Different Types of Poker Chips - for Beginners / New Members (2 Viewers)

davesilver88

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Hello, this is David. The purpose of this post is to help new members / beginners understand the different popular types of chips. They will be ordered by price, I will give some facts information about them, and maybe a tad of my opinion of them.

NOTE - I've made some edits with crossing out original post and using italics for new info.

1. Dice Chips - these are the chips you find when you go to Target / Walmart / buy the essentially the most inexpensive chip available. It's likely that most of younger / middle aged people here started with these chips. They are plastic, and have a "metal slug" inside them to give them the weight. They are durable and will with stand a beating. The Pro - they are VERY affordable, for $40-$50 dollars you can get an entire set of 400-500 chips. The Con - they do not have denominations on them. If you don't know this, you will learn it soon enough, having denominations on your chips is ALMOST an objective MUST HAVE for poker chips. All of the rest will have denominations on them.

2. More Metal Slug Chips - these are essentially one / two steps up from the dice chips for a couple reasons. Reason 1 - they have denominations on them. Reason 2 - they have cool designs on them. They are still plastic and still weighed down by a metal slug inside. Some of examples of these sets are Casino Royale and Monte Carlo. They remain inexpensive, about $0.20 a chip. So for $120+ you can get a 600 chip set and fully support one table. NOTE - I do not see these being resold on the site very often, probably because they are not expensive, and for what it would costed being shipped, wouldn't be worth selling via mail.

The next two, matter of opinion, of where they rank as far as the "better" chip. They can be priced similarly. Both are certainly a step up from the first two chip types.

3. China Clays - these are not the easiest to describe. They are kind of like a soft plastic with the attempt of feeling like clay; they definitely don't feel as hard as the first two types. They will also typically have a mold, which is a plus. Another difference, their inlay is not injected into the chip, it's a sticker. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, most of the time the stickers stay on just find. Also, you COULD remove the sticker and put on your own custom sticker. Two cons. One - they have a smell to them. I personally have had two cauterizations in my nose, so I essentially do not have a sense of smell. When I hold the chips up to my nose, I can smell them. When they are on the table, I cannot smell them. The smell is like a plastic type smell, but again my nose is terrible so sorry I can't describe it further. Second con - they won't last a life time. Now, they'll be able to take the regular poker table shuffling about, but they wouldn't be able to take more. And from what I hear, overtime, they become more brittle (years to reach that point). These also go up in price, more than double the cost of the second type. Examples of these chips are Majestic and Dunes. These are about $0.50 per chip. Personally, I don't like these that much - I feel like for this price range the 4th type of chip is best.

4. Tina Ceramic Chips - these have become very popular among this community. They are a hard plastic, so they are tough. They do not have a sticker inlay, they have the plastic injection. They have different "molds" if you will, card mold being the most popular, but the new Greek hybrid mold is looking to surpass that. The inlay will depend on the mold; most inlays / edge spots / rolling edges - the design is printed on the surface of the chip. some molds have a plastic injection inlay, other molds have a sticker where the "inlay section" is slightly recessed to make room for the sticker. There are a ton of options / tribute sets to choose from if you order from Justin via PCF, and you can also customize them to your own liking. Of all the chip types, these would be the chip type I recommend for people who have a budget of a few hundred dollars. They range from $0.40 to $0.50 per chip depending on where you buy them from. The con - they will have some "spinners" in them.

5. Thicker "Denser" Ceramic Chip - specifically I'm referencing BR Pro Poker's offerings. These feel like a denser ceramic, hard plastic. Comparing the feel, weight, the look, of these to Tina Ceramic, I think most people who say these chips are better. And I would agree, these denser ceramic chips are pretty awesome for the price point. Not many cons to them. Some not so obvious pros - you can also work with the company to customize your own chip. You can also work with them to "semi" customize one of their stock offerings, which I think is very cool. Example - you could change their "Golden Dragon" set to read "Silver Dragon" instead. They also have a large number of stock offerings. They are about $0.70 per chip, plus or minus $0.10 depending on how much you buy. If you have the budget for these, and really are in love with one of the designs, I would say you should just get these over type 4. NOTE - these are casino grade chips, used in casinos (not clay though).

6. Classic Poker Chips - yes, we have made the monster jump from ceramic chips to clay chips. These chips are awesome! They have a handful of stock designs, most notably the Rounders chips from the movie Rounders. Pro's - they are a "clay" chip (not 100%, no chip is these days, but they are "clay" chips). More pro - these are the only "true inlay" of all the types. Meaning, their inlay is not a sticker or injected into plastic. The inlay is compressed into the chip during the manufacturing process. They have a couple of handfuls of molds to choose from, they have 30+ different colors, and maybe in the range of 100+ edge spot options. The different combinations you could have are very high. The con - they are expensive, stock designs are $2+ per chip. If you have these in your budget, I would recommend these above all the others.

