First Chip Set Decision Guide: Review of Royals, Nile Clubs, Pharaoh's, and Dunes (CC and Ceramic)

marshboi

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Hi all!

I recently bought sample sets from Apache Poker Chips and wanted to post a review and pictures. The purpose of this post is to help those who are new to poker chips decide on their first set.

A little about me: I have recently gotten into poker because it is a great way to get my friends together, have some beer, and catch up on life. I have been on the market to find my first set of poker chips. I want to have a set that I enjoy looking at and playing with and looking at.

TLDR: order samples of your favorite chips and then carry them around for a few days. The ones you pick up the most are the chips you should purchase. If you don’t want to buy sample sets, then I hope this post helps! Also, know your denomination breakdown before buying.

My deciding factors (yours may be different):

1. Design – The more unique that each chip is within the set, the better. I love when each denomination has a unique design (think Nile Club, Pharaoh’s, Tiki King, and Dia de los Muertos DDLM). I didn’t even order a sample set that didn’t have progressive edge designs (think Majestics - the color patterns on the edges don’t vary from chip to chip).

2. Feel – Texture, weight, and sound were all important variables for me. This is something you can only understand if you handle them. Ceramics are smooth while clay chips are rougher and more textured.

3. Denominations – I want to play small stakes or micro stakes cash games (think $10 buy in) and would prefer if the denominations directly correlate to how much money I actually buy in with. For example, I would prefer a chip breakdown of 5c/25c/$1/$5 instead of $5/$25/$100… To me, this makes the game more “real” when you bet a chip. If you are playing tournament poker, this might not be a factor. Let’s say you want to play with $5/$25/$100/$500 but you like the $1000 chip more than the $100. You could theoretically substitute the $1000 for the $100, but players might get confused. Regardless, I am too OCD to do this.

4. Color spectrum of the denominations that you want – when you buy a chip set, you are only going to purchase 4 or 5 denominations (at least to start out with). Because of this, it is important to choose a set based on the the denominations that you want to play with. For example, you might like the colors and edge patterns in set A more, but set B might have the colors/edge patterns in your preferred denominations. If you want to play 5c/25c/$1/$5, you might never use the $25+ chips.

Here is a good thread to help: https://www.pokerchipforum.com/threads/looking-for-guidance-on-my-micro-stakes-chip-breakdown.57181/
Another chip breakdown resource:
^^ this is really important to figure out BEFORE buying.

So I decided to order Royals (cc), Nile Clubs (ceramic), Dunes (cc), and Pharaoh’s (cc) (pictured below).


Now for the review:

Royals – I loved the bright neon colors- they “pop”. They looked the most like actual casino chips, and they have progressive edge designs I liked how the inlay doesn’t swallow up all the color of the chip like the Dunes and Pharaoh’s. These are oversized 43mm chips and feel amazing. The edges are nice and square. The quality is perfect on these! These are definitely the best quality and feel out of all of the chips.

Nile Clubs – I almost bought this set without ordering samples. I LOVE the fun characters on each one – each chip is unique (big plus for me). These are “ceramic chips” which is basically a hard plastic. They are very smooth and have the same weight as all of the other 39mm chips. They don’t have progressive edge designs, but they make up for that with their fun colors. Unfortunately, some of the chips have blurry, fuzzy, or faded graphics (like when your printer goes out of ink and your camera couldn’t focus). The edge spots don’t match up well (pictured below) but that’s not too big of a deal for me. The edges are nice an square.

Dunes – These chips are fantastic quality. Similar to the Royals, they feel really good and the colors are very precise (edge spots match up on both sides). Their overall color scheme is a bit more pastel-like. Their colors aren’t “poppy” like the royals. I like the Dunes logo and that it doesn’t leave a lot of white space. I do wish the label was a little smaller so that you can see more of the actual chip color. The edges have small an symmetric bezels, making them appear skinnier.

Pharaoh’s – Similar to the Nile Clubs, these chips have unique Egyptian symbols on each one (super cool). Similar to the Dunes, their label takes up a lot of the chips color. This set has developing side patterns and some awesome colors. The edges are bezeled like the Dunes. I would prefer square edges but I can look past that. AND, drum roll please…. This set includes the 5 cent chip (hallelujah).


