Hello from Mexico!

Daniel Albarran

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Hello, my name is Daniel, I live in Mexico, I’ve played poker since 1999 and I’m an enthusiast chip collector. The best way to introduce myself is to tell my poker chip story.

Around the year 2000 me and my buddies started playing religiously every Thursday.


Part I: Welcome to the world of Chips

Chips in play: Bycicle & Dice Chips

I guess the most of us start at this point. Every chip was worth the same amount and we usually played cash, fantasy games with lots of wild cards. I can’t remember at what point we introduced the Dice Chips but that’s the first moment when I thought “wow, this is great, there’s a lot of weight to these, you can stack them!” Most of us started to learn how to shuffle and soon we started to get more involved with the game. We combined both of them, and started writing numbers on the Dice Chips, giving them value. Denominations seemed like an impossible thing to play with at the time, it seemed like a high-end rich people thing, especially because there were no casinos in Mexico at the time and the only chips you could find were these two. The Dice Chips were sold in a 300 chip kit at around 150 USD. Insane! Even today, they’re still sold at that price.



Part II: Denominations

It was time to upgrade. I had some spare money so I found a specialty shop that sold board games. I walk in and to my surprise I see a case with these gorgeous inlays. We all know them as the Royal Flush Chips. Denominations! $1 through $100. We used them as tournament sets and combined them with the Dice Chips. Bycycles were retired for good. It felt great to be responsable for bringing the chips, I loved to take them out, put them back in the case and count them back at home to make sure none of them were missing. I take great care of the things I buy and I realized I was probably gonna become a collector, so I took great pride in using them and washing them every now and then. We started to get more involved with poker, and through a website we met a lot of players and assisted every Wednesday to a 20-30 person tournament. They didn’t have a lot of chips, so we ordered a 2000-chip set, remained loyal to Royal Flush. At the time I remember there weren’t many options and very few websites did international shipping and the ones that did commanded outrageous prices that sometimes exceeded the chip cost.


After playing with the Royal Flush chips for a couple of years, it was time to upgrade, but choices were slim and none here in Mexico, so I looked online. I met Paulsons for the first time. “Wow, a dollar a chip! That’s SO EXPENSIVE!”, I thought. At the time, I was out of that range, but I started to dream: one day, I’ll own a National Poker Series chip-set. Undoubtedly, the most beautiful chips I’d ever seen. Anyway, I found Apache Poker Chips and their wide variety. Inmediately I fell in love with the Casino Royale Chips. I decided to go with the lower denominations. $5 through $500 which fitted perfectly to our tournaments. $130 USD for a 500 chip-set, which seemed like a sweet deal. I would get around 400 dice chips here in Mexico for that price! Problem was: no international shipping. However my good luck with chips (which began here) helped me out. Me and my folks made a trip to visit my aunt in Houston, so I shipped the chips to her and picked them up when we arrived. I was shocked at how beautiful they were (are). I was equally impressed at the weight. THEY ARE HEAVY.



Part III: Luck continues

My next great love were the Dunes Commemorative. Many sites sold them but still, no international shipping. Luckily enough, a site here in Mexico sold them. I paid around 200 USD, shipping included for a 500-chip set, which seemed like another sweet deal. China clays, I had no idea how great these would feel. I highly recommend them and they’re still available. Where did luck come from in this case? Months later, the site closed, so I would have never found them at that price. When I stacked them for the first time I noticed they were uneven. There’s some manufacturing problem, seems like each denomination has a different weight, that’s my only concern and maybe that they feel slippery sometimes. Denominations: $1 through $500.



Part IV: Ceramics

Ceramics started to tempt me. Having our own set, designed by me (I’m a graphic designer). Seemed like a great project. I decided to order 1,000 chips, high denominations, $1,000 through $500,000. Took inspiration from WSOP chips, Casino Royale, etc. I was very pleased with these, but on the long run, I don’t recommend them, unless you take GREAT care of them. You can’t throw them around, splash the pot, mess with them, since the edges literally break, revealling the white material, so keep that in mind. Most players throw them around, myself included, so it would feel strange to ask every single person to take care of them. I felt a little frustrated when I saw that first broken edge.



Part V: The deal of my life

I started to seriously look into Paulsons, but suddenly very few sites sold them. I found out they weren’t making them for the home market anymore. Well, I thought I’d look someplace else. One day, I was browsing through MercadoLibre, the latinamerican equivalent of Craigslist. Most of the chips they had were Dice and Royal Flush. You could clearly see the colors on the previews, so I didn’t even need to click the link. Suddenly… a bright orange, a baby blue, a darker red, chocolate??? What’s this?! I thought for sure they’d be Super Diamonds, since they came at around 45 USD for a 400 chip-set, case included, no spots. It was like the angels came down from heaven, I click the link, take a closer look at the pictures, and there you go, TOP HAT AND CANE, evey single one of them. Starbursts. I checked the price and pictures about a dozen times. No mistakes. The description didn’t say “Paulsons”, so I guess nobody knew, maybe the seller didn’t even know. I bought them inmediately and once again, luck prevailed, the seller was an hour drive, so I picked them up personally. They guy turned out to be an old player who didn’t use them anymore. “All of my friends are dead.”, he said. I felt pretty bad for him, but I told him they would be inmensely appreciated and well taken care of. Chips as you can see are in great shape, they’ve gone through decades of play and they’ll go for several more. I felt I made the greatest deal of my life, since I could’ve easily paid and extra 0 anywhere else. It worked great for cash. Whites for $1, Reds for $5. Couldn’t have worked better, but soon I realized I needed more. Found a reasonable deal on ebay for a couple hundred chips for $90 USD, shipping included. Greens, blacks and an interesting color: what I like to call pink-soaps. These ones were far more worn but I didn’t care, even at that state, Paulsons are still Paulsons.