Bonus Type, Paulsons. Paulson is a company that produces casino grade "clay" chips to what seems to be the majority of the casinos in North America. You will see THC all over this website (Top Hat and Cane), which refers to their mold. There are other molds Paulson will make too, like RHC or a casinos house mold. You cannot buy these chips new; you can get them used. People here love to collect casino chips, or build sets from real casinos using their real casino chips. Also, people often mill these chips and create their own custom inlay/hot stamp - making sort of a hybrid paulson custom chip. Paulson chips are probably the most popular chip being sold / bought / traded on this website.

And there we have it, 6 different types plus a bonus. Yes, there are more types (Matsui, Bud Jones, etc.), but I haven't handled them / they don't seem to be as popular as the types I've mentioned above. If you feel otherwise, please comment below and correct me, and maybe I will adjust my original post. I know I'm missing some that are probably popular enough to be included.

Key takeaway - know what your budget is and get some samples of types around your budget.

Hope this was helpful. Again, any suggestions / additional info regarding chip types please share.
 
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I would adapt #4 to say that Tina ceramics DO have a sticker label, but for her hybrids only. Also, spinners are more common on cards mold and no mold, but NOT on the hybrids, as the center is recessed and there's no chip-to-chip contact for it to spin.
 
Hello, this is David. The purpose of this post is to help new members / beginners understand the different popular types of chips. They will be ordered by price, I will give some facts about them, and maybe a tad of my opinion of them.

1. Dice Chips - these are the chips you find when you go to Target / Walmart / buy the essentially the most inexpensive chip available. It's likely that most of younger / middle aged people here started with these chips. They are plastic, and have a "metal slug" inside them to give them the weight. They are durable and will with stand a beating. The Pro - they are VERY affordable, for $40-$50 dollars you can get an entire set of 400-500 chips. The Con - they do not have denominations on them. If you don't know this, you will learn it soon enough, having denominations on your chips is ALMOST an objective MUST HAVE for poker chips. All of the rest will have denominations on them.

2. More Metal Slug Chips - these are essentially one / two steps up from the dice chips for a couple reasons. Reason 1 - they have denominations on them. Reason 2 - they have cool designs on them. They are still plastic and still weighed down by a metal slug inside. Some of examples of these sets are Casino Royale and Monte Carlo. They remain inexpensive, about $0.20 a chip. So for $120+ you can get a 600 chip set and fully support one table. NOTE - I do not see these being resold on the site very often, probably because they are not expensive, and for what it would costed being shipped, wouldn't be worth selling via mail.

The next two, matter of opinion, of where they rank as far as the "better" chip. They can be priced similarly. Both are certainly a step up from the first two chip types.

3. China Clays - these are not the easiest to describe. They are kind of like a soft plastic with the attempt of feeling like clay; they definitely don't feel as hard as the first two types. They will also typically have a mold, which is a plus. Another difference, their inlay is not injected into the chip, it's a sticker. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, most of the time the stickers stay on just find. Also, you COULD remove the sticker and put on your own custom sticker. Two cons. One - they have a smell to them. I personally have had two cauterizations in my nose, so I essentially do not have a sense of smell. When I hold the chips up to my nose, I can smell them. When they are on the table, I cannot smell them. The smell is like a plastic type smell, but again my nose is terrible so sorry I can't describe it further. Second con - they won't last a life time. Now, they'll be able to take the regular poker table shuffling about, but they wouldn't be able to take more. And from what I hear, overtime, they become more brittle (years to reach that point). These also go up in price, more than double the cost of the second type. Examples of these chips are Majestic and Dunes. These are about $0.50 per chip. Personally, I don't like these that much - I feel like for this price range the 4th type of chip is best.

4. Tina Ceramic Chips - these have become very popular among this community. They are a hard plastic, so they are tough. They do not have a sticker inlay, they have the plastic injection. They have different "molds" if you will, card mold being the most popular, but the new Greek hybrid mold is looking to surpass that. There are a ton of options / tribute sets to choose from if you order from Justin via PCF, and you can also customize them to your own liking. Of all the chip types, these would be the chip type I recommend for people who have a budget of a few hundred dollars. They range from $0.40 to $0.50 per chip depending on where you buy them from. The con - they will have some "spinners" in them.

5. Thicker Ceramic Chip - specifically I'm referencing BR Pro Poker's offerings. These are a thicker ceramic, hard plastic. Comparing the feel, weight, the look, of these to Tina Ceramic, I think most people who say these chips are better. And I would agree, these thicker ceramic chips are pretty awesome for the price point. Not many cons to them. Some not so obvious pros - you can also work with the company to customize your own chip. You can also work with them to "semi" customize one of their stock offerings, which I think is very cool. Example - you could change their "Golden Dragon" set to read "Silver Dragon" instead. They also have a large number of stock offerings. They are about $0.70 per chip, plus or minus $0.10 depending on how much you buy. If you have the budget for these, and really are in love with one of the designs, I would say you should just get these over type 4. NOTE - these are casino grade chips, used in casinos (not clay though).

