Case for Transporting Chips

Gfabbri

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Hi Folks-

What are the most reliable options for poker chip storage en route to "away games"?

Based on research, the following options for a 500-chip set come up a lot - any opinions?

1) Birdcage -- 600 size. Many like these, but I have seen a number of reports of them cracking or getting dinged in transport.

2) Claysmith Aluminum Case. Reportedly the best of the aluminum cases.

3) Chip Boxes in a Gym Bag. Sounds like a reasonable option. What's the best source for rack boxes that reliably stay shut?

4) Pelican Case. The ultimate in protection, but pricy.

Thoughts appreciated! What's worked for you all?

-G
 

detroitdad

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I use an aluminum case. I pre set the buy ins in each row so their ready to go asap.

I bird cage looks more cool, but not as efficient for me.
 

orsonberger

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Hi my personal choice is for car travel Pelican case, but in my last poker tourney in UK the organizer of event use one custom guitar hard case is a safe and cheap option
sorry edit bad read for 500 chips the aluminium case is good the guitar option is for 2000 chips:)
 
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mtl mile end

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The 600 size cage is (used to be) great. Back when they were solidly made (a couple of years ago) and the bottom of the case was low enough to easily remove the two bottom racks, these were the bomb. Now they are made with plastic slightly thicker than saran wrap and the sides of the bottom piece are so high that removing the bottom two racks is extremely difficult. At least now that they suck, they are generally much more expensive than they used to be *sigh*. I still use the crappy version of this, but the transport is very gentle and straightforward. Once the game is set up, they're OK to use as long as you keep in mind that you don't want to have to remove the bottom two racks while play is underway.
 

Milo013

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I use whatever method of storage the particular set uses. I have two aluminum cases, and three 1000 pc bird cages. The wife's roulettes are in one of the cheapy 600 pc cages that MME mentioned above. It sucks, but her chips don't see enough play (and NEVER travel) for it to be an issue.
 

MoscowRadio

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The 600 size cage is (used to be) great. Back when they were solidly made (a couple of years ago) and the bottom of the case was low enough to easily remove the two bottom racks, these were the bomb. Now they are made with plastic slightly thicker than saran wrap and the sides of the bottom piece are so high that removing the bottom two racks is extremely difficult. At least now that they suck, they are generally much more expensive than they used to be *sigh*. I still use the crappy version of this, but the transport is very gentle and straightforward. Once the game is set up, they're OK to use as long as you keep in mind that you don't want to have to remove the bottom two racks while play is underway.
I think it deserves to be noted that there are two versions of the 600 ct. acrylic cases.



The second one is great. I use two of them to transport my set of 1200 GCOPs. The first one has stopped selling from some vendors due to it's inefficiency and tendency for the clasps to break.
 

mtl mile end

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Ah, I didn't realize there was a real birdcage version of the 600ct case. I don't now how much I'd like it for use in transit. It seems like a disaster waiting to tip over.
 

Trihonda

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Hi Folks-

What are the most reliable options for poker chip storage en route to "away games"?

Based on research, the following options for a 500-chip set come up a lot - any opinions?

1) Birdcage -- 600 size. Many like these, but I have seen a number of reports of them cracking or getting dinged in transport.

2) Claysmith Aluminum Case. Reportedly the best of the aluminum cases.

3) Chip Boxes in a Gym Bag. Sounds like a reasonable option. What's the best source for rack boxes that reliably stay shut?

4) Pelican Case. The ultimate in protection, but pricy.

Thoughts appreciated! What's worked for you all?

-G
I've owned birdcages and they work ok... My go-to travel case is the Claysmith case. However it broke pretty quickly. Going to look into pelican case
 
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Gfabbri

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When aluminum cases break, do they do so catastrophically? A buddy has one for his dice set (ugh, I know), and it seems fine, but the last thing I would want is for 500 nice chips to go spraying all over the sidewalk!
 

Trihonda

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My claysmith case broke, but only one of the guide arms for the lid. The joint came undone. It still functions (clasps, etc...) but I was certainly a bit disappointed that it broke so easily. I've been a fan of pelican cases for many many years.

Any recommendations on a pelican case model that's good for a small 600 chip travel set?
 

