Have you ever played poker? If your answer is yes, then you may have come across a bunch of round chips known as poker chips (of course you have--- you cannot play poker without them!). In line with this, have you ever wondered how they work--- their denominations, purpose, color meanings, etc.?

Again, if your answer is yes, then you have to read on and discover more about these valuable chips that can help you win--- or lose--- a friendly game of poker.

What are poker chips, anyway?


Pokerchips Info

Poker chips, sometimes called casino/gaming tokens in general, are small round discs used in a casino/gambling game, specifically poker. Instead of using real money and laying them on the table, players stack poker chips with different denominations and have their winnings cashed out afterwards.

Poker chips--- which are usually made of compression molded clay, metal, or injection-molded plastic--- are very important inside a casino, but have absolutely no value outside. Unfortunately, you cannot use them to pay for your food or other material needs, as they are not substitutes for payments outside the casino premises.

History of Poker Chips


Pokerchips History

The game of poker has been around for a long time, but poker chips were not. Back in the day (specifically 19th century), players used various substitutes for money when playing poker, such as gold dust and gold nuggets.

As time passed, people realized that they have to create something distinct to serve as their game tokens, so gambling houses started to manufacture their own substitutes, such as pieces of clay, ivory, and bones. However, due to the rampant forgery everywhere, they decided to give these pieces unique brands.

These unique brands did not stop the forgery, so by the 1880s, gambling companies began manufacturing poker chips made of clay, which would pave the way for the poker chips that we know now.

Poker Chips Construction

Pokerchips Construction

Most people think that poker chips are made of clay. Well, this is true, but these chips are not made of 100% clay, contrary to popular belief.

Poker chips are usually made of compression molded clay, along with chalk, sand, plastic, or metal. The printed brand on it, called an inlay, is commonly made of paper with plastic film. There are also poker chips made of ceramic, which can be found in some casinos in Las Vegas.

Some casinos also embed microchips and serial numbers in their poker chips to prevent forgery and fraud. Since these chips can be easily manufactured, personalization has been common in casinos and gambling centers--- some have their own texture and weight, while others use special technology to distinguish the real ones from the fake.

Poker Chips Denomination

Pokerchips Denomination

Before you stack your poker chips and bet them to the limit, make sure that you understand the value of each chip--- remember, not all chips are the same! Who knows… you could be throwing hundreds without even knowing it!

Basic poker chip denominations

Pokerchips Denomination

Full poker chip denominations

Pokerchips Denomination

Types of Poker Chips

Pokerchips Denomination

Depending on the materials used, poker chips can range from low quality to high quality. Here are some details about the different types of poker chips:

Cheap plastic

Poker chips made of cheap plastic come in three kinds:

Supermarket chips

Pokerchips Supermarket

Supermarket chips are very inexpensive because of the materials used to create them, making them appropriate for children who want to play kiddie poker. If supermarket chips ever get lost, you will not shed a tear because, well, they are cheap.

Super diamond

Pokerchips Diamond

Weighing at least 8.5 ounces, super diamond chips are still cheap, but definitely better than supermarket chips. Unfortunately, most super diamond chips come in only one color, so it would be hard to put denominations when playing poker.


Pokerchips Suited

These are the most popular choice for home poker games, but not really used in casinos or gambling centers. Also known as “dice chips” because of their card suit designs, these chips are still inexpensive yet acceptable for hours of playing.

Faux clay

Pokerchips Faux

Faux clay poker chips are also inexpensive like the first three, but comparatively, they are of better quality. They look like super diamond chips, but are less slippery and made of better materials. In addition, faux clay poker chips are also called “deluxe chips.”

Mid-range plastic

Pokerchips Mid Range

These poker chips, like the name suggests, are also made of plastic. However, unlike those made of cheap plastic, these ones are made with the better kind of plastic, which makes them softer and easier to shuffle. Mid-range plastic chips are also inexpensive, so if you are on a tight budget but on the lookout for mid-quality chips, choose this one.

Nice plastic

Pokerchips Plastic

Nice plastic poker chips are injection-molded and very high in terms of quality. Unlike chips made of compression-molded clay, nice plastic chips tend to be more slippery in texture.


Ceramic poker chips are classified into two types:

Non-casino grade

Pokerchips Non Casino

Before compression clay composite chips entered the gambling scene, ceramic non-casino grade chips were the most popular of them all. These are perfect for people who want some high quality (but mid-range) poker chips.

Casino grade

Pokerchips Casino

Ceramic casino grade chips are commonly used in casinos, but are also available for home poker games. They are sometimes called “clay” or “clay composite” even if they are not made of clay. These chips also have a distinct design--- completely flat with the face image stretching up to the edge of the chip.

Clay composite

Pokerchips Clay

These chips are compression-molded, meaning they are created with a part compression and part injection process. Clay composite poker chips come close to real clay chips, thanks to their packed and stacked feel. They are also not that slippery, making them perfect for people who do not want any smooth texture on their chips.

Clay (casino grade)

Pokerchips Clay Casino

Clay poker chips have the highest quality out of all casino chips. Although they are not entirely made of clay, they are still the most respected type of poker chip. Clay poker chips have a non-slippery texture, good feel and sound, and are of real great quality. However, they are more expensive than the other types.

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