After considering all of these things, I will most likely order a Pharaoh’s set of 5c/25c/$1/$5. In the end, the Pharaoh’s offer unique Egyptian characters on each denomination, and they offer the 5c chip (which I happen to really like). One down side is that I will have two white chips out on the table (1c and $1), but I don’t think this will be too big of a problem since the 1c is creamy white and has dark edge spots. I am hoping to find some Pharaoh’s in the classifieds for a small-stakes cash set for around 4-8 people for $10 max buy-in in the following breakdown (suggestions welcome):

125 x 5c
200 x 25c
100 x $1
5 x $5

The Royals are awesome y’all. I can’t say enough good things about them. These chips are TOP NOTCH and if you like them, then you should pull the trigger. I haven’t handled Paulsons, but I would imagine that these chips are as close as you can get! I decided not to buy these now, but will re-consider in the future. These would be great for tournaments. In the end, I just liked the Pharaoh’s more, and I couldn’t find a denomination breakdown that I liked. If I ever get rich from smoking my friends in poker, I would order some custom labels.

Say what you will about ceramics but I really liked the Nile Clubs. I might even get a set of these one day, considering their designs are so fun. To me, they feel really nice. Their one flaw is the fuzzy printing of the chips and some of the ink was dull.

The Dunes are also great chips. I personally just like the pharaoh designs more, but if you like these, you can’t go wrong. I think they look the most like an actual casino. If you are trying to emulate a casino in your garage at poker night, these could be for you!

In the end, I would recommend all of these chips. You really can’t go wrong! Apache Poker Chips have great service and they ship fast- I highly recommend.

Comments welcomed!

Marsh
 

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allforcharity

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All chips are varying degrees of plastic. We separate them into material categories just to try to pool like with like.

Before making too many general statements about how these chips compare to higher end products, it would be best to get some in hand and do a true side-by-side comparison. Thankfully, there are avenues (and low-cost ones) that can help you do just that.
 

Eriks

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Great post! Royals are really nice for sure. I would get samples of some paulsons as well though before pulling the trigger. Chances are you will move in that direction eventually anyway, unless you buy the Royals and delete your pcf account :)
 

marshboi

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Here’s the final decision. Decided to go with bight denoms because I prefer the colors. I’ll still play micro stakes by doing $5=5¢, $25=25¢, $100=$1, etc. super happy with these!
 

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Nanook

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Hi all! I recently bought sample sets from Apache Poker Chips and wanted to post a review and pictures. The purpose of this post is to help those who are new to poker chips decide on their first set....
Nice post. I'm sure some of the newer members appreciate posts like this
.
TLDR: order samples of your favorite chips and then carry them around for a few days. The ones you pick up the most are the chips you should purchase. If you don’t want to buy sample sets, then I hope this post helps! Also, know your denomination breakdown before buying.

My deciding factors (yours may be different):
..........
2. Feel – Texture, weight, and sound were all important variables for me. This is something you can only understand if you handle them. Ceramics are smooth while clay chips are rougher and more textured.
Of All the things you mention these are the reasons that you really have to handle different chips before you pull the trigger. You can only tell so much from pics.

So I decided to order Royals (cc), Nile Clubs (ceramic), Dunes (cc), and Pharaoh’s (cc) (pictured below).


Now for the review:

Royals – ......These are oversized 43mm
this is a deal killer for me

Nile Clubs – .....These are “ceramic chips” which is basically a hard plastic.....
Ceramic is completely different than other chips you are reviewing. Not necessarily in a good or bad way, just different.. for me ceramic is a deal killer for me

Dunes – These chips are fantastic quality. Similar to the Royals, they feel really good ......
Nice looking chips, but they imitate (not very well) a classic that is too well known. My opinion, I know..... not a fan mostly because of this. Dunes on the mold makes them look strange as a re-label too.

Pharaoh’s – Similar to the Nile Clubs, these chips have unique Egyptian symbols on each one (super cool)........
Not a fan of the mold just because if you go to re-label it's going to look strange

.....The Royals are awesome y’all. I can’t say enough good things about them. These chips are TOP NOTCH and if you like them, then you should pull the trigger. I haven’t handled Paulsons, but I would imagine that these chips are as close as you can get!
If you haven't handled Paulsons you really need to. Honestly there clearly is no comparison.

