Greetings from a Gamer!

CrazyEddie

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Hello, everyone. My name is Eddie, and games are my life.

Board games, card games, RPGs, video games, parlor games, puzzles, contraptions, and other such diverse diversions and entertainments. I love 'em all. Even the ones I don't like, I love anyway, just for the notions they represent. I had been hosting a monthly game day for my friends, but since The Illness has fallen upon the land we've decided to remain separate until such time as circumstances improve.

I wasted enriched my college years playing Bridge, Spades, and Hearts, often for money - nickel stakes, enough to buy lunch on a good day. Years later I caught the wave of the Poker Boom, but by then I had a family life and didn't spend much time at the game. But now, as I make plans for reopening, I'm considering adding Poker Night at Eddie's to the regular game day rotation. And so I contemplated what chips I might want to get for the occasion. Which, of course, led me here.

Your posts and comments have been an invaluable resource. I won't say I've been lurking, exactly, but I've read an astounding number of old threads in my efforts to learn more about poker chips. Reading them has made my job of picking out some chips to buy much, much harder, but has made the choice much more rewarding. So, thank you.

I've also learned that my aesthetics are quite different from the majority here. Casino-oriented designs don't do much for me, whether fantasy or real (although I certainly appreciate the appeal of chips from a historic or treasured gambling den; provenance is rewarding!). I see merit in chips all across the price spectrum, each in their own way. I'm not likely to build large sets, as I'm only running small games for a handful of close friends. Most of my sessions will probably be Dealer's Choice, including the dreaded wild card games, not to mention some games that aren't poker at all (Bourré! Trick taking AND gambling? damn right I'm calling it). And we'll be playing for lunch money, not mortgage payments.

We do have this in common, though: I want my chips to be more than the typical, average poker chip. Not just because dice chips are bad and there are better ones out there (not just), but because I want my chips to be different. Interesting. Special. Attractive. Fun. Part of the experience of the game - not an afterthought, a mere mechanic. Happily, thanks in large part to all of you, I now know there is no shortage of interesting, special, attractive, fun poker chips out there to choose from, and I'm enjoying the process of finding the ones I want.

I'll keep you posted as I go.
 

FordPickup92

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Welcome! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, great post! Sounds like you're well on your way here, so keep up the good work and best wishes on your chipping journey!
 

Poker Zombie

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Welcome! As a fellow gamer, I can tell you that you will enjoy many games even more using poker chips instead of a pencil and paper to track score in games that do so. Chips also work much better than paper money for games that use that medium.

Basically, I'm saying that you are about to embark on a journey that will add extensively to your hobby, and subtract dramatically from your bank account.
 

CrazyEddie

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... just a quick addition to say that OMG I just scored huge. Don't want to jinx it until they're in my hands, but I think I may have found almost exactly what I've been looking for and at a bargain to boot.

Anyway, I'm going to use this thread to talk more about what I've done so far on my chipping adventure, what I've seen, what I like, what I've picked up, etc. WITH PICTURES of course. But not all at once... more posts to come, later.

Thanks for the welcoming messages!

You might be a perfect candidate for ceramics - you can customize the entire chip instead of just an inlay. Think about it.
I've got some ceramic samples and am definitely considering custom chips of any and all variety... nothing's off the table yet. Not sure how I feel about the feel of ceramics. They feel... interesting. Interesting is good! Just not sure that's where I want to go.

I'm saying that you are about to embark on a journey that will add extensively to your hobby, and subtract dramatically from your bank account.

:ROFL: :ROFLMAO:

I actually started down this road looking for a replacement for Power Grid paper money. I think I've settled on something (more on that in later in it's own post), but in the process I totally by accident decided I need a completely different set for playing poker.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
 

CrazyEddie

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Thanks for the welcome, all.

NYC CrazY Eddie? :LOL: :laugh:

No relation. ;)

Welcome here! This is certainly a place for many different kinds of aesthetics. What kind of chip designs do you like the most? Any examples?

I prefer designs without text, photos, logos, or icons. I like striking, bold, and unusual designs. I like simplicity and elegance, but also appreciate ornamentation and filigree when well-executed and cleanly integrated. When it comes to denominations, I like denominated but without currency symbols >>> denominated with nonintrusive currency symbols > nondenominated >>> denominated with obvious currency symbols.

