Ceramic/Non-Clay Options

tacoma3

Sitting Out
Joined
Jul 25, 2021
Messages
26
Reaction score
46
Location
Cave Creek
I’m looking for information on how to design and purchase a non-clay tournament set. All of the clay options seem to be out of my budget - really need less than $1500 all in (so to speak) on this and not looking to relabel Paul-sons.

I tried some searches but aren’t really sure what I’m searching for. Does anyone have a simple to use reference or threads that I can peruse to learn about vendors that offer custom ceramic or plastic chips, costs, design options like edgespots, base, and printed inlays, etc.

I’m looking for about 1000 chips with this breakdown if it matters:

T25 - 200
T100 - 300
T500 - 200
T1000 - 100
T5000 - 100
T25K - 100

Any help or direction is appreciated!

Also, is there such a thing as Cali tournament chip colors like there is for Cali cash vs. rest of country cash?
 

MegaTon44

Full House
Supporting Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2016
Messages
3,331
Reaction score
10,217
Location
Collegeville, PA
I would go with 43mm Sunfly hybrids (ceramic chips with a label in the center). About $0.85/chip all-in after design and shipping from Asia. Here's a few examples of sets I have had designed. Please PM me with any questions about the process.

1594736730312.png
1594736924947.png
Capture143.PNG
1594736898749.png
 
Last edited:

BGinGA

Royal Flush
Tourney Director
Supporting Member
Joined
Oct 29, 2014
Messages
25,683
Reaction score
39,774
Location
Atlanta
I’m looking for information on how to design and purchase a non-clay tournament set. All of the clay options seem to be out of my budget - really need less than $1500 all in (so to speak) on this and not looking to relabel Paul-sons.

I tried some searches but aren’t really sure what I’m searching for. Does anyone have a simple to use reference or threads that I can peruse to learn about vendors that offer custom ceramic or plastic chips, costs, design options like edgespots, base, and printed inlays, etc.

I’m looking for about 1000 chips with this breakdown if it matters:

T25 - 200
T100 - 300
T500 - 200
T1000 - 100
T5000 - 100
T25K - 100

Any help or direction is appreciated!

Also, is there such a thing as Cali tournament chip colors like there is for Cali cash vs. rest of country cash?
First, I would question your need for 1,000 chips, especially using that specific breakdown. You may find that you need fewer chips than you think, and thus can afford better chips as a result. Even a 600-chip set of custom clays can be had for well under $1500, along with semi-customs.

But I'll second the above recommendations for the mid-range 43mm Sun-Fly ceramic hybrids, and the low-lost (but not low quality) Chinese-made cards mold ceramics. Both offer great value for the money.
 

mnebesny

Flush
Supporting Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2020
Messages
1,367
Reaction score
1,035
Location
Toronto, ON
I know this isn't really what you asked, but if you want non-relabel Paulsons, you could probably get a Jack Cincinnati solid T25-base tourney set for less than $1.50/chip, and you could definitely stay under $1500 if you refine your breakdown a bit like @BGinGA said
 

mnebesny

Flush
Supporting Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2020
Messages
1,367
Reaction score
1,035
Location
Toronto, ON

riotouslevity

High Hand
Joined
Dec 25, 2016
Messages
66
Reaction score
92
Location
Mundelein, IL
I’m looking for information on how to design and purchase a non-clay tournament set. All of the clay options seem to be out of my budget - really need less than $1500 all in (so to speak) on this and not looking to relabel Paul-sons.

I tried some searches but aren’t really sure what I’m searching for. Does anyone have a simple to use reference or threads that I can peruse to learn about vendors that offer custom ceramic or plastic chips, costs, design options like edgespots, base, and printed inlays, etc.

I’m looking for about 1000 chips with this breakdown if it matters:

T25 - 200
T100 - 300
T500 - 200
T1000 - 100
T5000 - 100
T25K - 100

Any help or direction is appreciated!