TexRex

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I've tried 6 things. I've tried 2 different 650 chip aluminum cases. One is better than the other. They are OK for traveling if the only thing you need to carry is chips and 2 single decks of cards. I would not depend on the handles.

I've got a 1000 chip rolling aluminum case. It came free with 1000 chips. It's very cheaply made and I'd never trust it. If any case breaks, how catastrophic it is depends on how it breaks. A friend had an aluminum case break. The handle broke while he was taking it to his car in the rain. It hit the driveway and popped open. Chips went everywhere. At least they were cheap plastic chips. After that, I didn't trust the aluminum cases. If all you have to do is store the chips in your poker room, it might be OK, but I'd never pay for one or plan on using it to transport chips despite the wheels.

Many years ago I had a custom built wood case. It held 1000 chips in two 500 chip trays and several decks of cards. The lid hinges weren't as well built as everything else. I still use the bottom part of the box, but for storage, not travel. I'm sure the wood cases out there are better than what I got. The guy who built it knew what it was for, but I think he seriously underestimated the stress on the hinges.

I've used 4x25 plastic chip boxes in a gym bag. The boxes hold quite well, and will survive some falls without chips going everywhere. If they are inside a gym bag that is closed, at least if you drop the bag, the chips will stay in the bag. I use that when I only need to carry 300-500 chips. The bag can hold cards and dealer buttons too, and is easy to carry. I don't know that I'd try it with more than 600 chips unless I had a much sturdier bag, which you could get. This is a good inexpensive solution that is very workable. It's easy to transport.

I have a Pelican 1510 rolling case designed to hold 1000 chips in 10 4x25 boxes. I got a lid organizer with it and it can hold 14-18 decks of bridge size cards, timers, and dealer buttons. I love it! Since it rolls, it's easily transportable, and very secure. It is a more expensive solution, but if you have to transport chips, it's nearly unbeatable. Look up Pelican cases on the internet and you will find there is a wide variety of options and you can easily customize to fit your needs. I cut the pick-n-pluck foam myself, and if I can do it, anyone can. My mechanical ability might be a negative number. You could also have a custom foam made if you wanted. I will at some point get another Pelican case for my second set of chips, but I haven't decided what to get yet. Another thing you can do is get a second foam set and have it customized for a different configuration but with only one case. It's very easy to take the foam out. For a very secure transporting solution that is easily and highly customizable, you can't beat a Pelican or Pelican-like case.

I think there are a lot of potential Pelican cases that would work for 600 chips. Before I got mine, I thought a lot about what my needs were and got what I thought would best fit my needs. Consider cards, timers, dealer buttons, and maybe some kind of poker unit. I promise you could configure a Pelican case for about anything you wanted.

None of what I've tried for for display because I don't care about that.
 

AlbinoDragon

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My chips have to go from home to my office for games (my house... actually a guesthouse, it way too small to host). All of my chips are in 1000 count birdcages and go from the back of the house to the car for the drive. There it goes from the car to the office (50 foot walk through the parking lot) and up a flight of stairs when I get there.

In several years of doing this, I have NEVER had a problem with a full cage. I'm not doing curls with them for exercise and not swinging them around like a drunk monkey. I pick it up and carry it by the handle by my side.

I guess I don't know what some people's fear of the classic acrylic cage is. They work for the casinos. I figure if there was a problem, they wouldn't be used there.

If the travel was going to involve possibly rougher conditions or a situation where you won't have the easiest time trying to explain away a cage full of chips, then a proper closed case is the way to go (Pelican cases are the bomb for ANYTHING delicate... I have several for telescope parts and such because they handle a bit of a beating).


Semi-related, I once took a 1000 count cage and cut it down to hold 600 chips with an inverted rack on top of each stack of three to hold cards and a dealer button. I called it the 700 chip cage, but it's more like an 800 that can't quite hold the last two racks of chips... if that makes sense. It was some very careful and delicate cutting with a fine tooth blade on a hacksaw, but worked quite well for the purpose. I have a picture of it in my gallery over on the other site.
 

Mango

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I guess I don't know what some people's fear of the classic acrylic cage is. They work for the casinos. I figure if there was a problem, they wouldn't be used there.
I think the fear lies in wondering if the acrylic case that I have from X poker shop is the same uality as used by Y casino. Because arnt the casino ones lockable? Been awhile since I have seen one.