Regarding edge molds, I dislike anything with text (i.e. most house molds and many fantasy home chips), and I'm not crazy about objects and symbols. I like patterns. The Paulson top-hat-and-cane molds are okay (although I much prefer the ones with an outer circle over the circle-less RHC mold), but I like Paulson's Web mold so much more. Out of the CPC/ASM molds I like A-Mold, Elephant and Crown, H-Mold, Large Crown, Small Crown, and Roman (RIP, alas, really love this one). Oddly enough Circle Square bugs me and Scroll is kinda meh, even though both are patterns - I think the issue is that the diamonds are intrusive, and the scrolls are just Too Darn Big. I like the molds on Milanos and on Apache's new Bank chips (with the train tracks! very clever, elegant, and thematic), and I like the Greek Key and Gear Wheel molds on the Claysmith slugged chips. Lines, arcs, circles, and patterns; ornate but not overbearing.

Spot design is a touchy subject for me. I like solids when the rest of the chip conforms to the design concept, so that there's not a mismatch between the object and the substrate. In other words, hotstamps want solids and colorful inlays want spots. But I'm reluctant to let the spots get out of hand, and I draw the line on how many / what color / what shape / what size the spots should be much more conservatively than most other PCFers. The trigger words that spring to mind for me are "busy" and "intrusive". The Claysmith Mint spots are beautifully designed across the whole line, but I still don't like 'em. I like the Majestics even less. I like the Milanos; the trapezoids are unique and interesting but also understated due to being few in number and large (larger spots are ironically less intrusive than smaller spots; they're less busy, less demanding, more easily seen as part of the background while still being distinct from the background). The Horsehoe spots are okay; the Lady Luck spots are pretty good (but I don't like the 100s). I like threes and sixes; fours are okay but not great; twos feel incomplete or out of balance, and eights make my skin crawl. I haven't seen any fives - I'd probably either love them or hate them but can't guess which.

I've seen enough chips (both in pictures and now in person) to have a tentative handle on what my favorites are, visually speaking, without regard to how they feel, handle, or perform at the table:

Vintage Catalin chips:

1596313219976.png


These are the equivalent of supermarket plastic radial chips but from the very dawn of the age of plastic a hundred years ago, smack dab in the middle of the Art Deco movement. Functionally they're primitive, but visually they're incredible.


Vintage engraved chips with the Carlo (blue) or London Club (red) design:

1596313596463.png


There's a number of different engraved designs commonly available (although hard to find in quantity), but out of all of them, these two are the only ones that speak to me. Patterns, curves, ornate but refined.


Lucky Birch:

1596314094430.png


Cheap generic metal-slugged ABS chips but HOLY COW do I like the graphic design. Some would say gaudy, I say bold. I love the colors-on-black scheme. I love the gold-on-black inlay scheme common across the denominations. I love that the 1 is grey-on-black instead of white and that the 100 is white-on-black instead of black. I love the wheat pattern "inlaid" on the edge, and I love that the crown molded into the spots is spot-colored (i.e. uncolored) so that it blends into the spot rather than standing out. I love the wreath-like laurel-like element in the inlays and I love that it's gold. I love that the chips are denominated, I love that they're currency-free, I love that the numbers are huge and stand out on the black background and can be read at a glance by anyone. I love that there's a gradient on the numbers, which makes the gold numbering "glint". I even love the font that they used - it feels vaguely futuristic, which gives the whole set a slight science-fiction tinge (maybe I'm the only one who has that impression, dunno - [shrug] works for me).


Paulson Starbursts:

1596315201648.png


Not much to say here. If you love them, you understand why. If you don't, explanations won't help. And if you hadn't already guessed that these took my breath away when I first discovered their existence, then you haven't been paying attention to the rest of this post. :)

... but can you guess what my dream chip is?

1596316125453.png


1596316164133.png


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It rings all my bells:
  • No icons, logos, or photos
  • Denominated, but with a VERY unobtrusive currency symbol
  • Denomination is large, stands out from the background, and is easily readable
  • Spots are mostly pretty good (not crazy about the size/number on a few of them, but the color balance is superb)
  • The only text is the denomination, and it's small and smartly, symmetrically placed
  • The inlay is colored artwork on a black background
  • The chip color is incorporated into the artwork
  • The artwork is ornate yet elegant
  • The gradient and shadowing on the artwork is sublime
  • The edge mold is elegant with curves and patterns (the scrollwork) but also has character and distinction (the pineapples)
And to top it off, besides the graphic design:
  • It's a high-end compression clay so it's going to feel incredible
  • It's got provenance out the yin-yang. A chip made by chipheads for chipheads, on a Paulson mold that has never been and will never be used for any other chip; a chip that will never be made again... Wow, what a story!
The only tiny little downsides are price and availability. :banghead: :( ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


Besides all of those, I also quite like the Dia De Los Meurtos ceramics:
1596317080192.png


I know, pretty much unlike all the others I've described. But I really like the theme and I really like the artwork. Even so, at first I figured I wouldn't be interested, because it just seemed too much on-the-nose for me - this is the kind of thing that all my friends would completely expect that I would have. But then my wife pointed out that "on-the-nose" is also kind of my thing, so now I'm thinking I'll end up with some of these after all.