In the end, I would recommend all of these chips. You really can’t go wrong! Apache Poker Chips have great service and they ship fast- I highly recommend.

Comments welcomed!

Marsh
I would highly recommend handling some higher end Paulsons or other True compression molded chips 1st before spending any money on anything else.

I think the royals look amazing but I hate the fact they are oversized!!
This one fact alone kills them for me

Oh really?? One of my favorite things about them is that they feel more substantial when I hold them. I'm guessing casinos use 39mm? (I've never been)
Just about every US based card Room and Casino uses 39mm chips
 
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marshboi

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Nice post. I'm sure some of the newer members appreciate posts like this
.

Of All the things you mention these are the reasons that you really have to handle different chips before you pull the trigger. You can only tell so much from pics.

this is a deal killer for me


Ceramic is completely different than other chips you are reviewing. Not necessarily in a good or bad way, just different.. for me ceramic is a deal killer for me


Nice looking chips, but they imitate (not very well) a classic that is too well known. My opinion, I know..... not a fan mostly because of this. Dunes on the mold makes them look strange as a re-label too.

Not a fan of the mold just because if you go to re-label it's going to look strange


If you haven't handled Paulsons you really need to. Honestly there clearly is no comparison.


I would highly recommend handling some higher end Paulsons or other True compression molded chips 1st before spending any money on anything else.


This one fact alone kills them for me


Just about every US based card Room and Casino uses 39mm chips
Thank you for your in depth reply. This will help people new to chips. I would love paulsons one day, but as a 22 year old who is in grad school, I don’t want to want them for my own good so I haven’t even ordered a sample set. I definitely have a taste for quality things, so I’m sure they would be awesome. I probably also should have been more careful in comparing any of them to Paulson. Even though I love the royals, I think they would feel like plastic compared to Paulson from what I’m hearing people say.

I’m a huge fan of my pharaoh’s from @Jasap47 ! I got 600 of them for $140. Comprares to paulsons at $3 a chip, that’s a compromise I’m willing to make!

Hoping to get Paulsons with custom labels on them one day!
 

jr8719

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Here’s the final decision. Decided to go with bight denoms because I prefer the colors. I’ll still play micro stakes by doing $5=5¢, $25=25¢, $100=$1, etc. super happy with these!
Love these chips! Congrats on your new set — hope you get to enjoy them soon.
 

djfayze

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Great move with the Pharoahs! I've tried all of the Apache china clays and of the 39mm ones they feel the best to me. I own some of the royals because I wanted an oversized set for kicks, but I've been tempted to get a little Pharoah set as well. As a somewhat broke student too, I'd definitely say stay away from the Paulsons if you don't have self control - you will be blown away ha. I started on this forum like 4 months ago and am already 7 sets deep.
 

Nanook

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Thank you for your in depth reply. This will help people new to chips.
You are welcome. Glad to help...

I would love paulsons one day, but as a 22 year old who is in grad school, I don’t want to want them for my own good so I haven’t even ordered a sample set. I definitely have a taste for quality things, so I’m sure they would be awesome.
They are awesome, but for you I totally get it.


I probably also should have been more careful in comparing any of them to Paulson. Even though I love the royals, I think they would feel like plastic compared to Paulson from what I’m hearing people say.
. No big deal, you just have to know in a forum like this you will get pushback when you compare a 30c/chip favorably with chips that can cost 10x/chip or more.


. I’m a huge fan of my pharaoh’s from @Jasap47 ! I got 600 of them for $140. Comprares to paulsons at $3 a chip, that’s a compromise I’m willing to make!
seems like a very sensible decision for a young broke guy.

Hoping to get Paulsons with custom labels on them one day!
Personally I think this is an excellent value for the money choice. You have to be careful, but for roughly $1/chip you can build a set of RHC Paulsons. That set might actually be 3x nicer than the China clays, but I'm not buying into the idea that a set of THC's is 3x nicer than the $1/chip RHC's.

