Poker chips, or poker tokens, are used to keep track during gambling and replace money during the game. Even though poker chips are called clay chips, poker chip sets are not entirely made of clay. Sometimes clay is used as filler, but it is always mixed with some synthetic material for durability. Clay composite chip sets were popular in the early 1800s and today are rarely used mainly because they are more expensive and tend to break easily.
Today the most popular poker chip sets are made of plastic, clay composite, and acrylic. Since 1930s poker chip sets were decorated with metal foil for extra durability and security. Ten years later, poker chip sets were printed in the center and along the edges.
Since 1950s most casinos introduced their own designs and logos imprinted on the poker chip sets, and these chips became collectable items. To add extra security and prevent counterfeiting, casinos started to use unique blends and materials in their poker chips. Most often, it’s a top-secret blend of synthetic polymer acrylic composite, sometimes with added clay or kaolin.
All casinos have their own unique colorful designs or at least a logo on their poker chip sets. These sets are produced only by a few specially appointed companies in the US, and the designs are protected by copyright.
For home gambling metal core poker or plastic chip sets are used. The metal core ones are heavier, can be customized in design and color scheme, which adds that special casino feel to them. Plastic poker chip sets are more lightweight and can be damaged more easily. On the other hand, they are less expensive and can be bought anywhere in any quantity. Plastic poker chip sets are the best choice for beginners in gambling, or for people who play occasionally. When people become serious about poker and start playing regularly, they prefer to invest in metal core poker chip sets or even in composite clay poker chip sets.
Poker chip sets are widely available on the Internet. Most companies when you place an order send a sample chip. You can also collect a nice poker chip set if you buy one-dollar chips from casinos – these would be of much better quality than any chips you could buy in stores, plus, they are a great conversational piece! And you can always trade them back for money in the casino or even play with them.
If you decide to keep your casino poker chip set, you need to provide them with a good “home”. To keep your poker chips safe you need a poker chip case with lock and key where you would store your set during a poker session. Most often, you will get a complementary poker chip case when you place an order for a poker chip set. If you buy one separately, look for a case made of metal or hard wood, with a reliable lock and soft interior lining to protect chips and cards. Plastic or vinyl cases are easily damaged and do not provide enough protection for heavier poker chip sets.
When you are ready to buy your poker chip set, make sure you go for the best quality you can afford and that you order enough chips to accommodate the number of players you usually have. As a rule, you cannot have too many chips, but if you order not enough of them, you can easily add more. Store them in a reliable poker chip case and enjoy the game!