Home Page
What's New
Home Poker Guide
Tournament Guide
Internet Poker
Etiquette & Rules
High-Low Poker
Draw Poker Games
Hold' em Games
Omaha Games
Stud Poker Games
Wild Card Games
Other Games
Poker Resources
Articles & Reviews
About HPE
Contact HPE
Links

GUIDE to POKER CHIPS


 


A decent set of poker chips is something most regular home poker players should want. There are wide variations in the types and costs of poker chip sets. When money is not an object, a customized set of casino quality clay or ceramic chips is the way to go. But for most people, cost is an important consideration, thus purchasing poker chips is often a compromise between cost, quality and quantity.

It is by far preferable to use chips for betting. Cash is tacky. Chips are much easier to handle and quicker to divide in split pot games. Playing with a decent quality set of chips imparts a special "upscale" feeling to the game.


The Standard Casino Chip

 

The poker chips you will most likely encounter in casinos are made from clay and, increasingly, ceramic. They are usually 39 mm in diameter, 3.5 mm thick and weigh about 10 grams.

As far as the color of chips goes, there are no official gaming chip color and denomination standards, unless mandated by local law or regulation. In the absense of that, each gaming establishment is free to select their own colors and corresponding chip denomination values. However, there are a few commonly observed ones within the gaming industry. The most consistantly used gaming chip denominations are red ($5), green ($25) and black ($100). Other chip values are more variable. See our Chip colors & common chip values page for full details.


Types & Quality of Poker Chips

 

Thin Plastic: Thin plastic poker chips are often available in solid red, white and blue colors. They are typically 39 mm in diameter, about 2.5 mm thick and weigh 2 grams or a little more. These chips offer no security features and, since they are widely and cheaply available, pose a huge potential risk if someone decides they want to sneak extra chips into a game. They are cheap to buy ($3-4 per 100), look cheap and people will think you are cheap if you use them in your home poker game. Do not even consider buying or using them.

Solid plastic: These chips more closely resemble a casino-style chip, are 39-40 mm in diameter, 3.5 mm thick and weigh around 7 grams. Solid plastic chips are serviceable and economical and are a reasonable entry level chip for casual players. Drawbacks include limited color selections, lack of security features and that they tend to be slippery and so do not stack as well as other chips. But, they are very affordable as sets of 300 chips, including a carrying case, can be readily found in the toy departments of many stores at a cost of $20-30.

Plastic composite: These chips are composed of a plastic clay-like material infused with hard plastic resin. Notice the term "clay-like". They do not actually contain clay. Composition and quality of plastic composite chips varies widely. Plastic composite chips often have a metal insert which increases their weight to approximately 11.5 to 14 grams, so they feel more like a casino chip than does a plastic chip. On the other hand, the insert imparts a metallic sound that is unlike the sound of a casino grade chip. They are a reasonable entry level chip, are moderately priced (set of 500 for about $100 or so) and usually available in a variety of colors and patterns.

Clay and clay-composite: Clay poker chips are seldom seen anymore. Clay chips are too soft and fragile and have been almost completely replaced by clay-composite chips. Clay-composite are a mixture of clay and other materials (commonly plastic) that produces a strong, durable high quality chip. There are no industry standards regarding their clay content, but the ratio of clay to other components has a large bearing on the cost of these chips. Clay chips have an ever so slightly rough surface which makes stacking them easy. They are available in a variety of colors, patterns and styles and are customizable. Clay composite chips are probably the most expensive style chips.

Ceramic: These chips are made from a high density composite material that mimics the feel and sound of ceramic and produces a high quality, very attractive and durable chip. In addition, ceramic chips can be imprinted with graphics over their entire surface. Most of the chips found in casinos are ceramic chips. Ceramic chips are expensive, but probably no more so than clay chips. Like clay chips, they are available in a wide variety of color combinations and patterns and are customizable. At the casino quality chip level, ceramic chips are probably the best choice.

Before purchasing an expensive set of clay or ceramic poker chips, get a sample to make sure they meet your expectations. While some vendors may provide a sample for free, most often you will have to pay a few dollars. It is a little more money and time, but worth it.