Also, is there such a thing as Cali tournament chip colors like there is for Cali cash vs. rest of country cash?
I had a great experience with @BR Pro Poker https://brpropoker.com/ I got some 43mm chips with custom design I did myself in 2016. Nice matte finish... no spinners ie warped chips. 25 min buy.. ie low qty and flexibility.

They charge extra if the edge art work needs to be aligned with the top and bottom faces. I recommend strategically approaching the artwork to not need to be aligned if you're going this route because you can still make some great chips and it's unlikely that feature is critical vs your use case. this typically means don't put the edge spot pattern near the edge of the face.

The other key advantage being the full chip is your canvas. The label center with a chip design isn't a limitation. For some this isn't important if you are looking for a more traditional look . But I see it as the only other reason to go this route vs CPC's beyond budget.
 

khp

Two Pair
Joined
May 18, 2021
Messages
395
Reaction score
284
Location
Have US and Singapore shipping addresses
I would go with 43mm Sunfly hybrids (ceramic chips with a label in the center). About $0.85/chip all-in after design and shipping from Taiwan. Here's a few examples of sets I have had designed. Please PM me with any questions about the process.

View attachment 742627View attachment 742628View attachment 742629View attachment 742630
I’ve never handled a hybrid before, but this is a ceramic chip with a sticker as a label, right?

Are there any advantages to having a label stuck on instead of whole face printing (like br poker or cards mold)?
 

BGinGA

Royal Flush
Tourney Director
Supporting Member
Joined
Oct 29, 2014
Messages
25,683
Reaction score
39,774
Location
Atlanta
I’ve never handled a hybrid before, but this is a ceramic chip with a sticker as a label, right?

Are there any advantages to having a label stuck on instead of whole face printing (like br poker or cards mold)?
The hybrid chips have a center recess intended for a laminated label, and the resulting differences in looks, sound, and feel from other ceramic chips are significant (and even vary across the different available hybrid diameters and recess sizes, due to varying amounts of chip-to-chip surface friction contact area, weight, and sound pitch due to recess size).

The 43mm hybrid with the smaller 25mm recess is the top of the line of all things ceramic, imo. Standard and debossed-image ceramic chips cannot replicate the unique characteristics of ceramic hybrids.

Get samples.
 

tacoma3

Sitting Out
Joined
Jul 25, 2021
Messages
26
Reaction score
46
Location
Cave Creek
Is the reference to aligned around the edgespot on the face simply lining up with the edgespot on the side of the chip? If so, isn’t it jarring to not have them aligned?
 

davislane

Full House
Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 12, 2020
Messages
4,804
Reaction score
5,488
Location
Sydney, Australia

CrazyEddie

Flush
Joined
Jul 25, 2020
Messages
2,320
Reaction score
3,551
Location
Georgia
Ceramics are a class of poker chip distinct from the other main classes: plastic, china clay, and clay. The distinguishing feature of ceramics is that their graphic design is printed across the face and along the rolling edge using dye-sublimation printing, which allows them to have a full-face design of any sort desired, whereas the other three classes limit the custom-printed area to the center decal / inlay.

Most ceramic suppliers provide options for full custom artwork; most also offer stock designs that you can purchase without needing to supply your own artwork, and some allow limited "semi-custom" alterations of stock designs to change out text and denominations.

There are several different types of blanks that the suppliers use to print their chips; accordingly, each supplier's chips will feel somewhat different. Some are textured, some are smooth; some are sharp-cornered, some are beveled; etc. Although different ceramics do feel different from each other, as a class they all feel somewhat alike, and feel very different from the other classes (plastic, china clay, and clay).

Your main options for ceramics are as follows:

Stock mass-market designs available from major retailers such as Amazon and Ebay. Common examples are Laurel Crowns, Nile Clubs, and Scrolls. These aren't well-regarded by PCF members.

