Gaming chips or tokens have been made from a wide range of materials in an almost infinite variety of styles since man discovered gambling and needed a simple method of keeping track of winnings. We are limiting this work to the three most common material types used today in the manufacture of modern poker chips. Plastic, clay composite, and acrylic composite are currently available for sale.
The Clay Chip and a Little Chip History
In modern reality there is no such creature as a clay chip, what is commonly referred to as a clay chip is a composite with some clay (some descriptions list kaolin instead of clay, same thing) filler mixed into a durable high impact polymer matrix. Examples of modern “clay” chips are the popular "James Bond" style chips (which we sell when in-stock). The clay composite chips are quite pricey and generally in short supply due to their popularity. These chips usually are in weight ranges between 8 grams and 11.5 grams and are casino standard 39 mm diameter.
Actual clay chips were used in the United States during the late 1800's; however, these easily broken chips were quickly replaced by clay filled composites that provided much greater durability and security. In the early part of the 1900’s chips were commonly molded from Plaskon, an ureaformaldehyde molding compound. In the 1930’s die cut metal foil was applied to the chips to give unique identity and added security. Bugsy Siegel opened the Flamingo Casino with these chips. In the 1940’s printed centers appeared and edge spots were added for even greater security. The 1950’s saw most casinos using the newest chips with house designs, logos or both molded into the rim and top of chip. Today the style and materials utilized in the manufacture of gaming chips are unique to the particular casino. Some have metal “coin” centers with structural plastic outer rims. Cloth fiber reinforced polymer molded chips and a just introduced all metal alloy poker chip that is anodized in different brilliant colors
Composite Metal Core Chips (e.g. Dice and Suited)
The standard fare of most serious home game players. Heavy (8g or 11.5g), very durable chips are readily available and can usually be customized through a hot stamping or decaling process for added security. These chips are injection molded from a particulate filled thermoset (does not soften when heated) plastic around an internal metal slug for that exact “Casino” look and feel. Almost all metal core chips are manufactured in either Taiwan or China. Our experience with the same styles of chip indicates a major difference in product quality between the two countries of origin. Chips from China are, on the whole, of a lesser quality, probably owing to the lack of quality control including less precision in composite mixing, and imperfect dyes used in manufacturing. We have examined Poker Chips from China that are warped, have noticeable size variations, same lot includes several different shades of same color and a lack of material uniformity across the surface of the chip. Chips manufactured in Taiwan are usually of a higher overall quality that becomes quite evident in the general appearance and feel. There does not appear to be any price differential between the two. A final note, good quality chips are available from China and “made in Taiwan” is not always a guarantee of acceptable quality so you may want to request a sample from the lot the seller is offering for purchase.
Casino Chips, the Gold Standard
These are, of course, the very best, especially when it comes to security. Casino chips are produced by an extremely limited number of bonded companies all located within the US. Each casino has a unique secret blend composition used to mold their chips; this is one of the primary defenses to prevent counterfeiting. The chips are injection molded with copyrighted designs in manufacturing facilities that have security that rivals the US mint. Most modern casino chips are a synthetic polymer acrylic composite with a laminated center. The closest thing I've seen to a casino chip in quality, design and feel are the "Fan of Cards" chips which are a metal core composite with a laminated center. The only avenue available to acquire real casino chips is to buy them from the casino at face value or from a reseller that will usually include a hefty mark-up. Casino chips vary slightly in weight, however most weight in around 10g.
