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Our Complete Guide to Poker Chips

Shane C

Nov 26, 2022

Falling Casino Chips

What Are Poker Chips?

You might describe poker chips as the worldwide symbol of casino gaming. As one of the most instantly recognisable objects in the world, everyone knows what they are.

Without them, casinos would lose some of their heart - the unmistakable rattling sound they produce as they toss and turn across betting tables and stack up in cashiers' windows forms part of the very essence of casino halls all over the world.

Using chips instead of currency in the forms of notes and coins makes wagering money in games such as poker a whole lot easier. Using chip sets gives it a more authentic casino experience and also makes it much easier to count, keep track of, and determine their value from more of a distance. They also make it easier to divide a pot up equally at the end of the hand if more than one player has won it.

But what are they exactly? Most people are aware that they represent cash, of course, but there is actually a bit more to it than that. We hope to educate the unfamiliar with this short article and explain how they work in a little more detail. You might actually find this quite interesting!

Whether you're an experienced poker player looking to develop your poker skills or a beginner learning the ropes, understanding poker chip values and colours is crucial. With our comprehensive guide, you'll have all the information you need to advance your game to the next stage, whether you're playing with a few friends at home or at a world series tournament.

Variations of Different Chips

Every poker game, whether it's a friendly game between friends or a high-stakes tournament, needs chips. These tiny, round discs are made from a range of substances, including clay, plastic, and metal, each having particular benefits and qualities. The kind of poker chip you should choose will depend on your preferences and level of expertise.

In terms of design, there are different types of poker chip colours and materials. Clay poker chips are the standard for high-stakes cash games and professional players. They are renowned for their endurance and have a realistic feel. On the other hand, plastic chips are a lighter, more economical solution that is ideal for novices. In contrast, metal chips are the heaviest and most expensive kind of poker chip and are frequently used in renowned poker competitions like the World Series of Poker.

Poker chips actually come in a wide variety of colours and patterns in addition to their different materials. Several chip values and colours are commonly used to symbolise different poker chip values on standard poker chips. For instance, green chips can be valued at $25 and red chips at $5. The uniformity of the poker chip colours makes it easier for players to keep track of their wagers and estimate the current pot size.

The advantages of using chips to play poker instead of real money are numerous. It improves game organisation (especially in a poker tournament), does away with the necessity for conversions and recalculations, and provides players with a more genuine casino experience. Poker chips also facilitate the distribution of the pot at the conclusion of each hand, resulting in a quick and easy procedure.

The History of Poker Chips

Poker chips have been around for centuries, and their history is quite fascinating. It is believed that poker chips were first used in Chinese poker rooms as early as the 9th century during the Tang dynasty and were made from ivory, bone, or wood. At that time, even if they weren’t used for poker as we know it today, they would still have been used in gambling games of a similar nature.

The tradition of using poker chips to represent value in the modern forms of the game is thought to have started in the early 1800s in the United States and throughout Europe.

Around this time, manufacturers began making poker chips out of celluloid, which was a new material at the time. Celluloid was inexpensive and easy to mould into shapes. This allowed poker chips to be mass-produced for the first time and made their use much more widespread.

Poker chips and casino chips are now a feature of every single casino in Las Vegas, and around the world and most home games too. They are now most commonly made from plastic or ceramic.


Poker chips in different colours and valuesMost poker venues generally use the same denominations of poker chip values, which include $1, $5, $10, $20, or $25, $100, $500, and $1,000. But, for bigger stakes games, casinos might have $5,000, $1,000, and, in a few rare instances, even $25,000 or $100,000 worth of chips readily available.

White chips are the lowest denomination in home games, followed by red, blue, and green chips. Following that are black, yellow, orange, and purple chips (or lavender), which are all conventional denominations. Either way, the standard poker chip values remain the same from casino to casino.

Understanding poker chip values and how they are used in cash games and tournaments is crucial if you are new to the game. In cash games, participants convert their actual cash into chips, which they then use to place bets and raise existing bets with. Different colours are frequently used to indicate the conventional poker chip values used in cash games, such as white chips for $1, red chips for $5, and so forth.

Tournaments are a little different because they use a different system of poker chip values. Instead of representing cash amounts, tournament poker chips values are used to show a player's place in the tournament and how they might be fair overall. As the event goes on, higher-value chips are added, with the intention of putting players under more strain and accelerating the action.

Ultimately, chips are an essential component of the game, whether you're playing at home with friends or in a casino. Any player who wants to develop their poker abilities, whether their ambition is a friendly game at home or even participating in the world series of poker, must comprehend their value and how they are used in cash games and tournaments.

Types of Poker Chips

When it comes to chips, not all are created equal. There are several different types, each with its unique characteristics, that depend on where you're gambling and what type of game you're playing.