I just bought a cheap (for Aus) 500 chip case and was surprised it came with square rows for the chips divided by foam. The foam was glued down at the ends but the foam running along side the chips could be moved a little. Seems to work ok with the card sections in the middle acting as lateral support but it certainly doesnt strike me as top quality :)
 

Trihonda

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I JUST ordered two Pelican cases.

The 1450, which I intend to use for a traveling case for 600 chips/cards/accessories. I really like what others have done with it, using the pick/pluck foam to create slots for the cards, buttons, etc... This will be perfect when I run a cash game somewhere (buddy's house, etc...).

Here's a pic of how Wyleco organized his (taken from a thread on the blue site). If you're interested, he wrote up a nice review of the Pelican 1450 case. It's his review that solidified my purchase. I found them online for $80 shipped (but I had to get it in Silver). Black was $95.




I also snagged the 1170, which is smaller (thin) and will fit two Paulson racks perfectly. This will be my go case... For when I'm traveling and want to run a small cash game (2-4 people). I think I can get around a $400 usable cash set in 2 racks.

Last year, I was attending a work conference, and 4-5 of the guys wanted to play cards after hitting the bars... We each bought in for $20-40 and were forced to play with paper (and quarters from two rolls obtained from the bar prior to returning to the hotel). I had a stack of Benny's $1s I was shuffling, and the guys loved that we incorporated the chips... This is the exact situation I'm thinking of for this traveling case. Another example is I'm traveling to Vegas in January with some poker buddies. I could see us playing heads up on the plane, or in the hotel room late at night. Yea, I know it's vegas, and you can play cards in the casino... But sometimes ya want to kick back and play some cash with your buds (no rake) before crashing for the night.

Here's someone using the 1170 as a case for a gun and also wristwatches...



 
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BGinGA

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I think the fear lies in wondering if the acrylic case that I have from X poker shop is the same uality as used by Y casino. Because arnt the casino ones lockable? Been awhile since I have seen one.
I have one casino acrylic carrier, and it is much beefier than the standard ones you find on eBay. Those would bust apart if you hit somebody in the head with 'em. This casino carrier would easily crack a skull before breaking....


I JUST ordered two Pelican cases.

The 1450, which I intend to use for a traveling case for 600 chips/cards/accessories. I really like what others have done with it, using the pick/pluck foam to create slots for the cards, buttons, etc... This will be perfect when I run a cash game somewhere (buddy's house, etc...).

Here's a pic of how Wyleco organized his (taken from a thread on the blue site). If you're interested, he wrote up a nice review of the Pelican 1450 case. It's his review that solidified my purchase. I found them online for $80 shipped (but I had to get it in Silver). Black was $95.

Nice, Erik. We expect case pr0n once it's received, set up, and loaded. :)
 

Trihonda

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I have one casino acrylic carrier, and it is much beefier than the standard ones you find on eBay. Those would bust apart if you hit somebody in the head with 'em. This casino carrier would easily crack a skull before breaking....
This is what I always assumed. I bought a couple 1000 chip birdcages, and the first one I received was broken on delivery. I'm always a tad nervous when carrying 800+ chippies around. If that broke while walking somewhere out of the house, it'd be quite the mess to pick up...


We expect case pr0n once it's received, set up, and loaded. :)
You know it!!! I'm especially curious how the smaller 1170 case will turn out. Not sure how weird it will be bringing along a smaller two-rack chipset to places like Vegas... I'd debated bringing chips with me to my work conference a while back, but thought against it (later regretted that).

Thinking my 2-rack breakdown will be something like this (for $.25/$.50)

60 $.25 ($15)
60 $1 ($60)
80 $5 ($400)

Starting stacks 12/12/3
 
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ssanel54

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Bottom line is you should be careful transporting 500+ chips with any birdcage or cheaper aluminum case. I would hesitate using only the handle for extended movements, and would suggest you always try to support the bottom of the case with your other hand.

If your definition of transport consists of moving the chips from your house to your car, and from the car to your destination, then any of those option will work perfectly fine. I prefer the birdcages because they look cool, and its easier to count your chips at the end of the night when they are in racks.
 

Schmendr1ck

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Bottom line is you should be careful transporting 500+ chips with any birdcage or cheaper aluminum case. I would hesitate using only the handle for extended movements, and would suggest you always try to support the bottom of the case with your other hand.