So anyway, there you have it. Thanks @Chipenhagen for asking the question, and sorry to everyone for writing a novel to answer it.

None of these pictures are my chips, they were all stolen from the web. I'll take some actual pictures of my actual chips later and post 'em in the pr0n forum, although at this point there's not a whole lot to see. I do have some, but I'm just getting started. Still enjoying the quest.
 

CrazyEddie

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@SixSpeedFury , @Darthhoodie - I have seen that thread, and I've got the sample set! I like the feel of the china clays, and I like the Bank set design... aesthetically. There's a lot about it that I like. Hits lots of the requirements I've mentioned. Good stuff.

I'm not sure I'm going to go all-in on Bank, though, because it's train-themed, and I'm actually not a train gamer[*] . I'm going with a different concept for my gaming set (still gaming-themed, but not train-themed), and I wouldn't want the train theme for my poker set either.

Probably.

Maybe.

It depends on just how stupid I get and how many extra sets I end up collecting not because I need them but because I want to have them. If I get that bad off, then a set of Bank would probably fit my collection just fine.

Everyone please feel free to keep the pointers and suggestions coming! I love to see them all!

---

[*] I'm not a train gamer yet. I might pick it up, but probably not within the next five years.
 
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Thanks @CrazyEddie for taking your time to explain. You are very conscious about what you like and dislike. I think your post describes the considerations everyone has that ends up in each chipper having different sets of preferences.

The sets I acquired (few compared to others here) all have some elements that were within my optimal set of preferences and a few things outside. Even when I did my custom sets I found I had to compromise due to limitations in place back then (some 12-15 years ago). Now, I think custom design freedom in many regards are more open than before, I think my compromises in any future projects would be on a less important "level" than before.
 

Poker Zombie

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It depends on just how stupid I get and how many extra sets I end up collecting not because I need them but because I want to have them.

The answer to this is simple: How many extra dice do you own? If you have like, one set of nice dice (in addition to all the dice that have come with your games), then you will likely be content with a singular set of chips. If however, your collection of "extra" dice looks closer to this...
1596364414036.png


Then just start buying chips now. There will never be a perfect set. Just different options.
 

WedgeRock

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Welcome to PCF. Knowing what you want and like is 80% of the battle and it sounds like you have your tastes pretty well dialed in. Good luck with the remaining 20%: finding the chips you want.
 

CrazyEddie

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Quick add-on just to say - Good Grief, it's amazing how quickly stuff gets snapped up in the classifieds here. There's some great chips and great deals to be found if you're logged on and refreshing the classifieds the moment what you want gets posted.

Got up this morning, checked the ads, and totally would have paid forty bucks for the Le Noir sample set that @alittlemessi was selling, but I was literally a day late (but not a dollar short, I'da been good for it, honest).

Ya snooze ya lose and that's the way of the world, but good golly everyone's gotta snooze sometime! :)
 

CrazyEddie

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Time for some pictures!

First up is my vintage engraved chips. After finding this forum, and coming across posts such as this one from @DrStrange and this one from @jbutler I started considering whether my new poker chip set should perhaps use old chips instead of new chips. So I looked into it, and decided... well, at least ONE of my new poker chip sets should! :D

I did a lot of looking at listings on ebay and etsy and digging around on sites like http://antiquegamblingchips.com/ , and came to the conclusion that if I wanted to build up playable sets of old poker chips - and I do - then my choices were going to be fairly limited. There's plenty of vintage chips out there, but most of them are either a) singles or b) pretty awful. Imagine the cheap supermarket chips of today... but old. Ugly, poorly made, and worn out by the decades passing by.

But I did find some that I thought might do well for me! I considered the various Paranoid-style die-cut inlaid chips with assorted symbols on them, the somewhat fancier Paranoid engraved chips, and Catalin chips (the ones made from marbelized swirly colored Bakelite). And so, like everyone says to do, I got samples:


IMG_1750.JPG


I got onto ebay and started grabbing auctions where I could get big handfuls of miscellaneous vintage chips for as little money as I could get away with, just so I could get a representative cross-section of what's actually out there. After handling and looking at the samples (in particular, Paranoid inlaid vs. Paranoid engraved) I decided that I didn't really need to collect any of the Paranoid inlaid symbol chips, but that I absolutely needed to collect engraved chips - in particular, the ones with round ornate designs, which I eventually learned were called "London Club" and "Carlo".

