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"How to Select" Poker Chips - The Basics

As I’m sure you have found out by now – there are LOTS of differrent kinds of poker chips available.  Here is some info you should consider when selecting poker chips.


Unless you don’t have many friends and are certain that you will always have 6 or less poker players at your games – you should get at least 500 chips with at least 4 colors in the set.  This will give you lots of flexibility and you will have plenty of chips during cash games.  You can handle up to 20 players in a tournament with enough chips to “color up” as you get into the tournament.  If you are going to have more than 10 players in cash games or over 20 people in tournaments you should consider getting a set with 650 chips , 750 chips or 1000 chips .  Just remember – it is impossible to have too many chips !! 

Poker Chip Materials: Plastic

Plastic chips are very inexpensive and usually weigh 9 grams or less.  They are fine for kids.  Even if you have an absolute minimum amount of money to spend, I would still recommend waiting until you can buy something better than plastic poker chips.

Poker Chip Materials: Composite Clay Resin

While many manufacturers call their chip material composite clay resin - they are quite different from real, full clay poker chips.  They are really made of a plastic resin with a weight buried in the middle to give them the desired weight.  You should get chips that weigh at least 11.5 grams.  These chips are good for every day use at most home games and they are quite durable.

Poker Chip Materials: Ceramic

These poker chips are made of a ceramic material.  They are extremely durable and generally have superior (very detailed) graphics on them.  They do have a different sound when they are shuffled – more of a plink sound.  Most are 10 grams.  I would suggest you try these out to be sure they are what you are interested in before buying them.  Since the graphics are “built-in” to the chip and the ceramic chip itself is very durable – these chips will last a long, long time.

Poker Chip Materials: Clay

Clay chips are the poker chips used in most casinos.  They have a nice feel to them, aren’t as slippery as other types and the sound they make is a duller sound than any other kind of chips.  These chips are the most expensive – generally around $1.00 per chip.  Clay poker chips are the original chip of choice at casinos so they are considered the traditional high end poker chip.  The classic top of the line clay poker chips are Paulson poker chips.  They have several different series’ of chips (Top Hat & Cane, National Poker Tour, World, James Bond and Pharaoh Casino). If you are accustomed to having the very best – you definitely want real clay poker chips.

Poker Chip Types

The cheapest poker chips have no designs but come in different colors.  In general, chips are defined by the various imprints or features that are unique to the chip.  Some have a design imprinted around the outside edges of the chip (such as diamonds).  There are chips that have various items painted around the outside edges of the chips (dice, or suits).  Some chips also incorporate a stripe painted in between the defining item (dice striped chips). You can get a set of 500 poker chips  for $50. to $100.  A set of 500 composite resin 11.5 gram chips is a good choice for beginners to moderately serious players.

Mid-Level Poker Chips

The next price level of chips are stylized with unique prints and patterns around the outside of the rim of the chip for aesthetic and security reasons.  These patterns and prints are more idetailed than the lower price level of chips and are more interesting than the plain looking lower priced poker chips.  Some examples are A/K suited, Holdem’s Best, 12.2 gram coin inlay, 13 gram Pro, 14 gram Tri Color and NEXGEN chips.  There are a lot of designs available on the market now.  This provides a variety in poker chips such that there is something for everyone’s taste and style.

Higher End Poker Chips

Most of the high end poker chips are the types used in casinos.  There are several types of ceramic poker chips that are somewhat less expensive than the clay high end chips such as: Desert Sands, Grand Royale, Fan of Cards, Coconut Tree.  They have excelelnt graphics, are distinctive and unique.  Nevada Jack’s and Paulson chips are at the upper end of the range for high end chips.  Paulson chips are real clay and have several different styles (see clay chips above).  Who uses Paulson chips ?  These casinos: Aladdin, Bally’s, Bellagio, Caesars Palace, Excalibar, Foxwoods, Harrah’s, Luxor, Mandalay Bay, MGM, etc., etc.  You get the idea, if you want the best – Paulson chips are your choice !!


Denominations – If you play cash gamesthen you should have chips with denominations on them such as 4 Aces or Lucky Crowns.  If you play low stakes games (with blinds under $1.00)  the High Roller chips are perfect since the 25 and 50 chips do not have $ signs on them so they can easily be used for 25/50 cent or 50/$1. games.  The chips that are pre-printed are less expensive than getting chips custom printed.  So, if you play cash games, you should definately look into these varieties of chips with the denominations pre-printed on them..

Specialty – Poker chips are available that feature our various military services.  We offer custom chips that have logos from the various military branches (army, navy, air force and marines).  The cases have nice graphics for each military branch too.  These will make great gifts for our military soldiers serving today.  For those serving overseas shipping costs can be minimized by shipping via an APO address.

Custom – Custom poker chips are very interesting.  They can be used to commemorate any event (wedding, anniversary, graduation, re-union, birthday, large party, etc.).  They also make nice attendants’ gifts for groomsmen or bridesmaids at a wedding.  They are also used at weddings as a momento instead of packs of matches since fewer people smoke these days.  Another use of custom chips is for security reasons at casinos, charity tournaments or home games where you don’t want the possibility of someone bringing in their own standard chips of the same design.  Quantities of 50 or more custom chips are practical and relatively inexpensive.  Hot stamped chips are the least expensive.  You can choose from 3-4 letters or numbers on each side.  If you want a special design, message or logo (that is more than 3-4 letters/numbers) you can have a die made to produce these.  Another option is to have lables created.  These labels can be full color and of any configuration/message you want.  Most chips allow a 1″ lable but others are designed for a larger 1.25″ label, The top of the line in custom chips are custom ceramic chips.  These chips have your custom design “built in” to the chips – they are extremely durable and will essentially last forever.

Cases – There are several popular types of cases available.  The most common is an aluminum case.  It is economical and very durable.  Some cases for 1000 chip sets come with rollers to help with the weight of 1000 chips.  Various types of wood cases are available – oak is a popular type – it is nice looking but costs a few dollars extra.  There are some leather cases available – you have to be careful not to get these wet.  Mahogany cases are very nice and are only slightly more expensive than oak cases.  Mahogany cases are very common with 750 chip sets .  Acrylic (clear plastic) cases are popular for 1000 chip sets .  The acrylic cases are very sturdy and light weight.

Sets – A typical poker set includes the chips with your choice of color, a case, 2 decks of cards, some dice and a dealer button.  The sets usually cost about as much as the chips would if they were purchased by themselves – so the sets are a great deal !!

Packages – If you are just getting into poker OR are getting more serious about poker OR are buying a nice gift – a package is worth considering since they will save you money.  We offer 7 different packages to cover every stage of poker development.  We start with a “basic package” with a set of chips, a poker table top, a DVD and a couple pairs of sunglasses that sells for $140. We offer a mid level “enthusiast” package with more items and a full size table that sells for $460. to a premium “ultimate” package that has “everything” including a fully custom poker table that sells for $4,700.  You can get some really good deals on poker packages – check them out !!

Delivery Times – most of the poker chips are in stock and will ship to you within a week.  Custom made chips can be 1-3 weeks longer.