If your definition of transport consists of moving the chips from your house to your car, and from the car to your destination, then any of those option will work perfectly fine. I prefer the birdcages because they look cool, and its easier to count your chips at the end of the night when they are in racks.
This. I store most of my chips in 400/600/1000 count acrylic birdcages, and for transportation to a friend's house (house to car to house) they're fine and perfectly safe. However, I wouldn't travel with them. I've bought one of those $25 aluminum tool cases (similar to the image below) from Home Depot and tried to make it work. It seems to be okay for 600-800 chips, but for airline travel I think I'd want a Pelican.

 

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If you ever fly with a pelican and check it, make sure you either zip tie it shut, or get one of the TSA locks for it. Between being thrown onto luggage carts and bouncing around in the cargo area, it's pretty easy for the latches to be knocked loose, which would mean a big mess of chips that you would never see again. If you go the zip tie route (which isn't a bad idea even with a TSA lock), put a note inside with some extra zip ties kindly asked the TSA to replace the zip ties should they decide to open the case for inspection.
 

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You could make a wooden box with 1 side open, with grooves in the sides and bottom near the open side for a piece of acetate/fiberglass/clear plastic to slide down into (with a finger hole or a handle at the end to pull it up). You could put wheels on it or even a lock/latches to hold the plastic down in place.
 

pltrgyst

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I have a small all-leather case I bought a few years ago at Gambler's General Store in Vegas for about $10 -- they had a stack of them right inside the door. Maybe 9" x 9" x 2.3", no hinges, just a wrap-around leather lid that fastens with a snap. It has four chip rows that hold as many as 60 chips each if they're a bit used. I carry $1 x 100, $5 x 80, $25 x 40, and $100 x 20. $3500 bank, usable for .25/.50 at 4/1 $for 875 bank, and usable for a 175 BB tourney, all for up to ten players. It easily fits into my carry-on backpack, or any suitcase.

The only problem I've had is that TSA is extremely suspicious of solid cylinders that they can't easily identify. Most of the time they have to examine it visually, so I've given up packing it in checked luggage.

If I find the box it's packed in, I'll post a pic -- can't find it anywhere on-line, or on the GGS site.

-- Larry
 
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TexRex

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I realized I have not posted pics of my Pelican on this site. Here's what I primarily use:

Pelican - Main section.jpgPelican Case.jpgPelican - Lid organizer.jpg
Here's what I posted about it on another site:

I have a Pelican case, and I love it. I went with the smaller 1510 and got the lid organizer. It's a rolling case. Mine is set up to hold 1000 chips in 4x25 plastic boxes, and a bag I can carry my bankroll in. I called it my "tournament in a box" kit.

In the lid organizer, I have 14 decks of cards (and it could hold 18 or 19), 2 timers, extra batteries, dealer buttons, and card protectors. This lid organizer for this size case would not allow as many poker size decks -- 10 or 11 at most.

You can order custom cut foam, but I cut my own using the pick-n-pluck foam that comes in the case. One great thing is that you could order extra foam and cut it to a different configuration if you wanted to. I was originally going to custom cut a place to put cards, but realized I could easily fit 14 decks of bridge-size cards (10-11 poker size) in the lid organizer, thus saving me from having a cut out area for cards.

Instead of using the screws to install the lid organizer, I attached Velcro to the inside of the lid and the back of the organizer. That way, if I don't need what's in the lid, I could easily remove it and put the foam top back in.

The case can easily be rolled and carried to another location. For me, most of the time it is rolled from a closet to the dining room, but I’ve taken it on the road several times. At the end of the game, I reload it and it is ready to go to the next event.

I don't really think of its protective aspects as much as I think of the convenience. However, it's hard for me to imagine a tougher, more flexible case that is easy to transport. With shipping, the whole thing came to less than $200.
 

gopherblue

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Tex,

thanks for for the great info on the Pelican case. If configured differently (all chip boxes vertical instead of some laying flat) do you think it would be possible to have more chips in this case size? I'm hoping to store 1200-1600 if possible, using the same kind of plastic covered boxes for TRKs.