People can say what they want and everyone gets to have their own opinion, but that is mine. I have > 1000 RHC's, > 1000 TR Kings and > 1000 THC's + many, many smaller amounts of just about every chip ever made so I think I have at the very least an educated opinion
 

Darthhoodie

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@marshboi Glad to see your having fun with chips, to me thats what its all about. I am sure you will have a lot of good times with the chips you got, they look great. With your enthusiasm towards chips you seem like a likely candidate to own multiple sets. Good luck, the rabbit hole is deep my friend.
 

marshboi

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@marshboi Glad to see your having fun with chips, to me thats what its all about. I am sure you will have a lot of good times with the chips you got, they look great. With your enthusiasm towards chips you seem like a likely candidate to own multiple sets. Good luck, the rabbit hole is deep my friend.
I agree! Excited for these chips to see some action. Really they are just a way to bring your friends together right!?
And I'm resisting that slippery slope but I'm sure I'll get some paulsons one day. These will just have to suffice for now.
 

newtmitch

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Just a quick note here and a big nod to you @marshboi - this has been a really great thread for me personally, as I'm going down the same path of assembling my first set. Doing lots of reading, buying samples, etc. Your original post helped me pick my original sample purchases last week, now on my second order, and making next steps plans. I'm building a craps set so my focus is different, but your review here was really welcomed. Just a +1 mention for what you put together here, and the follow-on conversation since.

Question for you - did you buy your Pharaohs new or used? They're on my short list as well given the amount I'll need for craps and their design/feel is something I like so far.
 

marshboi

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@newtmitch preciate it! I’m so glad it helped. I bought them used here from @jsap47 at a fantastic price. The people here tend to offer pretty good deals. The chips I got weren’t brand new but I sorta liked the worn look. It didn’t take away from the feel at all (the colors of mine were just slightly faded on some of the $25’s). Maybe put a “wanted” add out on the classifieds.
 

Himewad

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I went with blank Royals about a year ago (I bought unlabeled chips because I knew I was getting custom labels) and don’t regret it one bit. I love these things. I was very close to getting CC Pharaoh’s, but the colors on the Royals were too great to ignore. And unlike some, I like the 43mm chips.

1613474206147.jpeg
 
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newtmitch

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I went with blank Royals about a year ago (I bought unlabeled chips because I knew I was getting custom labels) and don’t regret it one bit. I love these things. I was very close to getting CC Pharaoh’s, but the colors on the Royals were too great to ignore. And unlike some, I like the 43mm chips.
Those are great looking chips. I might have to reevaluate them. I swore they were metal slugged from something I read somewhere, so I had written them off. But it would make more sense that they're not - I think at that point the only sample I have that's metal slugged would be the monte carlos, and they're the only sample I have that has that very distinct, heavier sound, and weigh a ton on top of that.
 

marshboi

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@Himewad those are great looking chips, and I hope to get some custom labeled ones someday. The colors are fantastic and the 43mm has a more substantial feeling in my hand which I like. The colors are beautiful.

I decided against them mainly because of the price. With custom labels it adds about 30¢ per chip if I can remember correctly. So that’s 80¢ a chip total, and I found my pharaohs for 25¢ which I couldn’t turn down. If I wouldn’t have found that deal on the pharaohs, it might be a different story.

@newtmitch have you ordered Royals samples? I recommend it!
 

newtmitch

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@newtmitch have you ordered Royals samples? I recommend it!
Sure have. Have them in front of me right now. Once I have a sense of what kind of chip counts I'm looking at, I'll include them in the build estimate to see how that goes. I have about 5 more samples coming hopefully in the next week or so, so I'll have more factors to include soon enough.
 

newtmitch

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Royals /endthread /dropthemic
hahaha, fair enough, thanks. I do like them, for sure. I'm going to have to give them serious consideration. Question is their applicability for craps, given the non-standard size.
 
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With how slick china clays can be, the 43mm Royals make a big difference in stack stability. Only china clays really worth buying IMO.
 

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With how slick china clays can be, the 43mm Royals make a big difference in stack stability. Only china clays really worth buying IMO.

Its also the material I think. It’s different to the other slippery CCs
 
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