Hello from Ambassador Games!

AmbassadorGames

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We came across this site when looking for reviews on a new set we've produced this year for Costco in the US, Canada, Mexico, and Australia. It seems like a great community of connoisseurs!

We are a games producer based in Hong Kong, and have been making 'mass market' poker sets for home use since 2003. We sell these mainly to big box retailers. I suspect this may make us an object of scorn or ridicule on here where the tastes of most skew to a more authentic or traditional design and composition, but we're definitely interested to hear the perspectives and ideas so we can continue to try and improve our products! Also, perhaps in some cases we can shed some light on technical questions about how we go about producing our products.

Here is an old catalogue to give an idea what we make in the poker area: http://www.merchantambassador.com/poker1.pdf
This is our main website: http://www.ambassadorgames.com/about-us

Also, this is the set we made for Costco this year: https://www.costco.com/the-ultimate-poker-set.product.100683253.html
This is a video about that product:

Anyways, happy to be here, and looking forward to getting involved in some discussions. I'm also curious if we could do some things like design competitions that can use all the great ideas and experience of the people from this community. Any ideas or suggestions here are definitely welcome. We make alot of poker chips and get them all over the world!
 

TheDuke

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The acrylic trays you have are interesting. PP05034 and PP05134 in your catalogue . Do you sell these separately without chips?
 

allforcharity

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Welcome to the forum!

I agree that the acrylic trays are something that is not often seen around here, and there may be some broad interest in these as an alternative type of storage and display. The lockable steel chip tray looks great, too.
I also like the wood/veneer and leatherette cases in your catalogue. The baccarat paddle/palette ("card shovel") is an interest novelty item, but the look of it is much too short when compared to traditional units, which are also usually made of wood.

Best of success in your business endeavors!
 

BGinGA

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Welcome to PCF, and thank you for your interest and support!

Looking forward to future discussions and product offerings.
 

AmbassadorGames

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The acrylic trays you have are interesting. PP05034 and PP05134 in your catalogue . Do you sell these separately without chips?
unfortunately not. we don't sell retail (ie. direct to the public); and all of our mass retail customers go for the full sets. back in the mid 2000s we used to sell alot of parts to the online poker retailers in the US, but that business faded away in the past 10 years. might be something for us to look into again. one challenge with those trays is making them fit all types of chips, which have slight variances in diameter and thickness as you know. actually we're considering developing some full sets with larger acrylic trays like attached image. we developed those in 300 and 500 sizes about 12 years ago for an online poker site. do you think poker players would like this style of storage?
 

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AmbassadorGames

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Welcome to the forum!

I agree that the acrylic trays are something that is not often seen around here, and there may be some broad interest in these as an alternative type of storage and display. The lockable steel chip tray looks great, too.
I also like the wood/veneer and leatherette cases in your catalogue. The baccarat paddle/palette ("card shovel") is an interest novelty item, but the look of it is much too short when compared to traditional units, which are also usually made of wood.

Best of success in your business endeavors!
Thanks for the feedback! Indeed the wood cases are nice - we sold one to Homegoods in the US for this fall, although with a basic chip (11.5g dice design chips).
. Hopefully we can get some wider adoption on these in the future!
 

davislane

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Currently no plans for that. But we're new here - things may change! For now we're mainly interested to learn more about likes and dislikes from the true poker chip experts, and get involved in those types of discussions.
So basically you are looking to do a brain dump from people here who are unlikely to be your customers?

Im relatively new around here but I find what you are asking offensive. It might not be my place to be defensive of PCF but how Im currently interpreting everything you have posted so far is that you are basically wanting to use the collective intelligence around here so you can improve your products to profit and offer the community nothing in return.

Im not sure how everyone else would feel about PCF being some sort of "focus group" but if you really want to improve your products maybe you can start by creating some new designs with the assistance of some of the amazing designers that offer their services here on a professional level (i.e. pay them).

Besides being chip collectors, a lot of us here are poker players as well, and we know an angle shooter when we see one.

I hope I'm wrong with my read and in that case I will be happy to have made an ass of myself but I doubt it. Only time will tell.

Welcome to PCF.
 
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Poker Zombie

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unfortunately not. we don't sell retail (ie. direct to the public); and all of our mass retail customers go for the full sets. back in the mid 2000s we used to sell alot of parts to the online poker retailers in the US, but that business faded away in the past 10 years. might be something for us to look into again. one challenge with those trays is making them fit all types of chips, which have slight variances in diameter and thickness as you know. actually we're considering developing some full sets with larger acrylic trays like attached image. we developed those in 300 and 500 sizes about 12 years ago for an online poker site. do you think poker players would like this style of storage?
That tray would be of interest to someone like me, who primarily hosts multi-table tournaments. If you ever decide to sell the trays without the chips, you would have a market here. Perhaps not enough to be of interest, but that's the kind of decision you have to make.