6. Classic Poker Chips - yes, we have made the monster jump from ceramic chips to clay chips. These chips are awesome! They have a handful of stock designs, most notably the Rounders chips from the movie Rounders. Pro's - they are a "clay" chip (not 100%, no chip is these days, but they are "clay" chips). More pro - these are the only "true inlay" of all the types. Meaning, their inlay is not a sticker or injected into plastic. The inlay is compressed into the chip during the manufacturing process. They have a couple of handfuls of molds to choose from, they have 30+ different colors, and maybe in the range of 100+ edge spot options. The different combinations you could have are very high. The con - they are expensive, stock designs are $2+ per chip. If you have these in your budget, I would recommend these above all the others.

And there we have it, 6 different types. Yes, there are more types, but I haven't handled them / they don't seem to be as popular as the types I've mentioned above. If you feel otherwise, please comment below and correct me, and maybe I will adjust my original post. I know I'm missing some that are probably popular enough to be included.

Key takeaway - know what your budget is and get some samples of types around your budget.

Hope this was helpful. Again, any suggestions / additional info regarding chip types please share.
Are you sure 5 is thicker than 4? Do they weigh more?
 
You left out the caviar of chips - Paulson. Perhaps the most coveted by members here and used by most North American Casinos.
 
Regarding thickness, I wouldn’t classify BRPro as a “thicker” ceramic…granted, they stand a hair higher than Tina’s no-molds, but it’s very, very close.
In fact, most BRPro, Tina, Paulson and CPC are fairly close in height, but some racks with small tolerances can be problematic between the brands.
The following photo is for comparison. From left to right: BRPro ceramic, Tina no-mold ceramic, Tina Greek hybrid ceramic, Paulson clay, CPC clay.
IMG_5325.jpeg
 
I would adapt #4 to say that Tina ceramics DO have a sticker label, but for her hybrids only. Also, spinners are more common on cards mold and no mold, but NOT on the hybrids, as the center is recessed and there's no chip-to-chip contact for it to spin.
Good point, thanks! I will update my post.
 
Regarding thickness, I wouldn’t classify BRPro as a “thicker” ceramic…granted, they stand a hair higher than Tina’s no-molds, but it’s very, very close.
In fact, most BRPro, Tina, Paulson and CPC are fairly close in height, but some racks with small tolerances can be problematic between the brands.
The following photo is for comparison. From left to right: BRPro ceramic, Tina no-mold ceramic, Tina Greek hybrid ceramic, Paulson clay, CPC clay.
View attachment 1260749
Wow great pic. Thanks for the info. I should update to something like “more dense” vs thicker. And I’m not sure if they are more dense, but something about them feel’s more sturdy.
 
All ceramic chips -- either low-cost (Tina from
China) or high-end (BRPro or Sunfly) come in three basic types (all 'ceramic' blank chips are very-high-density injection-molded plastic, typically a nylon blend):

~ printed no-mold: images are dye-sublimation printed onto the flat chip faces and rolling edge. Ceramic chip blanks are either smooth, textured, or have a 'linen' finish.

~ printed debossed mold: images are dye-sub printed onto the debossed mold faces and rolling edge (various available mold images include cards, diamonds, swirls, inner and outer rings, etc.). Some of the debossed base chip images may make the final printed product appear to contain a separate center label or inlay, but it is actually just a printed chip.

~ printed and labeled 'hybrids': the blank chips contain a recessed center area that contains a printed adhesive-backed label (sticker) while the rest of the chip faces and rolling edge are dye-sub printed. Some hybrid chips have debossed mold images (greek key, scrowns, web, etc.), while others have plain no-mold-image surfaces.

Hybrid ceramics are available in different overall diameters (39mm, 43mm) and with different diameter recesses (24mm, 25mm, 28mm). Common diameters for non-hybrid ceramics are 39mm, 43mm, and 47mm, along with octagon shapes and larger rectangular plaques. Nearly all are 3.3mm thick.

3. China Clays - They are kind of like a soft plastic with the attempt of feeling like clay; they definitely don't feel as hard as the first two types. ................ their inlay is not injected into the chip, it's a sticker.

4. Tina Ceramic Chips - The inlay will depend on the mold, some molds have a plastic injection inlay, other molds have a sticker.

China clay chips are injection-molded plastic material that contains silica/chalk-type additives (and no metal slug insert), with a printed laminated adhesive-backed label pressed into a molded recess.