Stock designs, semi-customs, or full customs from ABC Gifts and Awards / BR Pro Poker (the two companies have merged even though their websites have slightly different product offerings). These are quite well-regarded here. Popular designs include Dia De Los Muertos, Tiki Kings, and Nevada Jack Skulls, but they have a very large selection of stock designs, and most can be semi-customized.

Full customs from Sun-Fly. They offer three main types of chips. Their PolyChrom chips are standard ceramics, similar to the others discussed here. Their PolyClay chips have debossed designs molded into the edge of the chip, which gives them an appearance somewhat similar to clay chips (but note that they're still very different from clay chips). Their PolyInno chips are what we call "hybrid" chips - they have a recess molded into the center of the chip which takes a decal, which again makes them look somewhat similar to clay chips (but again note that they're still very different from clay chips). Sun-Flys are well-regarded here, but note that shipping costs and/or minimum order quantities can make them expensive outside of group buys.

Full customs from certain Chinese suppliers who operate out of Alibaba.com. These are generically referred to as "cards mold" chips around here, since the first large purchase of them used an edge mold with debossed cards, but there are also diamond molds available, as well as plain molds. The cards molds and diamond molds are similar to the Sun-Fly PolyClay chips in that they have debossed designs molded into the edge of the chip. There are two different suppliers that various PCF members have worked with, named "Tina" and "Anita". Tina and Anita have provided chips that are similar yet slightly different from each other.

Chips from these two Chinese suppliers are very affordably priced, typically 30 cents each when purchased in large quantities through group buys, and somewhat more expensive when purchased as an individual. Drawbacks include long production and shipping times, although individual orders go through and are delivered faster than group buys. Most PCF members have been very happy with the chips they received, especially given the price, although there have been some quality issues. You can read people's comments about quality, and a comparison between the two vendors, in this thread.

To learn more about how to work with these Chinese suppliers, including how to contact them and arrange an individual purchase, see this thread. Alternately, people run group buys on a frequent basis, and depending on the timing it might be possible to join in the group buy to get a better price and let someone else handle the purchasing logistics, at the cost of a longer delay before getting the chips. You can read through the Group Buys forum section to see whether there are any active group buys still looking for people to join.

Old casino chips and custom sets. The first manufacturer of ceramic chips was Chipco; they sold chips to casinos but are now out of business. Casinos still use ceramic chips supplied by companies such as Bourgogne et Grasset; they are generally only available to casinos and not to the general public. However, older chip sets made by Chipco, B&G, and others can sometimes be found for sale in the PCF Classified Ads, for example here, here, and here. And here's a thread with examples from a wide variety of manufacturers, most of them now out of business.

Other assorted suppliers and designs:
  • You can get a handful of stock designs from BBO Poker Tables. These haven't been discussed much here. Here's one review of them, and if you search for "BBO ceramic" you'll find some other discussions about their chips (they also make poker tables).
  • Slowplay makes a line of ceramics. There's not much information about them on PCF, probably just this one thread.
  • EPT (European Poker Tour) is a commonly-found design on ceramic chips, and you can get them from several vendors (here's an example from MandyChips.com). I haven't seen any discussion of these.
  • There's a new mass market design called Bullets that's recently become available. I haven't seen any reviews of these on PCF.



With this background information, you can search the forum to get a lot more details, reviews, and examples for almost all of the above, and that can both help you make a decision about what you'd like to purchase and give you better information about how to purchase them.

HOWEVER: Whether you end up going with mass-market chips or full customs, it's important to get samples first of any chips that you think you might be interested in, before you order a full set. Even with the cheapest set it's still going to be a significant investment, and all of these feel different enough from each other that you may well have strong preferences for one over another. Getting samples is a cheap way to make sure you're going to enjoy the chips you end up with.

Good luck, and feel free to ask more questions any time! PCF is full of experienced, helpful, and mostly friendly people. :)
 

CdnBeerLover

Full House
Joined
Apr 29, 2013
Messages
4,329
Reaction score
2,372
Location
Ottawa, ON Canada
I’ve never handled a hybrid before, but this is a ceramic chip with a sticker as a label, right?

