Clay vs. Composite - Which is best for frequent home-game use? (1 Viewer)

Talrem

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Hey everyone!
I‘m a new member to this site but I’ve been playing poker/cards for about 30 years now. Once I turned 21, I hit my first casino. Ever since that time my interest in the game has only increased, especially with the introduction of casino-quality poker chips to home games. I’ve been to many tournaments over the years - fundraiser and private events - and the style/quality of the poker chips varied greatly. I’ve seen many of the common chips like the dice or super diamonds mostly in use, but on some occasions I’ve held amazing clay/composite chips in my hand. The
 

RichMahogany

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Get samples and decide what’s best for you. However, doubt many members here would say that composite chips are better than clay chips for any game, home or casino
 

TX_Golf_N_Poker

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Hey everyone!
I‘m a new member to this site but I’ve been playing poker/cards for about 30 years now. Once I turned 21, I hit my first casino. Ever since that time my interest in the game has only increased, especially with the introduction of casino-quality poker chips to home games. I’ve been to many tournaments over the years - fundraiser and private events - and the style/quality of the poker chips varied greatly. I’ve seen many of the common chips like the dice or super diamonds mostly in use, but on some occasions I’ve held amazing clay/composite chips in my hand. The
It seems like you didn't finish your post. What chips are you wanting to compare? Composite is a very vague word and clay is misused by many sellers of cheaper quality chips that want you to think they are made of the same material as real compressed clay chips like those from Paulson, CPC, and the older chip makers that are no longer in business.
 

wolfpack

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the correct answer is always compression molded

hsifrontangle.jpg
 

Talrem

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It seems like you didn't finish your post. What chips are you wanting to compare? Composite is a very vague word and clay is misused by many sellers of cheaper quality chips that want you to think they are made of the same material as real compressed clay chips like those from Paulson, CPC, and the older chip makers that are no longer in business.
The comparison between the higher-end real clay chips to the composite chips which simulate the real clay feel and sound.
I am familiar with Paulson, CPC, Blue Chip Co., etc., but I‘m not familiar with the durability of the materials used in those chips. Nor am I familiar with the variant composite mixes.
Real clay chips transfer (mark) colors when they rub against each other with even a light pressure while composite chips need more force to do so (if they do at all), so there’s one kind of material difference - soft vs. hard.

I don’t know if there are clays which are more durable than other clays, which composites are more durable than other composites, and if the top clay vs. top composite is best.

I just wanted to know if there was ever a study of quality/integrity through testing done on chip substances with a subsequent comparison between clay versus composite.
...or if anyone here has had an extensive collection of both chip types and has learned from experience.
 

Talrem

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I like the edge spots, also the complimentary colors on the .25s!

the correct answer is always compression molded

View attachment 708133
Those are the Horseshoes, right? I was considering those many years ago. Awesome set!

Use what you like and can afford. The breadth of choice will be determined by those factors.
I always wanted the Paulson Pharaohs. The sample set I got had me one breath away from buying a 1000 tourney set. Alas I never did, and now I’d have to pay a king’s ransom to own a 500 set. I‘ve seen some cheapo chips with nicer aesthetics than some top-line chips, but the feel and sound didn‘t seem right to me.
 

TX_Golf_N_Poker

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The comparison between the higher-end real clay chips to the composite chips which simulate the real clay feel and sound.
I am familiar with Paulson, CPC, Blue Chip Co., etc., but I‘m not familiar with the durability of the materials used in those chips. Nor am I familiar with the variant composite mixes.
Real clay chips transfer (mark) colors when they rub against each other with even a light pressure while composite chips need more force to do so (if they do at all), so there’s one kind of material difference - soft vs. hard.

I don’t know if there are clays which are more durable than other clays, which composites are more durable than other composites, and if the top clay vs. top composite is best.

I just wanted to know if there was ever a study of quality/integrity through testing done on chip substances with a subsequent comparison between clay versus composite.
...or if anyone here has had an extensive collection of both chip types and has learned from experience.
I've never noticed the color transfer issue you speak of, but then I've never looked for it or never tried to do it. And I don't recall ever reading about it here on the forum. So I'll leave any commentary on that subject to others.

Regarding chip preferences, I'm in the minority here in that I do not yet have a playable set of real clay chips. I have a few racks of Paulsons, and some barrels of CPCs and BCCs. The BCC chips with the cigar & snifter mold are probably my favorites, but very difficult to find in decent quantities. I'm currently in the process of assembling a small (600 chip) Paulson THC micro stakes cash set. I have my fives and nickels, I'm going to buy Jack Cinci $1s, and I'm still trying to determine what to buy for quarters and $20s. Don't need anything bigger for my micro stakes games.