Thx
goph
 

TexRex

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Gopher, I figured out how I wanted to hold them and cut for that specific configuration. Yes, you could easily cut for vertical carry. This case would easily hold 2000 chips if you wanted to cut for that. What you don't see from these picks is the padding on the bottom. I'll also mention it weighs close to 50 lbs. More chips is going to mean more weight. The case can handle it easily. I'm about to upgrade to 10-10.5 gram chips instead of 9 gram chips. That will be heavy enough for me. You might also look at the 1560 case. It's a little bigger, and the lid organizer would hold a lot more. I looked at both carefully before deciding on the 1510.
 

TexRex

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Trihonda -- very nice the way you put that together! To me, that's a great illustration of getting the size that fits your needs and customizing the case.

***

I just did some measurements of my Pelican 1510 case. The pick-n-pluck foam pads are 2.5” deep. Here are the inside measurements.

LengthWidthDepthCubic ”
20.1911.387.571739.3
If you wanted to, and I considered this, you could get the Pelican 1560 case, 20 lbs. with these dimensions:
LengthWidthDepthCubic
20.37515.437592830.85

Here are the outside measurements of most of the 4x25 boxes with the most that would go in one of those two Pelican cases a certain way. They do vary in size slightly. Measurements below are in inches.

BoxesLengthWidthDepth
16.6253.6251.75
213.257.253.5
319.87510.8755.25
414.57
518.1258.75
610.5
712.25
814
915.75
1017.5
1119.25
1221

Since I have the 1510, that's what I'll work with here. My case has 2” of padding in the bottom. If I removed all but .25”, I could get another layer of boxes in if I place them L to the long sides and stacked on top of each other. That would allow 3 layers of boxes (total 5.25 inches), or 1400 chips instead of 1000.

My case has 3” of padding on each side. I could remove 1.75” on each side and get two more boxes placing them L front to back.

My box has, from front to back, 1.125” of padding in the front and .625” of padding in the back (total of 1.75” – enough for another box going that way if you eliminated the padding entirely).

18 of the boxes could be fit into a space of 11” x 13.75” x 5.5”. The would involve 2L x 3W boxes flat on either the top of bottom, and 2L x 6D boxes. That would involve removing, basically, the front to back padding and using .25” in the bottom.

The Pelican 1510 weighs about 16 lbs. empty. Put in the foam, lid organizer, and the stuff I have in the lid organizer and I’m just guessing no more than 10 lbs. The 4.25 boxes are light, maybe 2 oz. each.

The weight of chips is (rounded):
# of Chips99.51010.5
100019.8520.9522.123.2
120023.925.1426.527.8
140027.829.3330.932.41
150029.831.4233.134.8
160031.7533.5135.337.1
180035.7237.739.741.7

I know this is technical info, but my point is to give you a way to measure how many chips could fit in the case. Without padding, it would hold no more than 36 boxes, and probably less than that (by 2 maybe) to account for the wheel wells. You can see though that would involve 72-84 lbs. of chips. The case would hold that, but I think that would just be too heavy to be practical. If I put 1800 chips in mine, I’d expect it to weigh about 60 lbs. My current case weighs over 40 lbs.

If I were going to try to fit more than 1400-1500 in a case, I'd go with the bigger case. One other thing the padding does is keep the box quiet in transit. I think if there was a side without enough padding you would hear the boxes and chips rattling around in there. I've never tried it, so I don't know for sure.
 

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I just picked up this pelican 1520 case full of asm 312 roman mold chips. 1,099 chips. It even had an old set of Kem cards and buttons. Walked into a pawn shop & there they were. The chips were all mixed up at the time. After sorting them out it has 550 red/yel (too many), 274 blue/orng, 110 grn/blk, 165 gry/plum. Wish i had more of the other colors (no black). Anyway, I have had just about every case & this is the best, these cases will not bust. I agree with previous posts that you should put a small lock on them just in case you drop it and a latch should pop open, they are a bit heavy. Thanks for the good info above TexRex.
 
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View attachment 4042View attachment 4043
I just picked up this pelican 1520 case full of asm 312 roman mold chips. 998 chips. Walked into a pawn shop & there they were. The chips were all mixed up but has just over 600 red (too many), wish i had more of the other colors. Anyway, i have had just about every case & this is the best. I will now have to buy more...
That has the potential to be a SICK 1/2 set. HELL of a find!
 
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