As stated above, all ceramic chips are dye-sublimation printed, while hybrid ceramics are both dye-sub printed and contain a separately printed label placed in a recessed mold depression.

There is no such thing as a "plastic injection inlay", in any type of chip.
 
What about the Matsui / Bud Jones style chips!?


Borgata uses Bud Jones I believe, and it's my favorite casinos chips to handle of all time. Maybe because it's so unique since the majority use Paulsons in this area
 
In the Paulson section, just note that not all Paulsons are THCs.

Indeed most of what its parent GPI now produces for casinos are RHCs.

Also, in the past Paulson produced more limited quantities of some other molds (suits molds for example) for the home market. (Any casinos ever use these? I don’t think so but am not that sure.)
 
All ceramic chips -- either low-cost (Tina from
China) or high-end (BRPro or Sunfly) come in three basic types (all 'ceramic' blank chips are very-high-density injection-molded plastic, typically a nylon blend):

~ printed no-mold: images are dye-sublimation printed onto the flat chip faces and rolling edge. Ceramic chip blanks are either smooth, textured, or have a 'linen' finish.

~ printed debossed mold: images are dye-sub printed onto the debossed mold faces and rolling edge (various available mold images include cards, diamonds, swirls, inner and outer rings, etc.). Some of the debossed base chip images may make the final printed product appear to contain a separate center label or inlay, but it is actually just a printed chip.

~ printed and labeled 'hybrids': the blank chips contain a recessed center area that contains a printed adhesive-backed label (sticker) while the rest of the chip faces and rolling edge are dye-sub printed. Some hybrid chips have debossed mold images (greek key, scrowns, web, etc.), while others have plain no-mold-image surfaces.

Hybrid ceramics are available in different overall diameters (39mm, 43mm) and with different diameter recesses (24mm, 25mm, 28mm). Common diameters for non-hybrid ceramics are 39mm, 43mm, and 47mm, along with octagon shapes and larger rectangular plaques. Nearly all are 3.3mm thick.



China clay chips are injection-molded plastic material that contains silica/chalk-type additives (and no metal slug insert), with a printed laminated adhesive-backed label pressed into a molded recess.

As stated above, all ceramic chips are dye-sublimation printed, while hybrid ceramics are both dye-sub printed and contain a separately printed label placed in a recessed mold depression.

There is no such thing as a "plastic injection inlay", in any type of chip.
Thanks for all this info! I will be updating my original post to include all of this. Thanks again.
 
What about the Matsui / Bud Jones style chips!?


Borgata uses Bud Jones I believe, and it's my favorite casinos chips to handle of all time. Maybe because it's so unique since the majority use Paulsons in this area
Yea I will one day have to get some sample sets of those so I can update my original post. I could be wrong, but it seems like Matsui / Bud Jones are not quite as popular as the others. This is just from my subjective observations - I wonder if there is someway we could pull some raw data from the classified section, very very doubtful.
 
Thanks for the write up! Re CC “breaking down”. I’ve heard this with older CC, but I’ve also seen reports of this being a non issue with older CC. And I’m not sure new CC are susceptible to this at all. A blanket statement “they won’t last a lifetime” is probably not the case on newer production CC methods, unless you’ve seen the royals experience some breakdown for example.

I’ve seen edges wear off in ceramics erasing the print extending up on the edges of the face, does this count as “not lasting a lifetime”? You have a clear bias in your writing, just sayin’… If your post is strictly informational, I would suggest sifting through your content to better remove your bias and present pros and cons equally for all categories. The majority of the write up for CC is cons, there is one sentence of a con for Tina, just a small example here.
 
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You might want to note why the Tinas are called Tinas. I don't see/hear this reference anywhere else but here. For example, Hobbyphilic doesn't use this reference.
Great post.
 
curious where your evidence is that “they won’t last a lifetime” on newer production CC methods.
Member reviews and usage, its a little subjective, but it is the consensus, I'm sure the OP is fine with Argumentum ad populum.

I'm a prescriptivist too, Welcome ;)
You have a clear bias in your writing
He explained his bias, in show business I think this is called 'Hanging a Lantern'. Even in bias there are 'facts information' to be had.

They also say a picture is worth a 1000 words, I say it depends on the value of those words :ROFL: :ROFLMAO: - seriously maybe examples of each type of chips would be helpful, feel free steal my photos out of signature link 'Icarus', I can help with BR Pro and Paulsons
 
Ya I’ve also seen member reviews on CC breaking down, but those are CCs from 2015 or something like that, is that really all that applicable to current CC production? Who knows, but using information that is almost 10 years old is a little sus.

I also saw at the same time a member saying his CC has been in play multiple times a week since the same era and he has no issues… and honestly, if China ceramics are susceptible to print fading on edges/face after years of use, then that is the same to me as a fail.

Seems like the only way to go is Paulsons :)
 
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