I can say with certainty that you can't sell any if you don't offer them.
 

msuroo

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So basically you are looking to do a brain dump from people here who are unlikely to be your customers?

Im relatively new around here but I find what you are asking offensive. It might not be my place to be defensive of PCF but how Im curently interpreting everything you have posted so far is that you are basically wanting to use the collective intelligence around here so you can improve your products to profit and offer the community nothing in return.

Im not sure how everyone else would feel about PCF being some sort of "focus group" but if you really want to improve your products maybe you can start by creating some new designs with the assistance of some of the amazing designers that offer their services here on a professional level (i.e. pay them).

Besides being chip collectors, a lot of us here are poker players as well, and we know an angle shooter when we see one.

I hope I'm wrong with my read and in that case I will be happy to have made an ass of myself but I doubt it. Only time will tell.

Welcome to PCF.




I mean, they actually make poker stuff, which is more than we can say for some of our past vendors :LOL: :laugh:. And they are supporting the site, which is good for those of us who use it. If some discussion here can help improve the mass market product, I honestly don’t see how that’s bad.

In any case, welcome @AmbassadorGames !
 

tabletalker7

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So basically you are looking to do a brain dump from people here who are unlikely to be your customers?

Im relatively new around here but I find what you are asking offensive. It might not be my place to be defensive of PCF but how Im curently interpreting everything you have posted so far is that you are basically wanting to use the collective intelligence around here so you can improve your products to profit and offer the community nothing in return.

Im not sure how everyone else would feel about PCF being some sort of "focus group" but if you really want to improve your products maybe you can start by creating some new designs with the assistance of some of the amazing designers that offer their services here on a professional level (i.e. pay them).

Besides being chip collectors, a lot of us here are poker players as well, and we know an angle shooter when we see one.

I hope I'm wrong with my read and in that case I will be happy to have made an ass of myself but I doubt it. Only time will tell.

Welcome to PCF.
Easy hero - a google search probably brought him here as people are buying up his costco stuff and there is a forum posting on it. I mean sure he doesn't know that we are throwing his chips in the garbage and are only buying it for the case (definite place for improvement there, I mean come on we all know all about "official casino weight") but they just wanted to reach out and see what is going on with their product. I actually give them credit for asking instead of just taking people's money and not caring.

As far as getting designs, maybe they need us to offer up names for them to contact (wish I had a name to give you). Give people a chance before you blow a gasket buddy.
 

ekricket

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Why for gods sake do you continue to offer this kind of crap? Especially when much much better is available. Do you just want to sell more of the same crap, just dressed up a little prettier with free consulting from here, or do you really want to make a product we’d actually use here? Maybe you don’t sell it here for some internal reason, but at least we might consider it.

if your not designing it for us to buy then I’m not sure your going to get good feedback. Developing a product for a consumer with input from people who aren’t even going to use it just seems dumb.
 

Ethan

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I’ll take the counter argument, my friends. A lot of people buy (or are gifted) mass produced chips before becoming chippers. I think more people playing poker and chipping is a good thing. Therefore, better/more accessible ‘training wheels’ is good for our hobby.

@AmbassadorGames , I’d be curious if most of your customers are buying sets for themselves or as gifts. I imagine that data would be quite hard to extract from your retailers, but that might help you improve marketing design. I could see a bunch of moms scooping this up at Costco as a Christmas tree filler.

I’d suggest designing a chipset that is completely different than what is readily available, if possible. (I’m talking chips specifically) There are hundreds of sellers on Craigslist, Facebook marketplace, Letgo, etc selling generic dice chips for dirt cheap. You may easily get mom picking up sets at Costco because they are packaged well and hit the target market spot on, but when jimmy hosts a game with generic chips and billy decides by buy his own set after playing with jimmy’s, his default choice may not be to run to Costco to buy your set. Unlesssss, he really likes the same, cool design.

As for feedback on the design, edgespots on chips with a clean, unique inlay is widely popular. Stay away from white edgespots - your market segment is overrun with this already. I’d also say denominated chips might help newer players run better games. I imagine many people that have mass produced sets have used them only 0 to a few times. Making it easier to host / run a game might give your product more organic growth. If you do decide to denominate you’re chips, please please please spend time researching appropriate breakdowns. Cheap sets have a bad name in part because they traditionally are not set up with running a good game in mind. Search the forum - there is a wealth of knowledge to be found!

Thank you for supporting our site and making poker (chipping) more accessible.

p.s. I mean no shade to my chipping buddies with different opinions. I love you guys. :)
 
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Eriks

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So basically you are looking to do a brain dump from people here who are unlikely to be your customers?