What I do have a lot of is ceramic cards mold chips - the ones in the photo that @SeanGecko posted. And china clay (clay composite?) chips. The china clay description is what we use around here for the composite chips that do not have metal inserts, somewhat emulate compressed clay chips in look and feel, and usually weigh about 8-10 grams each, similar to the compressed clay chips. The other category of composite chips are the "sluggos" or chips with a metal slug that weigh between 12-15 grams. These are typically the bottom of the rung around here, although some of them have good design, a decent feel and are somewhat better than others. These can make a great entry level set for someone on a strict budget, and are certainly nicer looking to most of us than dice chips and a lot of the other cheaper department store types that are usually sold in a 500 / 600 / 1000 chip sets with an aluminum case, a couple decks of paper cards and maybe some dice.

My personal favorite of the china clays are the PGI 8Vs, which are no longer in production. I'll post a photo at the bottom. Other popular designs that are still in production and easy to locate in quantity are the Majestics, Dunes, Pharaohs, Milanos and a few others in 39mm size, plus the 43mm Royals. These are all available at retail from Apache and used here on the forum in the classifieds. Some of the older china clays had issues with drying out, crumbling and breaking easily, but all these I mentioned are thought to be pretty durable as far as I know. I can definitely attest to the 8Vs which are solid as tanks and take a LOT of abuse before they show any wear at all.

As far as the durability of compressed clay, I feel like it's got to be pretty good, given that the casinos use them on a daily basis for years at a time. They do show wear and the sharp corners round off after a LOT of play, but for a home game I can't imagine ever wearing out a set, especially if you start with EX/NrMint chips or better. I'm buying good condition casino used for my set because I like the feel of a broken in clay chip, and they are less expensive than the mint condition ones. I'm still expecting to get a lifetime of use out of them.

I didn't even get to address the other types of chips such as high end plastics, casino grade ceramics and hybrid chips. I suspect that any or all of them are not going to present a durability issue to anyone hosting home games a few times a month, or even more often. For that reason, I wouldn't be surprised if no one has ever thought to do a durability study comparing the various materials used in chip composition. Trial and error over the years has resulted in a number of different materials that all seem to function very well for a long period of time, in both casinos and for home use. As for me, I pick the ones I like the most esthetically, and don't worry at all about durability.

Here are a couple pics of those 8Vs I was telling you about that I feel are the cream of the china clay crop - if you can find enough of them. Those of us who like them, tend to hang on to them.

269 PGI 8V chips from MarquetteMonkey.jpeg


20201126_220254 (1).jpg
 

CrazyEddie

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"Composite" is a terrible term to use; it basically doesn't mean anything. Almost all chips are made out of plastic, including "clay" and "ceramic" chips, and almost all chips are a composite of various plastics plus other materials.

Around here, what we call clay chips are compression-molded chips made using materials and methods similar to those that were used for the vast majority of casino chips during the twentieth century. What other people call "clay" or "clay composite" is usually meaningless, and most often just indicates plain injection-molded metal-slugged plastic chips of no particular interest or value.

Rather than speaking of clay vs. composite, we generally categorize chips as follows:
  • Clay
  • Ceramic
  • Casino-grade plastic
  • Mass-market plastic
  • China clay
All of these are made out of some variety of plastic (with some exceptions) and include some variety of additives. That said, there is a wide variety of plastics available, and the materials that each different chip is made out of varies tremendously. So when you ask about, for example, the relative durability of different chips, you have to get pretty specific.

For example, it's generally regarded that CPC chips are more durable than Paulsons, even though both are "clay". China clays vary considerably; earlier generations such as Spirit Molds are very fragile, while more recent generations such as Majestics are very durable. Ceramic chips are widely considered extremely durable. Both casino-grade and mass-market plastic chips are very durable, and the very epitome of mass-market chips, the venerable and disdained dice chips, may be among the most durable chips ever made.

But @TX_Golf_N_Poker is spot-on in saying that in most cases durability will not be an issue with any chip used in home games. Paulsons used in home games may eventually acquire small chips on the edges if they're heavily used and roughly treated. But for the most part, most chips in most people's home games will barely show any wear beyond what they had when first acquired.

Welcome to the forum!
 

wolfpack

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Those are the Horseshoes, right? I was considering those many years ago. Awesome set!
They are the Horseshoe southern indiana chips. except the quarters those were sheraton roulettes that I relabeled
 

Taghkanic

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How frequent is “frequent”?

Compared to casino use, home games put relatively little wear on clays AFAICS. I couldn’t detect any noticeable degradation on a set of THC solid starbursts I used for about 4 years for a twice-monthly tournament (before switching to a spotted set).

That was about 100 games, averaging about 3.5 hours total = max 3,500 hours. Less, really, since not all colors are in play throughout the tourney. Let’s say 2,400 hours on each color, which is still high, just to make the math simpler.

If a chip is in play an average of 12 hours a day at a casino (obv. not all chips are used at all times), over 4 years my tourney set got the equivalent of 200 days of casino usage.

