Best options for bar poker chips? And general discussion of bar poker. (1 Viewer)

Hairy_Crocodile

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Hey all!

The owner of my local bar poker league has been asking me about where to buy chips and the best (Cheapest is what I assume he means) place to buy labels and chips. His chips are old, the denominations have worn off almost completely, the chips are mismatched....its bad. He is wanting to have his own logo put on his chips. The problem is, every time I bring up price, he shudders at some of the things I have found so far ("Hot stamped" dice chips, poopy 19¢ claysmith(?) stuff, showing him labeling options, etc).

I'm sure he will find something eventually, but it has me thinking about what kind of chips I would get if I started my own league when I move. He also said that he may be taking some time off (a few months) and allow myself and another dealer to take over until his return. I may make myself a cheapo bar poker set to use in his absence that actually has labels and denominations on them.

What kind of chips would be best for bar poker? I dont think Id mind having some minor customization (custom labels for example), but do not want to go the full custom route such as ceramics and such, I just ordered stuff for my personal cash/tournament sets and am getting Gear Labels for my paulson Tournament set.

I also do not want to go the route of "Nicer chips", I would hate to spend 800+ or so bucks on a set of chips or whatever just to have them get lost, stolen, etc over time.


I was thinking options such as the Nextgen Lucky Bee chips, some of the claysmith chip options, etc for re-labeling.

---Are there any other cheap options for bar chips? I have been finding options for anywhere from 14¢-20¢ a chip so far.

---Where Do you buy things like Lucky Bee chips? I can't seem to find a vendor.

---What options do you recommend for labels? I am ordering Gear labels for my nice stuff, but has anyone had any experience with BRPro or the other sites like StickerMule?

---For those that run their own leagues, what is your set breakdown? Starting stacks? Re-buys? How many tables do you normally support? I'd love to compare and contrast evryone's game so I can find the best way to run my own when I move, or tweak this league if the owner keeps asking me for more ideas.

************************
Some background of his set up in case you wanted to know. The players don't seem to mind how it runs.

He has a set of 1200 chips he uses for 4 tables, and only 1 occasion with 5 tables max. Starting stacks are 4/4/3/3/1, dealers all have change trays and try to utilize chip control to keep as little chips in front of the players as possible to make counting all ins and such easier for them. Dealers make change from their trays and color up the pots while players are thinking. Pretty much every bar near me thats runs a bar poker game has a breakdown that is very similar and also use trays filled with spare chips. The bar I just went to for the first time had stacks of 4/4/3/2 for their stacks. Heck, even the friendly home games I have visited run by players do 4/4/3 stacks for their 25¢/50¢ cash game starting stacks (buy-ins of $20, they dont like any more than that) and only have up to 50 quarters at the table for 9 players...and they are all addicted to limping, so lots of change making once one player gets all the fracs.

The guy that runs the league that I am a substitute dealer for has this for his set breakdown, no "re-buys" for the free bar poker league at this place.
250x 25
250x 100
250x 500
250x 1000
100x 5000
100x 10,000

Do you think that these types of breakdowns are relatively ok for bar poker because these bars have dedicated dealers with change in their trays ready? No fuss about making change with players, just using the tray, and it stretches your sets out to support more tables with less chips (I actually wonder if regular 8/8/6/6/x breakdowns require less chips but mean that the dealer must rely on making change between players as opposed to a tray).

As I have found, most of the players at these bars are very casual, and cannot be trusted to make change between themselves, hoard blind chips until they are asked to exchange them for larger chips by the dealer, communicate action properly, etc, etc, so eliminating the need to rely on them for change seems like a plus to me.

Even at the casino 2 weeks ago, I about had an annyuerism waiting for this player to bumble along and understand what the dealer was telling him. All he had to do was give him a yellow and a purple chip.....when players are ordering rounds of shots, getting wasted and having fun, I feel like not having to try and work with them for change, its better to just have it in the tray so you can get back to the action faster. Normally when I deal for this bar league, I color up chips from the pot to refill my tray if I am running low, and rarely have to ask players to exchange chips with me.
 

Colquhoun

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Decent labels are generally 25 to 30 cents per chip. So even with very inexpensive chips, it’s still upwards of 50+ cents per chip. For security and durability (a must in bar setting), I would recommend a small jump to ceramics.