Im relatively new around here but I find what you are asking offensive. It might not be my place to be defensive of PCF but how Im currently interpreting everything you have posted so far is that you are basically wanting to use the collective intelligence around here so you can improve your products to profit and offer the community nothing in return.

Im not sure how everyone else would feel about PCF being some sort of "focus group" but if you really want to improve your products maybe you can start by creating some new designs with the assistance of some of the amazing designers that offer their services here on a professional level (i.e. pay them).

Besides being chip collectors, a lot of us here are poker players as well, and we know an angle shooter when we see one.

I hope I'm wrong with my read and in that case I will be happy to have made an ass of myself but I doubt it. Only time will tell.

Welcome to PCF.

Why for gods sake do you continue to offer this kind of crap? Especially when much much better is available. Do you just want to sell more of the same crap, just dressed up a little prettier with free consulting from here, or do you really want to make a product we’d actually use here? Maybe you don’t sell it here for some internal reason, but at least we might consider it.

if your not designing it for us to buy then I’m not sure your going to get good feedback. Developing a product for a consumer with input from people who aren’t even going to use it just seems dumb.
Geez, aren’t we a little premature with our ”fuck-offs” here?
 

Josh Kifer

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Geez, aren’t we a little premature with our ”fuck-offs” here?
I gotta agree with that. Wouldn't we be happy when a maker comes and asks what's our input is....

Welcome @AmbassadorGames. It's a large passionate group who talk/fight/love poker chips. Largest dysfunctional family I got.....
 
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wolfpack

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welcome

As far as your chip offerings the only thing you have that could possibly be of interest here would be ceramics, and for that you would have to have a much better design and a realy low price.

We currently have a group buy going for 70k ceramics with custom designs for .30/chip and people already clamoring for a 2nd group buy. Your price even with a good design would have to be pretty low.

If you want to know what could make your chips better well bypass the slugged plastic chips. Several suppliers have tried to replicate as close as they can true compression molded (what we call clay) chips. Currently the Milano's, Majestics, Royals are sold and we call them"china clay" they have no metal slug and while not compression molded have a less plastic feel.

Prior there were some other versions made (like davinci spirit mold and palm imports progen) that felt even more like compression molded chips but had a durability problem and began flaking.

Any attempt to reasonably replicate true compression molded chips would be a major hit

Your trays and cases could be of interest for a group buy if you offered them.
 

Colquhoun

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I’m on the side of giving the supplier kudos for supporting the site and being open to suggestions to help their business offerings in the chip world.

Their customer base is the masses, that believe:
  1. A plastic poker chip that is 11.5g with dice on them is the standard poker chip.
  2. A clay chip is beautiful, but $1 or more PER CHIP is complete insanity.
AmbassadorGames knows what kind of chips their clients prefer and that sell well at their price point.
The fact that they want to reach out to the aficionados to possible glean some insight into making a better product is just smart business, imo.
Welcome to the group.
 

tabletalker7

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I’m on the side of giving the supplier kudos for supporting the site and being open to suggestions to help their business offerings in the chip world.

Their customer base is the masses, that believe:
  1. A plastic poker chip that is 11.5g with dice on them is the standard poker chip.
  2. A clay chip is beautiful, but $1 or more PER CHIP is complete insanity.
AmbassadorGames knows what kind of chips their clients prefer and that sell well at their price point.
The fact that they want to reach out to the aficionados to possible glean some insight into making a better product is just smart business, imo.
Welcome to the group.
Here is an idea on the chips. Dice chips suck and clay chips is cost prohibitive. Why not partner up with Gene and fill these things up with DDLM or Tiki Kings?
 

Schmendr1ck

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Welcome @AmbassadorGames!

Folks on this site are passionate about chips as both quality tools to play the game of poker but also as collectible works of art in their own right. So take some of the "why are you here" posts with that in mind.

However, many of us also forget that mass market poker chips play a critical part in growing the poker community. How many new players are introduced to the game every year through a gifted set of dice chips or a cheeseburger stakes home game that runs on a set of ebay ABS sluggos? I know my first poker chips were dice chips, and I think many other PCFers would have to say the same.

I have no problem giving some free advice to a mass market vendor in exchange for their financial support of our site and the notion that they may bring more people into the game I love by making those starter chips a little better.
 

Nex

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From the details about this recent set made for wholesale I can tell this manufacturer managed to - consciously or unconsciously - significantly up the quality on the "entry level" poker chip sets for the masses, and this probably in a way that didn't significantly increase manufacturing costs.

