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What are Poker Chips?

In Poker games, the importance of poker chips is equivalent to the cards. Poker chips are casino tokens used as a currency for playing a poker game. The poker coins used in different poker game venues vary in colour. For instance, a home poker set usually includes chip colours like red, blue, white, and sometimes black and green chips.

The chips are usually ceramic or made of compressed moulded clay or injection-moulded plastic. While clay chips are more durable and traditional, ceramic chips are the popular choice for live games as casino chips.

The poker chips used as game tokens are symbolic of real money, encashed at the end of the game. Today, poker chips are used universally as a currency in offline and online poker games.

History of Poker Chips

In the early years of poker, poker players felt a necessity of poker markers to track their bets. Players initially used bones, ivory, or clay poker tokens and gradually shifted to using coins, gold dust, and gold nuggets. However, there was still a need for standardisation in poker coins as they could be easily replicated.

Gradually, casinos began to make clay chips, quite similar to the ones used today, but still faced the problem of forgeries. Over the years, with technological advancements, casinos have successfully combated the problem of counterfeits by using serial numbers, specific weights, and microchips to address this issue. Today, poker chips have every gaming house have a unique style of poker chips set which are easily identifiable and difficult to forge.

Poker Chip Values

Essentially, the value of poker chips is limited to a particular gaming house, which means that they don't have any value outside of that gaming house. However, in cases where the same parent company owns more than one gaming house, those gaming houses may honour the poker chip values of each other. Many poker chips also have immense value as collectibles.

Every player receives a starting stack of poker chips at the beginning of a poker game. When you buy poker chips with money, the value of each poker chip depends on the stakes of the game one is playing. The poker chips' value can differ depending on the game format and stake.

Cash Game Poker Chip Value

In cash games, the number of poker chips a player receives is equivalent to the buy-in amount. For instance, the buy-in for a cash game is Rs. 1000, and the player will receive poker chips of Rs. 1000 in value. The number of chips in hand also indicates the value of a player's winnings.

Tournament Poker Chip Value

In a poker tournament, the players receive a fixed number of poker chips. However, the value of the chips they receive is not equal to the buy-in value. The value of the starting stack or the fixed number of poker chips is pre-determined by the poker room or site.

Note: The chips stacks aren't indicative of the value of players' winnings in poker tournaments. The objective of a poker tournament is to gather poker chips; however, the value of the chips at the end doesn't determine the winnings of a player, but only the ranks.

Value of Poker Chips Based on Colour

In different types of poker games, the value of different coloured poker chips varies. While there are no standard poker rules or laws governing the value of poker chips in online or offline games, a few thumb rules are used to assign values to each coloured poker chip. For instance, there are four colours of chips, white chips, red chips, blue chips, and green chips in a cash game with a buy-in of Rs. 1000. The starting blinds are 5/10, and assuming the following, the value of each coloured poker chip can be determined:

The lowest denomination of Rs. 5 is the value of the small blind

The second denomination is Rs. 25, which is generally a multiplier and an average wager

The third denomination is Rs. 100, usually a higher multiplier such as 20x

The fourth denomination is Rs. 500, the highest denomination value


Based on the above denominations, the value of each coloured poker chip may be broken down as below:

  • White chips - 10 white chips of Rs. 5 = Rs. 50
  • Red chips - 6 red chips of Rs. 25 = Rs. 150
  • Green chips - 3 poker chips of Rs. 100 = Rs. 300
  • Blue chips - 1 blue chip of Rs. 500 = Rs. 500

While every gaming house or online poker site may have different chip denominations, in general, the denominations are as follows:

  • White: 1
  • Red: 5
  • Green: 25
  • Blue: 50
  • Black: 100
  • Purple: 1000
  • Yellow: 5000


How to use Poker Chips?

When you learn how to play poker, you must understand the value and denomination of each poker chip at the beginning of the game. If a poker game has up to 10 players, poker experts suggest having around 500 chips in 3-4 colours. The lower denomination poker chips are eliminated from the game gradually, and progressive higher denominations are added, known as chip up.

When using chips, here are a few dos and don'ts for handling the poker chips:

Stack up the poker chips for better money management and easily count your stack when required.

Always keep the chips behind the bet lines to avoid accidentally betting them.

Avoid mixing poker chips of different denominations in the same stack. You could end up raising accidentally instead of calling.

Players must not call by throwing chips sloppily into the pot, also called splashing the pot.

Avoid fiddling with the chips or clutching them tight as the opponents might consider that as a tell and predict your hand.


Poker Chip Tricks

Poker chip tricks don't necessarily contribute to your success on the table, but experienced players frequently use different poker tips and tricks to impress or intimidate their opponents. Here are some of the common poker chip tricks players can use to show off on the table:

Standard Chip Shuffle

The standard chip shuffle is one of the easiest poker chip trick to learn. To start this trick:

Take two stacks of chips with five chips each of different chip colours and values.

Bring the two stacks close to each other.

Hold one stack with the thumb and index finger and the other with the ring finger and the little finger and push the two stacks tightly.

Lift both the stacks with the middle finger, and the chips will start falling on top of each other.

Push the stacks together to finish the shuffle. If done right, the chips will come on top of each other in alternating colours, such as green, red, green, etc.


Chip Thump Flip

The thumb flip is a relatively easier poker chip trick you can learn quickly. You would need only three to four chips from the poker chips set. Place the chips between your index finger, middle finger, and ring finger. Apply slight pressure on the first chip and roll in upwards with your thumb. Guide the chip towards the back of the stack to place it on the other side.

Chip Twirl

The chip twirl trick will be easy to learn if you have mastered the thumb flip. For the chip twirl, you only need three chips. Hold the chips between your index finger and thumb. Loosen the grip and use your middle chip to pull out the middle chip. With the ring finger placed beside your thumb, pull the middle chip, twirl it, and put it back using the ring finger.

Knuckle Roll

The knuckle roll is a cool trick to walk the chips across your hand. The trick is relatively difficult to master, but once you do, your less experienced opponents will stay cautious around you. Start with a single chip and push it below the knuckle of your index finger and thumb. Sliding the chip on the index finger, let it roll to the next position. Use your index and middle finger to stop the chip from slipping out and repeat the sliding process to get the chip across your hand to get it back between your index finger and thumb.


Start the riffle trick with six chips and divide them into two stacks if you are a beginner. Place your little finger on the back and ring finger at the front on the left. Place your thumb and index finger on the right side to get your fingers around the chips. Use your middle finger to lift the chips, sliding them together. You can add more chips gradually as you learn to riffle the six chips back and forth.

Chip Roll

Chip roll seems easy to look at but takes a decent amount of practice to master. The chips should flow smoothly from one hand to another to pull off the chip roll trick. Take about four to five chips in your right hand and practice releasing each by slightly lifting your thumb. Let the chip roll on the felt towards your left hand, placed upside down on the table.

Chip Fanning

Not a traditional chip trick, but the chip fanning trick is impressive. In this poker chip trick, the player works a stack of chips to fan them out on the table in a line or a curve and quickly stacks them back. This trick is relatively easier even for poker beginners but does require some practice to master the fanning out of the chips and quickly collect them back in a stack.

The Spin and Bounce

The spin and bounce trick is an impressive but difficult poker chip for beginners. The trick makes a poker chip hit the table and bounce back with a backspin to the player's hand. The player holds a few chips between the fingers and thumb while forcing one chip to spin in the air and hit the table. Adding spin to the chip makes it hit the table with backspin and bounce right back in the player's hand.


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