And wouldn't you know it? The very next day after I made that decision, there was an ebay listing for approximately 150 of those very same chips, in a fairly attractive vintage wooden caddy. And lo and behold, those chips arrived at my house not long after. And here they are today:

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They very badly need a cleaning, and it wouldn't hurt to touch up the engravings either. And of course they need some company. But these chips don't come up in quantity very often, so I'm completely flabbergasted and grateful that I could pick up so many at once at exactly the right time. Even so, I'm never going to make a two-table tournament set out of these, but I don't need to anyway. They'll do fine for small games with friends and the family - just like these kinds of 200-count three-color sets were intended for.

More pictures in the days to come!
 

DrStrange

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I am a huge sucker for these century old chips. The can make for the best sort of hunting. You will have to work to make a usable set of chips, but it isn't a hopeless hunt. Sooner than later the prize will be yours!

And you can't beat the price either. Paulson casino chips rarely come in less than a dollar per chip. And the high end price is just daunting. But these vintage home game chips are almost always well under a buck, often more like $0.25 each.

A full set of beautiful vintage chips for a hundred bucks or so. Plus the joy of the search. Sounds pretty sweet to me.

Grats on your catch. You'll have a good set really soon -=- DrStrange

PS I would be remiss if I didn't warn folks about cleaning these old chips. Please, oh please, test a single chip or two before committing mass murder. Paulson chips are near enough to indestructible. These might not be.

I once test cleaned a "jockey" chip only to learn it was made of pressed paper. May it rest in peace.

PPS I also love the old school chip carrier. That is really nice.
 

CrazyEddie

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Thanks for the warning! I have a few "throw-away" engraved chips in my samples (not pictured above) so they'll be the first ones to get a bath. If all goes well then I'll move on to the precious ones.

PPS I also love the old school chip carrier. That is really nice.

I don't really like the carrier-style chip cases; they seem so... inefficient. Space-consuming. A dedicated appliance sitting on the countertop instead of something you can put away and store on a shelf. So I figured I'd just flip the carrier after I got the chips.

BUT

When it came in, and I actually got a good look at it, and the wife saw it and commented on it, I guess I've changed my mind. It really is quite attractive with the little inlaid wood strips around the edging. And pulling chips out of it is actually very nice; I was surprised at the ergonomics of it. It's easier than pulling them out of a rack or a row in a case.

Who knew? :)
 

CrazyEddie

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More pictures!

Right now I have only two "big" sets (meaning larger than 200 chips and more than three denominations). The first is my aluminum-case 500-dice-chips set which I will probably never get rid of; it was a gift from my wife during the early days of the poker boom and so has sentimental value even if I'll never use the chips again. The second is this one, which I put together just recently now that I'm getting back into poker:

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The chips are called "Lucky Birch". They're cheap slugged plastic, but as I mentioned earlier I really like the graphic design, so I'm willing to accept a lot of trade-offs in other areas. They're even heavier than dice chips. They're pretty slick, almost as slippery as dice chips but not quite as bad. They don't have the metallic ringing sound that dice chips do, and they have a softer feel, so that's good. Time will tell whether I actually enjoy playing with them, but I'll have to wait until I can start my poker night to find out.

I wanted a small set that was easy to carry around that could support five to ten players. These chips can't be bought by the barrel; they're only available in prepackaged quantities and in breakdowns that weren't convenient to my purposes, so in some ways I had to make do with what I could get. Here's what I ended up with:

100x 1
100x 5
40x 25
34x 100
15x 500
9x 1000

We'll be playing microstakes, and my intention is to say, for example, "Tonight we're playing for nickels." So the unit chip is a nickel, the 100 is five bucks, etc. If on another night we feel like playing for dimes, then the chips will stay the same but their cash value will double.

I plan on having buy-ins be 200 chips, which will be 100 big blinds playing 1/2 No Limit and 50 big bets playing 2/4 Fixed Limit. We'll mostly be playing fixed limit dealer's choice cash games, but might also play single-table NL tournaments, probably with a fast sit-and-go blind schedule so it doesn't take all night to play. I don't mind using the same set for cash and tournament (for now); at the stakes we'll be playing and for the people who'll be attending, I am absolutely not worried about security. Starting stacks with this set are as follows:

First five buy-ins:
20x 1
16x 5
4x 25

Sixth buy-in:
20x 5
4x 25

Buy-ins seven through ten:
4x 25
1x 100

Subsequent buy-ins will use 100s, or 500s if those run out. Total bank size is 5000 chips / 25 buy-ins using just up to the hundreds, and another 16,500 chips using the pinks and yellows. I'll probably never need to use them, but I wanted to throw a few into the set anyway because a) I had room in the case and b) they look pretty.

Since we'll be playing for nickel stakes, I left room in the last row of chips for a bag of coins so I can make change at the end of the night when people cash out.

I'm pretty happy with this set. A small case with 300 heavy chips has a nice heft to it, but it's not so heavy or large that it's cumbersome to carry around. I'm looking forward to getting to actually put it in play. Someday.
 
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