Cash Chips/Casino Chips

Las Vegas Casino ChipsCash chips, commonly referred to as casino chips and used in cash games, are each assigned a certain monetary value and typically have an equal cash value written on the chip face, regardless of the poker chip values. All casinos follow this same format.

Being a direct replacement for money and coins, they are commonly utilised in casinos (and elsewhere, you sometimes see chips available in arcades, for example). In this manner, they may easily be taken around the casino and bet on a variety of various games. When it's time to withdraw money, poker chip values can be converted back into their equivalent in cash at the cashier's desk.

Tournament Chips

On the other hand, tournament chips are only valid for the tournament for which they were made and have no equivalent financial value. Because of this, you can watch the high rollers at high-stake poker rooms, or maybe at the World Series of Poker final table, betting hundreds of millions of chips, even though the poker chips value doesn't equal hundreds of millions of dollars. Chip values and colours are basically 'tethered' to the poker tournament in question.

Some poker rooms take a slightly different approach, but the vast majority work by this principle. It's a system that works quite well, for the most part, with the different poker chip denominations relating to that tournament only.

Materials Used to Make Chip Sets

The most typical substance utilised to create chipsets is a clay composite. The majority of professionals use clay chips because they have a uniform weight, a nice feel, and are incredibly durable. Although having a very premium feel and are constructed entirely of ceramic, ceramic poker chips are far more delicate and prone to breaking than the alternatives.

The cheapest form of chips is plastic, which is frequently used in recreational games at homes and at nearby clubs. It's not the most luxurious experience, but they can feel extremely cheap and tacky. Still, they are reliable and effective.

Regardless of the material you choose, if you take good care of them, keep them clean, and store them properly when not in use, you can ensure that they last a lot longer.

The Importance of Quality Poker Chips

Stacks of high quality poker chipsAnybody who takes playing poker seriously understands how crucial it is to have high-quality poker chips. These can have an impact on how you feel while playing, how people connect with one another, and how the players perceive the venue.

You might be debating between buying a cheap or pricey poker set if you're seeking the ideal setting for your home game. Both have advantages, so it truly depends on what you're after. If you're on a tight budget, cheap poker chips are fantastic, but they're usually of poorer quality and durability.

The cost of expensive poker chips is more, but they are more durable and composed of better materials. They also come with a lovely aluminium carry box, a full deck of playing cards, and dealer buttons. In the end, it's up to you to choose the poker set that best suits your requirements.

Does The Weight/Design Matter?

This is actually a tricky subject, as opinion is divided on what makes the ideal poker chip.

When it comes to the weight of a poker chip, there are quite contrasting opinions on whether the weight matters through various poker rooms all over the world. Some players argue that heavier chips give a more authentic feel and contribute towards that satisfying rattling sound when playing, while others prefer lighter chips that are easier to carry around and flip across game tables. Essentially, it's a matter of personal preference and what feels comfortable to the individual player.

The design of the poker chips should also be taken into account. While some players might choose straightforward designs that only show poker chip values, others might favour more complex designs that up the visual appeal of the game. To establish a feeling of corporate identity and provide players with a memorable experience, casinos and poker rooms all over the world frequently employ chips that feature their logo or other distinctive designs.

In addition to being aesthetically pleasing, poker chip designs can have an effect on gameplay. While some designs, like those with rounded edges, are simpler to stack and move around, others, like those with sharper edges, may be trickier to stack but provide a pleasant sound when shuffled.

Generally speaking, when it comes to poker chips, both weight and design can affect the overall game experience. It doesn't matter if you prefer heavier or lighter chips, simple or complex designs—the most essential thing is to select chips that are satisfying to hold and pleasurable to use when playing.

Custom Poker Chip Set

Aluminium poker setPersonalised poker chips are a great way to make your poker game stand out from the crowd. You may choose from a choice of styles to make your chips look like genuine casino chips in addition to personalising them with your name or initials. You can also select the colours and denominations of bespoke chips according to your requirements.

Many companies offer custom poker chips, and the cost can vary depending on the quality and complexity of the design you choose. Some companies even offer the option to upload your own artwork to create a completely personalised set of chips. Whether you're looking to create a one-of-a-kind set of chips for your home game or to give as a gift to a fellow poker enthusiast, custom poker chips are a great way to make your game stand out.

Enjoy Your Game!

Suitably armed with all the information you could possibly need about poker chips and following our other tips and tricks at the Natural8 Poker School, you should be able to go out there and crush!

Just take your time, play it cool, avoid costly mistakes and, above all else, have fun! Poker is a majestic, thrilling, and sometimes massively profitable game if you get it right, and we wish you luck with every single game you ever play! Have fun!

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