For a breakdown, a common one around here for a 2 table 600 chip set is:
T 25 - 160
T 100 - 160
T 500 - 80
T 1k - 140
T 5k - 60

8/8/4/7 with 10k starting stacks.

You could just double this for a 4 table tourney.
 
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CrazyEddie

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Alibaba. Find a vendor that'll take a minimum order that fits what you need. Pick a cheap plastic sluggo with a body/spot/mold style that you like, and they'll come with printed decals on them with your own custom design.

You'll have to do some digging and go back and forth by email a bunch, but they'll be cheap, attractive, secure, and perfectly satisfactory for a bar game.

Edit to add: I have not done this myself, nor even heard from someone who's done it, but @BGinGA mentioned it as a possibility when @TX_Golf_N_Poker was looking to make a large set of cheap customs.
 

MuckingPro

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Yes shop around Alibaba first.
You can talk to this guy to get the denominations you want.
1000 chips with case and including 4-7 days shipping for $350USD. He is open to bargaining and negotiations too.
Get him to throw in 4 decks of plastic playing cards, a couple cut cards, dealer button, etc. Go through his items to see what else you would might want cause ordering everything all at once is more convenient. He has a lot items and you could potentially add new games like blackjack and roulette
https://enjoycasino.en.alibaba.com/...tml?spm=a2700.shop_index.152.2.14f532b6ocuHLF :ROFL: :ROFLMAO:

HTB1WvCdJ9zqK1RjSZPcq6zTepXaJ.jpg
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HTB1NO8QXoY1gK0jSZFMq6yWcVXaQ.jpg
 

Hairy_Crocodile

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I apologize for the novels, I have a difficult time articulating my thoughts and want to make sure I explain my thought process properly.

To be honest, I am considering the Greek triangle chips from claysmith.

They can be found for 14-18 cents a chip and labels can be found through Stickermule for around 7 cents a label.

I am considering this to show the tournament directors in the area that it is possible to make a "custom set" with their logo on chips like this that fit into their budgets better and so I also can have a tournament set that I can travel with that I am not scared of having damaged/lost as much as a nice ceramic set from brpro or god forbid my Paulsons.

I showed one bar TD how much custom ceramics were and he about turned ghost white in shock. One director was considering making his own labels and putting them on dice chips....I explained why this was a bad idea, but the age old issue of cost was his barrier to getting anything more than his dice chips. Most players and directors here only want to buy the "hot stamped" dice chips because they are easy to source and barely are justifiable enough to them in cost for their games.

This option also means that lost/stolen chips can be replaced easily and cheaply. Most custom chips have teired pricing, so replacing lost things or ordering ad-ons when/if your game gets bigger can be expensive. This way, to replace a lost/stolen chip or need to add 300 more chips, you spend around 32 cents per chip that has your logo on it that doesnt feel too bad to replace ad opposed to 99 cents per chip or so. $96 to add on 300 chips to your set vs $297 to make an add on makes a huge difference for bar poker imo.

Now, for my personal home games? I'm going with Brpro and Gear for my orders all the way. I like nice stuff way too much for myself. I just ordered a cash set and small tournament set recently from brpro and am on the list for gear for my 3 table home set. For my home games, I use 8/8/6/6/x as my stack size and make change between players. To me, it's really easy. The folks at these leagues are very used to this kind of 4/4/3/3/x breakdown with dedicated dealers with trays that have change, they almost expect it at this point. It's really hard to try and talk to them about stacks and chips because they are just there for the social aspect, the beer, food, and fun (which there is nothing wrong with that I must add). They are stuck in their ways, they hate change. The players really seem to like the structures as-is.


Interesting things I have found dealing for local bar poker so far:

Big blind antes are huge headaches for bar poker for some reason. People short circuit every time they have been used, even when we try to get the players used to it. They dont like it so much that they will complain and leave. It has become easier to just make more aggressive blind structures to close out the tournament.

Players dont like change. Especially the more elderly players, which is the majority of the player base. You thought telling toddlers no was bad? I'm sure I'd have a mutiny if I changed the starting stacks. We use 4/4/3/3/1, the 5k being a yellow chip. If I did 8/8/6/6 and they didnt get their precious yellow chip, they would riot. I dont understand the obsession with that yellow 5k and their pink 10k chip, but it's a big deal for them.