- dropped the usual useless dice, fed saved money into upping quality of the remainder
- no useless $10/$50 denoms
- not the same spot color for every damn chip (like with dice chips), already looks much better
- judging by the pictures, apparently no frayed chip edges, but smooth and slightly rounded (best for plastic chips imo)
- supplied plastic cards instead of paper cards
- apparently sturdy case actually able to withstand its load

So definitely a hat tip for that.

However I doubt this community can help improve this product that much more if the overall goal still is to keep the price point roughly at the current level:

- Next upgrade to the chips would be to make them china clay - dropping the metal insert but adding weight to the plastic. R&D on material will be fairly costly if you don't want to end up with super fragile chips that would give you shit customer reviews. Or you source them from an established maker with known-good quality, but then again - costs.
- Another upgrade to chips would be an unique spot design for each chip (makes it easier to tell them apart in stacks), potentially adding a second spot color for some denominations. New injection molding machinery/molds required, steep cost. If you decide to do so, really do wildly different spots to maximize the usability benefit. The way the chips look on their rolling edge is what ultimately counts for this. Check with Matsui and the likes (those who make actual casino-grade plastic chips) for spot patterns that look good with the glossy plastic material.
- Upgrade to the cards - cheapo plastic cards still suck because of the haptics; replacing them with a quality brand like Fournier will up the final price quite a bit though. If you manufacture the cards yourself, aim for more flexible, less slippery cards. Basically more towards the haptics of textured linen finish paper cards. Stiff/slippery ones are super hard to shuffle in a proper fashion (riffle shuffle) and continue on sliding to wherever you don't want them to land - loads of frustration.

About the only thing apart from the fairly bland label design that probably can be improved in a cost-neutral way would be the sizing of the set and breakdown. The latter currently is just as poor as all the other low-end sets out there and could definitely use some tweaking.

If you don't want to spend much on a poker set, you likely play micro stakes if you go the cash game route. Your current set starts with a $1 chip, so the lowest stakes you can play with it is $1/$2 (i.e. usually $200 buy-ins). Who in their right mind will use a junk-y $50 poker set that can be bought at every bigger supermarket for such stakes? Chances are people would rather try to play tournaments with it, and T1 base tournaments are rather uncommon and also "feel" bland because all the numbers are so low. Most commonly, tournaments use T25 base or T100 base.

Make separate sets for cash game and tournament play.

Cash -- Sell sets with 25c or even down to 5c chips for cash games. This also adds an unique selling point - very few low-end denominated chip sets have a fractional chip, let alone a fractional as small as a nickel. Could do a bright yellow 25c (brown spots) and perhaps a white 5c (black/gray spots) to fit with your current designs.

Adjust the composition of the sets so they can be used more efficiently. This will require you to drop the "always multiples of 50 chips" thing but hey, if you're making huge quantities of these sets, you can make it work.

400 chip set microstakes 5c/10c ($10 buy-ins) up to 25c/50c ($50 buy-ins) for 6 players:
- 5c x 60
- 25c x 100
- $1 x 100
- $5 x 100
- $25 x 40
Total bank $1628 ($1625 excluding the 5c chips which aren't used in 25c/25c and up, or $628 excluding the $25 chips which aren't used in 5c/10c).
Means 62 buy-ins for 5c/10c games, 65 buy-ins for 25c/25c or still 32 buy-ins for 25c/50c. That's between 4-9 rebuys per player on average, so plenty of room for the target range of stakes.
There's enough fractional chips for six-handed play (10/14/6 stacks for first buy-in) but it can be made to work for 8 players too (first 4 players: 10/14/6, next 4 players 5/11/7). This was for stakes that require the 5c chip. For 25c/25c and 25c/50c stakes, you can do 16/11/X for 6 players or 12/12/X for 8 players.

Tournament -- Offer another set designed for tournament play. The smartest way would be offering a T100 base set so people can buy both the cash set and the tournament set and not have any "duplicate" denominations (i.e. the $25/T25) that could lead to costly mistakes for the game host. I am absolutely not a tournament head, so better have someone else with more tournament experience sketch a proper 400 chip breakdown for that.
 
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TheDuke

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unfortunately not. we don't sell retail (ie. direct to the public); and all of our mass retail customers go for the full sets. back in the mid 2000s we used to sell alot of parts to the online poker retailers in the US, but that business faded away in the past 10 years. might be something for us to look into again. one challenge with those trays is making them fit all types of chips, which have slight variances in diameter and thickness as you know. actually we're considering developing some full sets with larger acrylic trays like attached image. we developed those in 300 and 500 sizes about 12 years ago for an online poker site. do you think poker players would like this style of storage?

This storage case is very unique. If you could develop the 500 to stack/interlock and transport well you'd have a winner. Better than a birdcage if these are as sturdy as they appear.

I'll offer to be a test consumer if you want to ship me some to test. ;) :)
 
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