The entry level economical gaming chip that may be purchased almost everywhere. Plastic chip quality range from the extremely cheap chips sold at supermarkets in the toy aisle to heavy solid plastic chips that can weight as much as 7g. Plastic chips do not offer much in the way of security and are easily damaged. They lack the look and heft of composite chips and tend to tinkle when splashing the pot. We do not sell any plastic chips on this Web Site
If you are new to poker (or other games that use markers) or have a very limited budget then consider purchasing some economical plastic chips. Use these for your games and when you decide that you are serious about your weekly home game and it is going to become a permanent event then invest in a set of quality clay composite or composite metal core chips (e.g. James Bond, dice, suited). For all but the most discriminating person, metal core composite chips are the best all around value with a good balance between "casino" feel and cost. The chip snob will move into the clay composites such as “James Bond” style chips. If you are considering the high-end poker chips then you should explore purchasing actual casino chips (you may acquire different colors if you purchase $1 chips from different casinos. Let us know since we are located in Las Vegas.) The one dollar cast per casino chip will be very close to stamped high-end composites and the casino chips will have another major advantage; you can always get a full refund by cashing the chips at the issuing casino. Buy them, use them and still get a full refund makes casino chips quite attractive. If you choose to go the casino chip route remember to protect them the same as cash and continue reading the next section on cases for your chips.
Poker Chip Cases
A case to protect and secure your chips, cards and dealer button is imperative to protect your investment and provide the necessary security for your chips. The chips will remain safe under lock and key during play leaving you to concentrate on your play. You can quickly determine if any chips are missing after a playing session when you rack them into the case. Lost or missing chips can cost you if they are removed from the set during the penny-ante game on Tuesday and reintroduced into the high stakes game on Friday. Poker chip cases come in a wide variety of styles, materials and price ranges. Choose the one that fits your needs and budget. Most chip sellers offer complete sets with an included case. Inexpensive, readily available plastic chips need not be protected so the case may be as simple as a shoebox but once you move into midrange and better casino style chips you should definitely consider a quality lockable case.
Entry level carrying case for your chips that usually is not lockable and provides a simple method of storing and carrying you gaming chips. Lowest cost and shortest life of the specialized chip cases. Lack of security requires constant vigilance of your chips during the game. (We do not sell any of these.)
The vinyl case is a step above the plastic listed above and provides greater protection for your poker chipset. The case is usually constructed from wood or plastic covered with a vinyl material. The case may be lockable but don’t assume it to be since many are not. Our experience with vinyl cases has not always been positive. The weight of a 500 chipset of 11.5 gram poker chips is close to twenty pounds and places considerable stress on the carrying case and handle. The failure mode for most vinyl cases is separation of the handle from the case due to the weight. We have had vinyl cases that are well constructed from heavy materials with keyed locks, quality metal hinges and gusseting for years of use but they are rare and may cost more than a metal case.
The most common and popular poker chip carrying case. Most metal cases are constructed from structural aluminum in a wide range of styles and price ranges. The quality of metal cases varies considerably so keep in mind that metal is not synonymous with desirability. Some metal cases are not all metal and may have plastic panels and parts in their construction. Some are not lockable. Others have sharp corners. Exceptionally lightweight metal sheets will not last long. The features we look for in a quality case is medium weight all metal (aluminum preferred) construction with added reinforcement in the critical stress areas. Keyed locks to keep our chips secure. The style we prefer is beveled construction with round corners and edges. The carrying handle (most likely failure point) should be heavy and double riveted directly to the frame. The overall appearance of the case should be a well fitted grooved lid, uniform seams and finish. No sharp edges or ill-fitting parts. The interior of the case should be flocked trays that fit the chips in a snug fashion and have card and accessory trays. When closed the chips should be held firmly in place. The finest all metal case we have seen was constructed from aircraft quality aluminum with removable flocked chip trays, high security barrel locks, machined from solid stock handle fittings and hinges. The entire case was anodized in a high gloss black finish. Not only did this case represent the top-of-the-line in metal cases it also represented the top price in chip cases.
Our favorite poker chip case is the quality wood case with custom brass fittings. Wood cases are available in many styles and price ranges form the low end pine models to the “you can’t afford it” carved exotic wood with inlayed precious metals handmade by a master cabinet maker. Most affordable wood cases are constructed from pine, mahogany, oak and other hard woods. Look for the same features we listed in the metal case description. Quality construction and finish, heavy duty handles and hinges, keyed locks and well fitting removable chip trays. In general, you should expect to pay more for a good quality wood case but you can expect to receive years of use. Remember that all wood cases are not of an acceptable quality so, as always, ask the seller. If you cannot locate a wood case to fill your needs and price is not a major consideration then you should check with your local cabinet makers for a custom made premium case but expect to pay a premium price.