Players would rather make change with the dealer for some reason. Also, the majority of the local dealers heavily prefer to have a tray in front of them so they can just do it all themselves.

Players dont really care what kind of chips are in front of them the majority of the time as long as they have denominations, are easy to read, and....if they are heavy. They really like heavy chips for some reason. I guarantee that if I relabel claysmith chips with my fantasy card room logo, they would be in just as much awe as if I brought my ceramics. The guy I deal for said if I brought in a custom set, we could try it out for a day or two. Maybe the players will get excited about these and push for nicer stuff :unsure: ;)

Players (and sometimes the local dealers...lol) have trouble counting lots of chips, so the 15 chip starting stacks make the process faster for everyone.


So tldr:

My personal reasons-
1. I'm considering buying cheaper chips to use in my own league since they are more likely to be lost and is cheaper to get add ons.

2. Start up costs for the type of breakdown these bars are using is around $384-$400. I can easily make my own stacks normal, such as 8/8/6/6/x and still have dealer trays if players really still like that, and not have to worry much about cost.

3.It wont sting much either if some of these chips gets lost

4. I want to experiment and try out Stickermule based off of some member feedback and see how they hold up. It may be a good recommendation for people hoping to make a budget custom set. I always have projects going and like to experiment, and this seems like a good opportunity.

Slightly less personal reasons-
1. To educate these directors on how to source nicer poker chips and slowly introduce them into customs and semi custom chips that fit within their budgets. Maybe they can teach me more about running my own league while I teach them about this kind of stuff.

2. To try and slowly introduce the idea of regular starting stacks to this area when/if I am allowed to take over, if the bar 15 minutes down the road loses their league from poor management and i can snatch it up, or just when I move an have the opportunity to start my own.
 

allforcharity

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Biggest bang for the buck right now is card mold custom ceramics from China. Not my thing, but I can't deny the value.

I would rather go with BR Pro or SunFly ceramics, but I realize that they are way out of the price range you are looking for.

The problem with a simple cheap customized chip that can be replaced for pennies...is that it is a simple cheap customized chip that can be replaced for pennies. There's value in security. I bet it won't be difficult to copy a simple logo, print it out on your own sticker, and make your own mid-high denom tournament chips that will pass muster against the original.
 

upNdown

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How the hell do you have dedicated dealers for bar poker? Are they working for drinks?
Where I’m from, bar poker is free. And self dealt. And shitty.
 

Hairy_Crocodile

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How the hell do you have dedicated dealers for bar poker? Are they working for drinks?
Where I’m from, bar poker is free. And self dealt. And shitty.
Dealers are paid depending on which table they deal for and by tips.

I usually walk away with 65-100 or so a night.
 

KentuckySteve

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This whole thread has been interesting to (mostly) read through. I’ve just recently come across chiplab.com, I’m surprised no one has mentioned it, makes me wonder if they have a bad rep or something? On the surface they seem like a decent option.
I just picked up a rather mediocre set of 2100 blank composite chips, ranging between 100-700 each across 7 different colors. We’ve used some of them earlier this month for a 16 player tournament, they worked just fine, which has me thinking about trying to add labels if I decide to keep them.
 

CrazyEddie

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This whole thread has been interesting to (mostly) read through. I’ve just recently come across chiplab.com, I’m surprised no one has mentioned it, makes me wonder if they have a bad rep or something? On the surface they seem like a decent option.
Chiplab chips are metal-slugged plastic. They're actually pretty good for slugged plastic, but they're pretty expensive for what they are. They're easy to customize, which is why they can charge so much - chip enthusiasts like us aren't their target audience; they're catering to the gifts-and-awards market segment.

Chiplab has two product families - "clay" and "clay composite". Both product families are metal-slugged injection-molded plastic and are completely unlike the clay chips that casinos use. That said, their "clay" chips feel much more clay-like than their "clay composite" chips. Nothing at all like Paulsons, but quite a bit different from, and nicer than, typical metal-slugged chips such as dice chips.

If you're at all interested in them then order their free sample kit and feel them for yourself. And if it turns out you really like the way they feel and the price works for you, then by all means have them make you a set!
 
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