Are there any advantages to having a label stuck on instead of whole face printing (like br poker or cards mold)?
If you wish to change the theme of the chip, you can replace the label. With whole face printing, you cannot change it.

Definitely get samples. Everyone had their own opinions. I'm personally not a fan of hybrids.
 
  • Like
Reactions: khp

CrazyEddie

Flush
Joined
Jul 25, 2020
Messages
2,320
Reaction score
3,551
Location
Georgia
Also, since you asked about plastics as well as ceramics:

Plastics come in three main categories: mass-market plastic chips, casino-quality plastic chips, and china clays (almost all chips are made out of plastic, including ceramics, china clays, and clays - the terminology can be a little confusing).

Mass-market plastic chips almost all contain a metal insert (a "slug") to increase their weight; they usually weigh 11 - 14 grams. The same is true of casino-quality plastics. The difference is in the quality of materials used, the quality of workmanship, the intricacy of the design details, and the way the chips are constructed. Also price and availability; mass-market chips are cheap and readily available at retail outlets, whereas casino-quality chips are expensive and in most cases aren't sold to the general public, or when they are are usually subject to substantial minimum order quantities.

Mass-market slugged plastic chips aren't well-regarded here, but there are a few that are notable and often recommended as good budget options. Look into the Claysmith line of chips (Bluff Canyon, Desert Heat, Gold Rush, The Mint, and some others), plus others such as Monte Carlo, Showdown Club, Monaco Club, Poker Knights, and Outlaws.

China clays are similar to mass-market plastic chips, but they don't have a metal slug and so usually weigh between 8 and 10 grams, which is a typical weight for clay chips. They're designed to look and feel as similar to clay chips as possible, although most of the newer china clays definitely feel more plastic-like than clay-like. Current lines of china clays include Milanos, Majestics, Royals, and The Bank. There are older china clays as well such as Spirit Molds and PGIs, but they can't be bought at retail any more; you'd have to turn to the classifieds to find them.

Neither china clays nor mass-market plastics can have customized spots; what's available is what's available. They can all have customized decals; some are made as blanks, and any of them can have their stock decals easily removed. You could then apply new labels with any design you choose. @Gear is a vendor that provides top-quality custom labels, but there are other vendors as well, plus you can make your own. There's many threads about label vendors and making your own labels; search and you will find them.

If you're bold you can look on alibaba.com to find vendors willing to sell mass-market plastic chips of nearly any design and will usually include custom-printed decals. These can be very low-cost, but you may have to search to find some with minimum order quantities that are suitable for your needs, and you'll have to put up with dealing with overseas vendors.

Casino-quality plastics can be ordered from Matsui and Abbiati; they have a wide range of available spot patterns, and can be had with any custom-designed decals. However, they are not cheap, and will have minimum order quantities that may not suit your needs. There have been various group buys on PCF to get Matsui and Abbiati chips with great designs; you can find past sets for sale in the classifieds, and you can keep your eye on the Group Buy forum section for future opportunities to join the group buys. But even with group buys, casino-quality plastics are not budget chips.

There are other suppliers of customized chips, such as for example Chiplab and pokerchips.com, but they are usually quite overpriced for the low-quality chips they provide.

The Hobbyphilic youtube channel is a great way to see what a wide variety of poker chips look and sound like, which can help you get a feel for what kinds of chips are out there and properly set your expectations.

I hope this helps get you started! Search the forums using any of the keywords and brand names I've mentioned, ask specific questions, and most importantly get samples.

Good luck!
 

BGinGA

Royal Flush
Tourney Director
Supporting Member
Joined
Oct 29, 2014
Messages
25,683
Reaction score
39,774
Location
Atlanta
Ceramics are a class of poker chip distinct from the other main classes: plastic, china clay, and clay. The distinguishing feature of ceramics is that their graphic design is printed across the face and along the rolling edge using dye-sublimation printing, which allows them to have a full-face design of any sort desired, whereas the other three classes limit the custom-printed area to the center decal / inlay.