Part VI: Back with a vengeance

China clays stormed back. Even though playing with Paulsons felt amazing, having no denominations felt strange and I didn’t want to overlay the starburst symbol, since I thought the gold contrasted perfectly with each color. eBay became my new main site, so I set my eyes on the Club Pharaohs and very late in the game I discovered the group buy for the Championship Poker Series. I saw an ad for 1,200 CPS chips. New steady healthy job, no girlfriend anymore, THESE CHIPS ARE MINE haha. What convinced me the most was the very generous international shipping: around 20 euros. I knew I’d pay around 70 USD in customs once I picked them up at the post office, so it seemed fine to me. Final cost was around 600 USD (actually winning an eBay bidding war is always great). Denominations from $25 to $5,000. Once again, very pleased with them. The bevel, the mold, the stickers, they did a great job with matching the colors. The only one I felt they could’ve done a better job were the $500s. It’s the same color as the spot on the $100. I’ve had a couple of people that get confused with them, but not as much as I’d imagine. I was a huge fan of the WSOP chips, so this seemed like another chip dream come true.



Part VII: My Holy Grail of Chips

Literally a couple of months after buying the CPS Chips, I found another ad at eBay for my personal Holy Grail: the National Poker Series Chips. It was now or never. Around $1,200 USD for a 500-chip set, with a beautiful wooden case.
When I finally got them it felt I’d reached the top. I started at the bottom and hard work has paid off throughout the years, whether it was grinding money or my steady check from work.


So that’s my story.

What’s next? More of course. More NPS, I don’t have yellows. More starbursts maybe. ASM I guess, a custom clay set, that’s a project I’d like to get my hands on. Currently I use the NPS on both sessions, complementing them with the Starbursts and every now and then I bring back the CPS. Each set reminds me of where I’ve been in my life and I’m looking forward to expanding my chip story and sharing it with all of you.

Cheers everyone!
Danielito
 

chipjoker

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Awesome first post...You are on the SAME old track most all of us have been on.....Just go straight to custom chips....
 

SixSpeedFury

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Bievenidos Compa! Naturally, your next step is custom CPC. If you think your wallet was hurting then.....

don't go to pokerchipdesigntool.com.....
don't go to pokerchipdesigntool.com.....
don't go to pokerchipdesigntool.com.....
 

detroitdad

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Welcome dude. I've done my share of partying in Mexico in the last 10 years celebrating Anniversaries and what not.
 

Marius L

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welcome, and fun reading about your chip-story so far!
 

Trihonda

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Welcome to PCF. Lots of great folks here!

As far as first posts go, yours was pretty epic. Includes your chip story, and pics of multiple sets. Can't ask for better.
 

Poker Zombie

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I was just looking at the PCF/Member Loactions map the other day and thinking "don't they play cards in Mexico?"

Welcome to PCF. This thread should be bookmarked, because when Chipping becomes popular in Mexico, we will know who patient zero was.

Dice chips for $150? Time to start smuggling in the other direction.
 

rowlin

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Epic first post. Thank you for sharing your story.

Welcome aboard - mucho gusto!
 

Daniel Albarran

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Awesome first post...You are on the SAME old track most all of us have been on.....Just go straight to custom chips....

Yep, CPC looks like the next step. I'm figuring out the design, early stages, but I'll make a detailed chronicle of course.

Bievenidos Compa! Naturally, your next step is custom CPC. If you think your wallet was hurting then.....

don't go to pokerchipdesigntool.com.....
don't go to pokerchipdesigntool.com.....
don't go to pokerchipdesigntool.com.....

Already bookmarked haha.

Welcome to PCF!

Thanks! I'll love to contribute.

Welcome. You need some of those Paulson Casino de Mexico fantasy chips man!

Love those chips! The pink is so sexy! But it's really hard to find a set.
 

Daniel Albarran

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Mexico
Welcome to PCF. Lots of great folks here!

As far as first posts go, yours was pretty epic. Includes your chip story, and pics of multiple sets. Can't ask for better.

Thanks, I'll post more pictures soon. Seems like a great place.
 

Daniel Albarran

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Mexico
I was just looking at the PCF/Member Loactions map the other day and thinking "don't they play cards in Mexico?"

Welcome to PCF. This thread should be bookmarked, because when Chipping becomes popular in Mexico, we will know who patient zero was.

Dice chips for $150? Time to start smuggling in the other direction.

Yeah, the problem's that the chips you can find here are pretty much Dice and Royal Flushes, that's all. There's a huge boom in casinos, they've reinstated hold'em, it was banned for a couple of years, but the game's back. Maybe it'll help. Yeah we do play, I could leave right now and pick between 5 casinos and they'll all have action, be there in 30 minutes. There's plenty of action here.
 
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