So based on all that I’d guesstimate that if you run a couple games a month, Paulsons will last maybe 7 times longer than they would in a casino. (That actually sounds low to me.)

Note also that THCs are considered more durable than RHCs by many here. I’ve also used RHCs and PCRs (suits molds) and occasionally vintage ASMs / HCE H-molds in my games. I don’t have issues with wear.

Overall I’d say the old H-molds seem the hardest of the bunch — almost no breakdown at all, and these have had multiple owners. Not sure if the current CPC formula is identical.

Bottom line: unless you’re hosting more than one game per week, I’d expect any Paulsons to hold up for many years. And even then, that they would still play well. Some people I guess even prefer the wear (shuffles easier etc.).
 

Taghkanic

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P.S. I have had no issues with color transfer on any of my various Paulsons/ASMs. Maybe if they are stored in hot/humid conditions or are handled really roughly. (Of course I’m not doing casino rack checks, say dragging a red chip over the edges of a rack of whites, on my home chips.)
 

Talrem

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How frequent is “frequent”?

Compared to casino use, home games put relatively little wear on clays AFAICS. I couldn’t detect any noticeable degradation on a set of THC solid starbursts I used for about 4 years for a twice-monthly tournament (before switching to a spotted set).

That was about 100 games, averaging about 3.5 hours total = max 3,500 hours. Less, really, since not all colors are in play throughout the tourney. Let’s say 2,400 hours on each color, which is still high, just to make the math simpler.

If a chip is in play an average of 12 hours a day at a casino (obv. not all chips are used at all times), over 4 years my tourney set got the equivalent of 200 days of casino usage.

So based on all that I’d guesstimate that if you run a couple games a month, Paulsons will last maybe 7 times longer than they would in a casino. (That actually sounds low to me.)

Note also that THCs are considered more durable than RHCs by many here. I’ve also used RHCs and PCRs (suits molds) and occasionally vintage ASMs / HCE H-molds in my games. I don’t have issues with wear.

Overall I’d say the old H-molds seem the hardest of the bunch — almost no breakdown at all, and these have had multiple owners. Not sure if the current CPC formula is identical.

Bottom line: unless you’re hosting more than one game per week, I’d expect any Paulsons to hold up for many years. And even then, that they would still play well. Some people I guess even prefer the wear (shuffles easier etc.).
My games would be about 1-2 per week, not anywhere as frequent as I may have made it out to be. But each game could run anywhere from 4-8 hours with continuous play. Then I’m sure any set I choose to buy would not go through serious wear.
Thanks!
 

Nanook

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My games would be about 1-2 per week, not anywhere as frequent as I may have made it out to be. But each game could run anywhere from 4-8 hours with continuous play. Then I’m sure any set I choose to buy would not go through serious wear.
Thanks!
If you used Paulsons 1 or 2 times per week you probably could use them for like 100 yrs without seeing any change.

Whatever.... In a Casino/Cardroom it takes at least 5+ years for them to show considerable wear. I would estimate that in a home game environment they are probably seeing no more than 1/20th the play as they would in a Card Room. Honestly, for all practical purposes it makes 0 differnce.

Buy what you can afford and what you like. Do not spend even 1 second considering how long they will last as it is just not an issue.
 

Nanook

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........
Real clay chips transfer (mark) colors when they rub against each other with even a light pressure while composite chips need more force to do so (if they do at all), so there’s one kind of material difference - soft vs. hard.......

This color transfer thing is mostly a non issue as well. It can happen and might actually happen more with some colors, but honestly who even cares? If your chips ever get to the point that they look dirty or like another color has rubbed off on them, just clean them.

Same as chips wearing out in a home game environment they will take quite a while to look dirty in that same home game environment.
 

philhut

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This color transfer thing is mostly a non issue as well. It can happen and might actually happen more with some colors, but honestly who even cares? If your chips ever get to the point that they look dirty or like another color has rubbed off on them, just clean them.

Same as chips wearing out in a home game environment they will take quite a while to look dirty in that same home game environment.
The white $1 Pharaoh's i had would mark with the 25c and $5 chips if rubbed against each other. They were all new when i got them so were quite chaulky and they could easily pick up the other colours. That was the only real flaw of that whole set and to be fair they were bright white. Most new white colour chips will show colour transfer, dirty hand gunk etc fairly quickly.
 

Nanook

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The white $1 Pharaoh's i had would mark with the 25c and $5 chips if rubbed against each other. They were all new when i got them so were quite chaulky and they could easily pick up the other colours. That was the only real flaw of that whole set and to be fair they were bright white. Most new white colour chips will show colour transfer, dirty hand gunk etc fairly quickly.
What's are the worst
 

Percy7

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Echoing what a lot have said already. Take your time. Get samples Find what you like with respect to budget and don’t worry about wear and tear on a relatively low use item.
That said Paulsons are clearly the only way to go
 
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