How Many Poker Chips Do I Need?

 

You can always purchase a set of chips and hope that you have enough, but it is certainly better to give it some forethought. When making your decision consider that it is better to have more chips than you need than to have too few. With that in mind, there is one thing to calculate first in determining how many chips to purchase for a cash game (tournaments will be considered later): the amount of money that will be in play.

For the vast majority of cash games, this is going to be a pretty easy calculation: What is the initial buy-in and how many players will there be? Multiply them together and you get the total amount of money in play. For example, if your game has a maximum of 8 players and each starts out with $50, you will need a minimum total value of $400 in chips ($50 X 8). Once you have calculated the total value of chips in play consider the number of different chip colors to obtain.

The number of colors: You could get away with having only 1 color chip. You would just take the lowest value chip you need and divide it into the total value of chips you calculated. In our example, if your ante or smallest bet is 50 cents that would be the value of each chip and you would need 800 chips. However, with just 1 color and 1 denomination, you see that you will need a lot of chips. By having more than 1 color chip you can reduce the total number of chips you need. For example, if you add a second color and value it as $1 you may need to purchase 520 total chips: 160 for 50 cents and 360 for $1. (In practical terms, you are probably going to have to purchase in multiples of 25 or 50 chips, so you'd probably get 200 + 400 = 600 total chips.) Using 3 different colors (50 cents, $1 and $2) is even better, getting you down to 500 chips (200 + 200 + 100) and, for a cash game, 3 colors is typically sufficient.

Tournament: For tournament play, if there are no add-ons or re-buys your calculation for the total value of starting chips is the same as in a cash game. Likewise your decision on the number of different colors. If there will be rebuys or add-ons not only should you have more total chips, but you should also have more different colors of chips. 4 or 5 different colors should be adequate.

Build flexibility into your decision on how many chips and how many colors to purchase. Also, consider the future and the chances that you could increase the stakes or limits for which you play. The important point is to make sure you have an adequate number of each different color. There is no need to get carried away by purchasing too many different colors. Again, it is better to have too many chips than too few. This is especially the case when purchasing a customized set. If you get too few initially, you may not be able to match them should you decide you want more at a later time.


DIRECTORY

 

These are links to the websites of chip manufacturers, distributors and suppliers. You can often find more detailed product information and descriptions, view or down-load product catalogs and pricing with these links. Some manufacturers sites may accept direct orders, while others will provide distributor lists. These links are provided to assist you in obtaining product information. To have a site listed in this directory Contact HPE.


 

ABC gifts and awards.com Custom high quality casino grade poker chips. 10% discount code: HPE10
American gaming supply.com Chips and other poker supplies.
Apache poker chips.com Casino quality poker chips.
Br pro poker.com High quality custom chips.
Buy poker chips.com Chips and sets.
Cardroom Supply.com Mass market chips and sets.
Chipco.com Chipco company site.
Chip Lab.com Casino grade custom personalized poker chips.
Chips and Games.com Chips and sets.
Combatbet.com Military & law enforcement custom poker chips and challenge coins.
Custom casino chips.com Custom poker chips.
Discountpokershop.com Poker chips and other poker supplies.
Holdem poker chips.com Chips and poker accessories.
Home poker chips.com Customized poker chips.
My custom poker chips.com Custom poker chips.
Nevada Jacks Premier source for customized poker chips
Nexgen poker chips.com Nexgen chips and sets.
Overstock.com Discounted chip sets.
Palm imports.com Manufacturer and importer of custom poker chips.
Personal poker chip.com Chips and sets.
Poker Chest.com Chips and sets.
Poker Chips.com Chips and sets.
Poker N Stuff.com Chips and sets.
Poker shopping.com Chips and sets.
Poker Store.nl Chips and sets and other poker supplies (Europe).
Signature poker.com Chip sets.
Swap USA.com Wholesale chips and sets.
The chip room.com Chips and sets.
The poker chip company.com Customized poker chips.
The poker depot.com Casino grade custom poker chips and sets.
Unique poker chips.net Unique chip sets.