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Poker Chips & Sets Buying Guide

Buying a Poker Chip Set: What to Look For

Trademark 500 Poker Chips with Mahogany Case

You can’t play a meaningful game of poker without a good set of poker chips (although Oreo cookies can make a decent substitute once in a while). So what should you be looking for when shopping for poker chip sets? Well it all depends on what type of poker player you are. Serious card sharks will want authentic chips used in pro tournaments, while casual players might be perfectly fine with cheap poker chips that get the job done. So let’s take a look at the different types of poker chip sets available and what distinguishes one set from another.


Poker Chip Color and Pattern


The majority of poker chips come in two colors, often with an imprinted pattern like a red and white checkered pattern. Usually, the color of the chip denotes a certain value. For instance, a blue chip would be worth $5 dollars, a green chip $25 and a black chip $100. But it is possible to buy chips where the color isn’t associated with a dollar value, which might be a better option for casual players who don’t play for high stakes.


Poker Chip Material


Trademark 650 Poker Chips


Different materials are used to make poker chips, and the chip set will cost more depending on what type of chip you want.


Cheap poker chips are usually made from plastic. These chips are for laid-back poker players who aren’t concerned with having authentic chips. Great for players on a budget, plastic chips are usually lighter than other styles, but can be found almost anywhere for a fairly low price.


Players looking for the chips used in casinos or professional tournaments will need to buy clay poker chips, or a composite clay poker chip set. Clay and composite chips are noticeably heavier than plastic chips. Heavier chips give a better tactile experience, and make chip tricks and shuffling easier. Composite chips are often weighted with a metal insert, but with clay chips, the more clay, the heavier the chip. If you find a set of chips made almost entirely out of clay, expect to pay a pretty hefty price. Clay poker chip sets are for serious players only, while composite chips are a good compromise between clay and plastic.


How Many Chips Should You Buy?


Trademark 1000 Poker Chips in Acrylic Carrier


The number of chips you need to buy is directly related to how many people you usually play with. The larger the group, the more chips you’ll need. While there isn’t an exact science for how many chips you’ll need per person, it’s generally agreed upon that you need a 300 poker chip set for 3-5 players, a 500 poker chip set for 5-7 players, and 1000 poker chips for 10+ players. You’ll want to have a minimum of 35-40 chips per person, but 50-100 chips per player is optimal.


Poker Chips for You


People often look for Texas hold em poker chips specifically, and while there are sets tailored to hold em, a regular set will be more than adequate. The type of poker chip set you purchase is really about how serious you are about the game of poker. For some, plastic chips are perfect because they’re inexpensive, while others want an authentic poker experience. There’s no such thing as a bad set of poker chips, just a set of chips that works for you.

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