "casino weight", which is simply marketing bafflegab.
Slugged chips generally weigh 11g and up, and have a characteristic metallic sound when handled. Needless to say, poker chip aficionados do not covet this sound. You don't need your chips to weigh 13g+, and the best chips weigh less than that.
Older Paulson chips used small amounts of lead to add heft, and might not be particularly safe to handle regularly. All modern clay chips are lead-free. Most ASM chips contain brass flakes, which are easily visible in the edges of the chips.
DENOMINATIONS AND COLORS
Whether you get denominated or non-denominated chips, you need to get the right chips for your game to play optimally.
When deciding what values your chips should represent, keep in mind the rule that each chip should be worth four or five times the next smallest chip. Standard chip values for US currency are .01, .05, .25, 1, 5, 25, 100, 500, 1000, 5000, 25000, and 100000. There is no need to buy any other denominations, like .10, .50, or 10 chips. 20 chips can be used instead of 25 chips, if that is your preference.
If you buy ready-made, denominated chips, your color choices are already set. But if you buy non-denominated chips, or order custom chips, you will need to decide what color to use for each value. In a few areas, notably California, chip colors vary from casino to casino. However in some areas, notably Las Vegas and Atlantic City, some colors are standardized by law.
Here are some common colors for each denomination:
- .25 -- pink (not a true standard, but common; choose a contrasting color)
- 1 -- white or blue (especially a pale blue)
- 5 -- red (one of the most standard colors)
- 25 -- green (also very standard)
- 100 -- black
- 500 -- purple
The standards get looser outside those values, but gold, yellow or orange is common for 1000.
Some people feel strongly that the standard colors should be used to avoid confusion, that they provide for quicker and more accurate betting. Others feel strongly that it is their own damn set, they should do as they like -- that's the whole point of custom chips. Whatever you decide, it is reasonable to avoid using standard colors for non-standard values. For example, don't use red for 1s, because red is almost universally used for 5s. This is especially true if your chips don't have denominations printed on them.
The poker chips you give each person is generally made up of three denominations, and depend on the stakes that you are playing. There is the small blind or ante chip, the betting chip, and the large chip. So for .25/.50 blinds, you would use .25, 1, and 5 chips. For 1/2, use 1, 5, and 25 chips.
Here is how I handle buy-ins for our .25/.50 game with $50 buy-ins. I use racks, which means you do not have to count anything except for the 5.00 chips. If you have different buy-in amounts, adjust these quantities by adding or removing 5.00 chips.
|Buy-in # || .25 || 1.00 || 5.00|
|1-5 || 20 || 20 || 5|
|6-10 || 0 || 20 || 6|
|11 + || 0 || 0 || 8|
On the other hand, some people like to use large stacks of chips for that "big game" feel. That means using more small chips. Consider this when deciding on quantities.
Lastly, tournaments can require you to color up, so you need larger denomination chips to allow for that.
From these guidelines, you can make up a set of poker chips that fit your needs. Multiple the maximum number of players you expect times the quantity you need of each denomination, to get the total chips you need.
Here is a basic 500 chip set for a .25/.50 one table cash game.
For 1/2 cash, go with:
1000 chip sets listed below can accommodate 20 players for both cash games and tournaments (with and without a .25 chip), or for a tournament set only. For 10 players, you can reduce each quantity, but you will want a minimum of 100 of every chip except for the 1000 and 5000 chips.
POKER CHIP REVIEWS
with without tourney
Denom 0.25 0.25 only
1 160 200
5 140 200
25 140 160 300
100 140 160 300
500 120 140 200
1000 100 100 140
5000 40 40 60
Before you buy samples, you can narrow down your choices by reading reviews on poker chips. These websites provide some good information, though some of them have not been updated much in recent years.
SOME 2+2 POKER CHIPS THREADS
SOME POPULAR CHIPS
These are some chips that have been recommended on 2+2 by various people. We are not endorsing these vendors by linking them here. You should do your own research to get the best price and service.
Unless you know what you are getting, you should first order sample chips. A few bucks spent on samples can save you hundreds of dollars if you buy a set you don't like.