Most casino chips are made from clay or even ceramic. The standard size is about 39 millimeters thickness with a weight of between 8.5 and 10 grams. These type of chips are extremely expensive, usually in the $1 to $2 range per chip. Ouch!
I would recommend never bothering to buy true “casino quality” chips for your typical home game since you are really just wasting money. Casino simulated chips are so much cheaper and still have the look and heft of the “real” thing. So, unless you have very deep pockets and want to splurge, there is nothing wrong with just getting some really good plastic composite chips, which are really nice in their own right. To me, a good equivalent is found by considering chess boards and pieces. Sure, you can buy a fancy ebony board and pieces and spend a boatload of money. But, will they help you play any better?
My Top 5 Recommendations
This 300 chipset is what I would call an entry-level model. There is nothing fancy about the chips, which are the ones I have been using for years. They have an excellent weight to them and are durable enough to last through being taken and played with by my three kids. I am not sure what they did with them, but it wasn’t poker. They probably used them as some makeshift Legos to build a castle of some sort. But, I digress. I would recommend this set if it is your first time buying poker chips and you host a casual poker game with 3-5 buddies. 300 pieces are more than enough to accommodate 6 or fewer people. They will work perfectly whether you play cash games or tournaments.
The set comes with a nice quality aluminum, felt-lined, case which seems to be of a sturdy construction. I have had no problems with it yet, and I am sure it has been banged around often enough out in my garage. I always feel like some kind of “gangster” whenever I break out the poker chips, fully expecting the case to one day to be full of cash. I only wish.
Additional accessories include dice, waterproof playing cards, and metal buttons. The cards are nothing special, however, they do look cool. I will just stick with my Copags, which you can read about in my detailed quality poker card review. My favorite part of this set is the attractive metal buttons that come as a bonus. They actually look over the top nice and almost worth buying the poker chip set for these alone. Overall, this is one of the best “bang for your buck” poker chips sets out there and is the biggest sure bet you can purchase for your home game (click the link to check Amazon price).
These poker chips are a slight step up from your typical home game quality poker sets. I really like the way they look and the cool way each color chip matches one of the card suits. Red is diamonds, green is clubs (big surprise), blue is hearts, and (yeah you guessed it) black is spades. The only minor knock on these chips is that the “white” chips are actually gray, and could occasionally be mixed up with the black chips. However, that is a minor concern and should not be a deal breaker.
I recommend this set if you want a slightly upgraded set and need to accommodate between 7 and 10 people. 300 pieces simply won’t cut it for over 6 people.
This set also comes with a decent carrying case (although not high quality), 2 decks of playing cards, 5 red die, and a standard white dealer button. If you want a nicer button, check out this upgrade, found on Amazon. They are basically the same buttons as found in the BBP set. Or, if you host tournaments, you might want to invest in a dealer button that also doubles as a poker tournament timer.
Overall, the Casino Ace is a nice middle of the road chipset that has an attractive design, nice heft, and will fit nicely into most people’s budget. It is highly unlikely that anyone would ever be disappointed in this set. However, if your tastes are slightly more extravagant and you want poker chips that feel more like being in an actual casino, check out the next set on my list.
These chips are a bit higher quality than the other two sets, although not by much. What I really like about them is that the manufacturer has gone out of their way to simulate real casino chips. And while it’s virtually impossible completely match the quality of casino chips (sets would cost in the $1,000 range), this set does a really good job of it.
The denominations are all predominately displayed on each of the 6 different chips; $1, $5, $25, $100, $500, and $1,000, all come with the set. There is a standard dealer button as well as small and big blind buttons included. The two decks of cards are really low quality, but we don’t buy chipsets to get cards, do we? One odd thing is that the set doesn’t come with dice. I say it’s odd since almost every set I’ve ever seen has dice in it. Even so, I have never used dice, so it’s not a deal breaker for me. Well, enough about the lack of dice, I am rambling.
Overall all, this “casino simulation” chipset will satisfy just about any group of friends you could have over. Anyone would be proud to use these chips, even high rollers. In fact, this is one of the best home game set of poker chips you can hope to buy for around $100. The price will vary slightly so please check the latest Amazon price.
These chips are a nice quality composite design. If you are looking for something a bit unique, here you go. Each of the 5 different chip colors come with a different poker hand shown against a lighted “sunrise” field. As expected, there are the 4 different royal flushes shown as well as 4 of a kind for the $1 chip. This set is a bit different than many of the other sets and will almost definitely be a hit at the next home game or poker night.
The 500 piece set comes with 2 run of the mill decks of playing cards (average quality) along with 5 dice. The aluminum carrying case does its job but isn’t anything fancy. Of course, who buys a poker chip set for the case?
In my opinion, this case is extremely good at its price point. It’s not my favorite set, but the reviews are really good. Therefore, I believe these chips will be really attractive to a lot of people. Take a look at the listing and see what you think.
The perfect Christmas, birthday, or any holiday present for a friend or loved one. If you want to buy something special and unexpected for a poker enthusiast, nothing is better than a custom gift. I recommend getting them their initials or even just the first letter of their last name on every chip.
The chipset comes with 500 pieces with 4 different types. Each individual chip will be stamped on both sides with either Gold or Silver hot stamp foil. Only uppercase letters are allowed.
Additionally, the set comes with two decks of cards, and a dealer, small blind, and big blind button. The aluminum case is heavy duty with a black felt interior. The weight of each chip is 11.5 grams, which is a nice hefty weight for poker chips. For more details and to see reviews, check out the Amazon listing.