Most ceramic suppliers provide options for full custom artwork; most also offer stock designs that you can purchase without needing to supply your own artwork, and some allow limited "semi-custom" alterations of stock designs to change out text and denominations.

There are several different types of blanks that the suppliers use to print their chips; accordingly, each supplier's chips will feel somewhat different. Some are textured, some are smooth; some are sharp-cornered, some are beveled; etc. Although different ceramics do feel different from each other, as a class they all feel somewhat alike, and feel very different from the other classes (plastic, china clay, and clay).

Your main options for ceramics are as follows:

Stock mass-market designs available from major retailers such as Amazon and Ebay. Common examples are Laurel Crowns, Nile Clubs, and Scrolls. These aren't well-regarded by PCF members.

Stock designs, semi-customs, or full customs from ABC Gifts and Awards / BR Pro Poker (the two companies have merged even though their websites have slightly different product offerings). These are quite well-regarded here. Popular designs include Dia De Los Muertos, Tiki Kings, and Nevada Jack Skulls, but they have a very large selection of stock designs, and most can be semi-customized.

Full customs from Sun-Fly. They offer three main types of chips. Their PolyChrom chips are standard ceramics, similar to the others discussed here. Their PolyClay chips have debossed designs molded into the edge of the chip, which gives them an appearance somewhat similar to clay chips (but note that they're still very different from clay chips). Their PolyInno chips are what we call "hybrid" chips - they have a recess molded into the center of the chip which takes a decal, which again makes them look somewhat similar to clay chips (but again note that they're still very different from clay chips). Sun-Flys are well-regarded here, but note that shipping costs and/or minimum order quantities can make them expensive outside of group buys.

Full customs from certain Chinese suppliers who operate out of Alibaba.com. These are generically referred to as "cards mold" chips around here, since the first large purchase of them used an edge mold with debossed cards, but there are also diamond molds available, as well as plain molds. The cards molds and diamond molds are similar to the Sun-Fly PolyClay chips in that they have debossed designs molded into the edge of the chip. There are two different suppliers that various PCF members have worked with, named "Tina" and "Anita". Tina and Anita have provided chips that are similar yet slightly different from each other.

Chips from these two Chinese suppliers are very affordably priced, typically 30 cents each when purchased in large quantities through group buys, and somewhat more expensive when purchased as an individual. Drawbacks include long production and shipping times, although individual orders go through and are delivered faster than group buys. Most PCF members have been very happy with the chips they received, especially given the price, although there have been some quality issues. You can read people's comments about quality, and a comparison between the two vendors, in this thread.

To learn more about how to work with these Chinese suppliers, including how to contact them and arrange an individual purchase, see this thread. Alternately, people run group buys on a frequent basis, and depending on the timing it might be possible to join in the group buy to get a better price and let someone else handle the purchasing logistics, at the cost of a longer delay before getting the chips. You can read through the Group Buys forum section to see whether there are any active group buys still looking for people to join.

Old casino chips and custom sets. The first manufacturer of ceramic chips was Chipco; they sold chips to casinos but are now out of business. Casinos still use ceramic chips supplied by companies such as Bourgogne et Grasset; they are generally only available to casinos and not to the general public. However, older chip sets made by Chipco, B&G, and others can sometimes be found for sale in the PCF Classified Ads, for example here, here, and here. And here's a thread with examples from a wide variety of manufacturers, most of them now out of business.

Other assorted suppliers and designs:
  • You can get a handful of stock designs from BBO Poker Tables. These haven't been discussed much here. Here's one review of them, and if you search for "BBO ceramic" you'll find some other discussions about their chips (they also make poker tables).
  • Slowplay makes a line of ceramics. There's not much information about them on PCF, probably just this one thread.
  • EPT (European Poker Tour) is a commonly-found design on ceramic chips, and you can get them from several vendors (here's an example from MandyChips.com). I haven't seen any discussion of these.
  • There's a new mass market design called Bullets that's recently become available. I haven't seen any reviews of these on PCF.



