All You Need to Know About Poker Chips

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Poker chips are one of the most important aspects of a game of poker, but all too often they get overlooked. Instead of making do with cash or, worse still, matchsticks, it’s important to think about the quality of your chips when hosting home games with friends. If you plan on hosting poker tournaments, chips are even more of a necessity than cash games. With a tournament, you can give each player an equal number of chips to start with and the last player left with all the chips wins.

Using poker chips also helps players to quickly ascertain the so-called big stacks and short stacks at the table, which is hugely important when considering which hands and opponents to go heads-up against. With that in mind, let’s look at the different types of poker chips available for your home games.

Plastic poker chips

Plastic poker chips are lightweight, easy to transport but far from durable. They feel more like a piece from a game of ‘Tiddly Winks’ than a heavy-duty poker chip. Put simply, plastic poker chips are a suitable option for casual players who aren’t fussed about taking their home games too seriously.

Ceramic poker chips

Ceramic Poker Chips


Ceramic poker chips are at the other end of the spectrum from plastic chips in terms of build quality and feel. They are heavier and smoother, making them easier to manoeuvre on the felt of the poker table. The process of manufacturing a ceramic poker chip revolves around injection moulding, making it possible to imprint graphics or messaging on top of your chips – handy for professional poker rooms or home games with a strong brand.

Composite (clay) poker chips

It is said that the first poker chips at the Texas Hold’em tables of the 19th century were made from clay. They were followed closely by the ivory chips on, which were said to be used on the riverboat casinos. The brittle nature of clay chips meant that their days would always be numbered. They were eventually usurped by composite models, which are lighter than ceramic chips. Most casual players will opt for composite chips as they are easy to stack and largely inexpensive compared with ceramic packs.

Metal poker chips

Although they may be rare, metal poker chips do exist. Typically manufactured using pewter, which is an alloy comprising largely of tin according to, metal chips are another historic option. Although they are less common today, metal poker chips were certainly all the rage a few decades ago, with chip sets coming in gold, silver and bronze.

How do poker chips work in online rooms?

When it comes to playing poker online, there are very few considerations necessary about poker chips. You never physically touch them or have them in your possession. They simply appear on your screen when you place a call or raise at the table. In all other scenarios, your online poker room will merely display the value of your chip stack.

Of course, it’s possible to find online poker rooms that give you extra chips to play with when you sign up as a new customer. Think of it as a “thank you” for your loyalty. There are plenty of poker sites on that even dish out no-deposit bonus chips, without you even having to place a real-money deposit into your new online poker account.

Choosing poker chips for home games


If your home games have a mixture of new and experienced players, it might be wise to get poker chips with denominations clearly marked on top of each chip. More experienced players will be able to make bet sizes simply based on color-coded chips, but denominations can help beginners to count their chip stacks more efficiently, speeding up the game for all.

Chip colors

It also pays to have your chip denominations in separate colors too. Some players will prefer to denote chip values by color and others will want to see the denominations on top of their chips.

A good quality, dependable set of poker chips can go a long way towards the smooth running of a poker tournament or home game.


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