Poker Chip Specifics & Variations
When it comes to purchasing the best playing cards for hosting the perfect poker night, here are a few things to consider.
There are 4 major materials that you find poker chips made of; Plastic, Composite, Clay, and Ceramic.
- Plastic Poker Chips
The bottom of the barrel type is the red, white, and blue design that you commonly see sold in second-hand stores. You can get a large set for under $20, however, I would recommend never investing in these unless it’s to let your kids play with them. If you whip these puppies out on your neighborhood poker night, prepare to be ridiculed and laughed at by your buddies. There are slightly nicer solid plastic chips available, but they are in the same price range as good composite chips. It’s like putting a Yugo next to a Toyota Corolla for the same price.
- Composite Poker Chips
Okay, so technically these are made of plastic. However, it is more of a “clay-like” resin than the typical cheap looking stuff. With metal typically included inside the chip, and an attractive finish applied, you would never know that they are actually made of plastic. The only thing you will miss is the sound that these chips make when clinked around on the table. They definitely sound different than high-quality casino chips, but that’s the price you pay (literally) for obtaining them at 10% of the cost.
- Clay Poker Chips
Clay chips are actually pretty rare nowadays. Since they are fragile and tend to randomly break occasionally, casinos got tired of having to replace them too often. Therefore, newer chips are being invested in that have very little, if any clay in them anymore. Some manufacturers are now mixing clay with different forms of plastic, to retain some of the qualities of clay, but with much more durability.
Ceramic Poker Chips
If you go to a casino today, there is a good chance that you will be using ceramic poker chips. They are infinitely more durable than clay, or any other material for that matter. Since these are the crème de la crème of poker chips, don’t get your hopes up on getting any at a reasonable price. The minimum you will likely pay for the “entry level” of ceramic chips, is around .50 a chip, like these found on Amazon. However, if you are willing to pay that much, why not go all out and get some of these Nevada Jacks poker chips. They are extremely nice and will definitely impress people. Even so, I can think of much better ways to spend $800, like on a top of the line poker table. It’s not that I am trying to discourage you from spending all this cash, it’s just that most people will be impressed by some really good composite chips (like the ones recommended above).
- White: $1
- Red: $5
- Blue: $10
- Green: $25
- Black: $100
Sometimes there are additional colors thrown in the mix, like yellow ($2), purple ($25), orange ($50), light blue ($2000), and even pink ($2.50 or $250). If you have trouble remembering the standard colors, or your group are beginning players, I would suggest buying a set that comes with the denominations emblazoned upon the chips. If this is the case, I recommend the Casino Ace set.
Common sense prevails when it comes to how many of each denomination a poker chip set will come with. Usually, the next to smallest size denomination will end up being the most used chip of the bunch and the highest dollar amounts are generally the least used. For example, the Monte Carlo set comes with 100 whites, 150 reds, 100 greens, 100 blacks, 25 purples, and 25 yellows. So, if you happen to see a chipset that is top heavy on chip counts, steer clear.
Graphics & Designs
Most chips will have a printed inlay or sticker as a label. Cheaper designs will show wear and tear after a few session when the stickers start peeling off. Higher end chips will generally be “hot stamped”, often with gold or silver text stamped on them. There is nothing wrong with chips that have an inlay, each set I have reviewed here does not appear to have a history of a “peeling sticker” problem.
As far as shape goes, everyone always expects to use rounded chips. Nowadays chips also come in squares as well. However, you typically only see this shape in European casinos. In my opinion, they are a bit unwieldy to handle, I would recommend sticking to the traditional shape; the good ol’ circle.
By texture, what I mean is whether a poker chip is flat or has ridges. Generally speaking, most composite chips are relatively smooth compared to authentic casino chips. This is due to the usage of an inlay or sticker. If there is any texture to the chip, it is typically around the edge in a circle around the center. For the most part, any texture will only enhance the aesthetic nature of a poker chip. Unless of course, if that texture interferes with the ability to stack the chips in an orderly manner. This is not a common issue and has not been reported to be a problem with any of the sets that I recommend on this list.
There are a few things you might want to consider to compliment your purchase of a poker chip set.
- An upgraded chip case
If you plan on traveling to your poker game or taking your set on vacation, you might want to invest in an attractive and durable carrying case. I recommend the cases made by Versa Games, which come in both 300 chip and 500 chip models.
- Dealer Button
Most sets come with the same old boring white dealer button. I recommend upgrading and getting these nice metal buttons, now available on Amazon.
- Playing Cards
My favorite poker playing cards are made by Copag, they are infinitely better than anything that comes standard with a poker chip set. And, in my opinion, the only thing more important than quality poker chips, is really nice playing cards.
- Poker Table
Your mileage will vary when it comes to poker tables. Your needs may range from only need a simple cloth or rubber roll-up poker mat all the way up to the finest high-end professional poker tables. However, most folks will settle in on a nice folding poker table, like this really popular one found on Amazon. To find out more about the specifics, read my poker table buyer’s guide.
Having a poker night is all about the poker and poker chips are one of the most important tools of the trade. I mean we can’t really bet without them, right? They are a big investment in the enjoyment of your home game and should not be discounted when you are buying what you need for your poker night. However, there is no reason you have to spend hundreds of dollars either. For under $100, you can buy really nice quality poker chips that will impress your friends and add to the overall fun of your home poker games.
Thanks for stopping by and be sure to browse my other articles for more poker information.