With this background information, you can search the forum to get a lot more details, reviews, and examples for almost all of the above, and that can both help you make a decision about what you'd like to purchase and give you better information about how to purchase them.

HOWEVER: Whether you end up going with mass-market chips or full customs, it's important to get samples first of any chips that you think you might be interested in, before you order a full set. Even with the cheapest set it's still going to be a significant investment, and all of these feel different enough from each other that you may well have strong preferences for one over another. Getting samples is a cheap way to make sure you're going to enjoy the chips you end up with.

Good luck, and feel free to ask more questions any time! PCF is full of experienced, helpful, and mostly friendly people. :)
A few clarifications to the above:

-- Some plastic chips are available with either full-face printing or with hot-stamps. Not all plastic chips have decals/labels.

-- Some clay chips are available with foil hot-stamps. Not all clay chips have inlays.

-- Sun-Fly offers stock designs on all of their ceramic products (polychrome, polyclay, polyinno), in addition to customs.
 

CrazyEddie

Flush
Joined
Jul 25, 2020
Messages
2,320
Reaction score
3,551
Location
Georgia
Is the reference to aligned around the edgespot on the face simply lining up with the edgespot on the side of the chip? If so, isn’t it jarring to not have them aligned?
That's basically correct. Ceramics get printed in three passes - the rolling edge, then one face, then the other face. To line up the faces so that they match the rolling edge takes slightly more effort (it takes longer to position the chips correctly on the image transfer paper) so the chip vendors charge extra for that.

Designs that are intended to look sort-of like clay chips will have "spots" on them, and if the faces and edges aren't aligned then yes it'll look awful. BUT because dye-sublimation printing on ceramics lets you have any design you want, you're not restricted to designs that look sort-of like clay chips! Designs that don't have "spots" can look like anything, and very often they don't depend at all on the rolling edges being aligned with the faces.

Here's a few examples:

Dia De Los Muertos:
1627317290853.png


Tiki Kings:
1627317447323.png


Venerati:
1627317507377.png


Chipco Classics:
1627317578508.png


By contrast, here's some that are designed to look sort-of like clay chips, and so need to have the edges aligned:

1627317782560.png


1627317960805.png


And here's some examples of what can go wrong, if a chip should have aligned edges, but the alignment is done poorly.

Check out the front edge of the front chip - the alignment is slightly off, but enough to be noticeable

1627317863636.png


Here the alignment is way off; I would call these chips defective:

1627318073059.png


Here's an example where the design doesn't even use "spots", but the edge alignment still matters and the printer still got it wrong (or perhaps the customer didn't bother to pay the extra charge for alignment):

1627318236606.png


This is what they should have looked like instead:

1627318292343.png


Hope that clears it up for you!
 

CrazyEddie

Flush
Joined
Jul 25, 2020
Messages
2,320
Reaction score
3,551
Location
Georgia
Who made the Bellagio knockoffs above?
I just found the picture with a google search for "ceramic poker chips". The picture comes from this page at an online retailer: https://www.thepokerstore.com/products/custom-ceramic-poker-chips-with-limited-design-help

The picture is used as an example of what they can make (or more likely, have their outsourced chip vendor make), so it's basically just a random picture of some chips a random customer of theirs commissioned.

The same picture has been used by various Alibaba vendors, which is a common practice. They'll take pictures of any poker chips from any source and use them as examples of what they can make (which often is not accurate). Some PCF members have even had pictures of their own customs show up on Alibaba.

So, basically - any ceramic vendor could make these, given the artwork, but there's no telling who made the artwork. If you want something similar you could do it yourself if you're handy with graphics design software, or you could engage one of the several graphic designers who hang around PCF and have them make a design like that for you, and then have ABC or SunFly use the design to print your chips.
 
Top Bottom