Buying Guide for Poker Chips

Clay, composite, plastic? Monogramed? Vintage? Denominations? Colors? Quantity? Weight? The choices of poker chips available for purchase are plentiful. Sure, the corner drugstore sells sets of cheesy plastic chips for a cheap price but is that the best choice? With popularity of poker at an all time high, the availability of poker chips has improved in recent years. Serious poker players want serious poker chips.

The feel and sound of a good poker chip enhances the experience of the game. With so many choices available, there’s no such thing as a “perfect” chip. What’s perfect for one player’s taste might not be for the next.

Clay chips tend to be the most expensive followed by composite then plastic. Each has its own distinct feel with clay often considered the preferred choice. Clay is not necessarily the right choice for those who would like a monogrammed poker chip because the hot pressing process would break them. Instead, custom labels can be applied to clay chips further increasing their cost.

Composite chips make a nice compromise between clay and plastic. They are basically clay or plastic chips with a core made of metal or some other material. These chips have a heftier feel than plain old plastic chips.

The weight of a poker chip is measured in grams with 9 gram, 10.5 gram, 11.5 gram and 13.5 gram being common offerings. As an example, chips found in casinos vary in weight but generally weigh between 9.5 and 10 grams and plastic chips weigh in well under 7 grams.

Custom poker chips make for unique one-of-a-kind chips complete with monograms, logos, artwork, etc. The designs can be embedded, labeled or stamped onto the chips. Budget issues may drive the choice in customizing the chips but custom poker chips do stand out from the crowd. In addition, they offer an added measure of security by reducing the risk of a player sneaking in his own chips.

Poker chip sets often come in either three or five colors and with or without denominations. Some players prefer to keep it down to three colors while others like the added flexibility the five color sets offer. Denominations printed on the poker chips limit the players to whatever is the denomination is whereas blanks allow a chip to be whatever value they want.

Another consideration is how many poker chips to buy. This depends on the number of players. For a group of 3-4 players, 300 chips are about right. 4-6 players need about 400-500 and 6-8 players need between 500-650 poker chips.

Finally, collecting vintage poker chips is a fun and rewarding hobby. Vintage poker chips from old casinos make great additions to any collection. Scour the internet, hobby shops, eBay, antique stores and casinos for vintage poker chips.

Because of the popularity of poker, the selection of poker chips has improved. Decent sets can be found in department stores, online and at specialty shops.

In addition to buying poker chips, don’t forget a poker chip case. Many sets come with a carrying case. If not, or if the case doesn’t meet your needs, shop around for a poker chip carrying case. These cases come in different materials such as clear acrylic, aluminum or wood in a variety of finishes suitable for any taste. Some cases include locks and a drawer to stash decks of cards or your winnings in. Engraved name plates are a nice option.

Whether you’re buying poker chips for yourself, a gift or for an event such as a poker tournament, try to narrow down your desired features before you begin shopping.

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