Choosing the Right Set
How many chips do you need? A good question that can be answered with a couple of simple questions. How much can you afford to pay for your chip set and how many players will be using the chips in a game. As with most things you pay for quality and the best advice is to buy the highest quality you can afford. It is rare to be sorry that you opted for a higher line of goods so buy the best your budget allows. How many will you need? A good rule of thumb for quantity follows:
- 3-4 Players 300 chip set is usually enough
- 4-6 Players 400-500 chip set will suffice
- 6-8 Players 500-650 chips set is required
- 8-10+ Players 1000+ chips depending on numbers
The above guide is a suggested number only. Remember that you cannot really have too many chips, only too few so buy all you can afford. We maintain an open stock of chips so you can purchase more as you need them. Add a good lockable case to protect the chips and you are ready to enjoy Americas favorite past time, Poker.
What colors should I order?
Here are the traditional colors used by casinos. You can order chips with blank colors and set your own denominations. You can order chips without the $ sign so they can be used for low-limit or high-limit games interchangeably.
- White & Beige $1
- Red $5
- Blue $10
- Green $25
- Black $100
- Purple $500
- Orange $1000
- Brown $5000
If clay chips are the best does that mean that I should never buy non-clay chips?
No, non-clay chips have their place. They are a great low cost alternative if you're a beginner or if you require an extraordinary large amount of chips (ie: you're sponsoring casino night). As with anything else, it's usually just a good idea to be aware of what you are purchasing. Most non-clay chips are either pure plastic (Click Here) or consist of a metal insert (added for weight) surrounded by either ABS plastic or a plastic resin composite material.
What happens to the chips when a casino either closes or replaces them?
In Nevada, the Gaming Commission requires them to be destroyed.
ORDERING & SHIPPING
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2) Send Payment: We accept personal checks, money orders, cashier's checks, or certified bank checks denominated in U.S. dollars as payment for all orders. All check types must be received by us and funds must clear before the order can be shipped (typically, 15 business days after the check is received). Checks must be drawn on a U.S. bank and have the customer's name and address imprinted on the check front with a valid nine-digit bank routing number (ABA code) located at the bottom of the check. "Temporary" or counter checks are not acceptable. Payment must be made to BestPokerStuff.
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Q: What is your Warranty policy?
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Q: What is your Refund Policy?
A: If your item is damaged or found to be defective, please contact our Customer Service Department immediately. Email us. We can process refunds for items purchased within 7 days of receipt of item. For all other types of refund requests, please email us and we will reply with your options. Refunds will be given via the same method as original payment. We may charge you a restocking fee of up to 20% if there is nothing wrong with your products and they are resalable. Shipping both ways are your responsibility.
Q: Are the product images on your site photographs of the actual merchandise?
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Q: Do the product images exactly match with the actual merchandise color and size?
We have attempted to accurately depict the colors of the products offered on this site. However, because the color you see is dependent on your computer monitor, we cannot guarantee that the color you see will be accurate. The products also may appear larger or smaller than their actual size depending on your monitor. All photographs of merchandise have been enlarged to show detail. Please see the product descriptions for the actual size of the products.
Q: Do I have to pay sales tax on my online purchase?
A: Since BestPokerStuff.com is based in South Carolina, state law requires that we charge sales tax on orders shipped to customers residing in South Carolina.
Q: Can I get a catalog of your products?
A: Currently we do not print any catalogs. You can only view the BestPokerStuff.com products online at our web store.
Q: Can I get a data sheet on Customized Art Work Submission specifications?
A: Yes. Click Here for BestPokerStuff Custom Art Work Submission documentation.