“The guy who invented poker was bright, but the guy who invented the poker chip was a genius”
-Julius Big Julie Weintraub
A game of poker wouldn’t be where it is today if not for the invention of the poker chip. The yesteryears’ of poker in smoke clad wild west parlours saw the usage of bones, ivory or clay as tokens for the game. The tokens were just subject to easy replication and gaming venues put a stop to it by ordering manufacturing companies to make customized clay chips for them. The poker chips had their unique style identifiable with specific gaming houses, making it hard to forge.
Over the years, poker chips advanced from clay to ceramic to including microchips! Real Money Poker games worldwide now had a much-needed currency, replacing traditional notes and coins. A poker chip became symbolic as a game token that is used to wager. The chips in hand at the end of the game were cashed in for some real money, making it seamless and foolproof. The advent of online poker also saw the extension of poker chips online, making it a universal currency in both online and offline poker games.
The value of a poker chip
When you buy-in to a poker game, you're exchanging money for poker chips. However, how the poker chips work depends on the type of game you are playing. A player receives a set of chips at the beginning of the game, also known as the ‘starting stack’. Based on the format and stake at play poker chips are assigned to a player with different values:
- A cash game player will receive the same number of poker chips as their buy-in amount. Ex: A Rs.1000 buy-in for a cash game will mean that a player will be assigned poker chips (your starting stack) that add up to Rs.1000 in value, at the beginning of the game. The number of chips in a player’s hand during a cash game is, therefore, a direct indication of the value of his winnings.
- A tournament poker player will receive a fixed number of poker chips and the value of these chips are not equivalent to the buy-in value. Ex: A Rs.5000 buy-in for a tournament will mean that a player will be assigned a fixed number of poker chips (your starting stack) as pre-determined by the poker site/room. Often the starting stack for a Rs.5000 buy-in online poker tournament will range anywhere between Rs.12000 - Rs.15000. Thus, in tournaments, a player’s chip stack is NOT representative of the value of their winnings. Winning guarantees are predetermined and announced by poker sites and are purely based on the position in which a player finishes. While the objective of a tournament remains to gather poker chips, the value of your chips at the end of the tournament will not determine your winnings.
Different coloured poker chips correspond to various monetary values. While there are no hard and fast rules or laws that govern the poker chips online or offline, there are a few thumb rules to assign values and ensure your gameplay remains unhindered. Here’s a thumb rule that could come in handy:
Let’s assume we have four colours of poker chips: white, red, blue, green. We decide to organize a cash game with a Rs.1000 buy-in. Starting blinds at 5/10. Let’s assume:
- The lowest denomination to be the value of the small blind, Rs.5
- The second denomination is usually a multiplier and an average wager value, Rs.25
- The third denomination is a higher multiplier, say 20x, Rs.100
- The fourth, usually the highest value denomination, Rs.500
This is what your starting stack of Rs.1000 will be broken down to:
Rs.5 - White - 10 poker chips = Rs.50
Rs. 25 - Red - 6 poker chips = Rs.150
Rs.100 - Green - 3 poker chips = Rs.300
Rs.500 - Blue - 1 poker chip = Rs.500
A poker event with up to 10 players, experts suggest that you have about 500 chips in three or four basic colours. As the game progresses and the blind levels increase, the lower denominations are eliminated from the game, adding progressive higher denominations, known as a chip up. Being a poker player it’s a good practice to understand the value of each poker chip and its denomination at the onset of a game.
Poker chips are such an integral part of a game of poker. Individuals who want to enjoy a game of poker at home can buy poker chips online. Purchasing poker chips is a great way to begin your journey into professional poker. Besides a chip trick or two, we hope you master the art of making your opponents’ poker chips disappear! Talking about a few poker chip tricks, shuffling should be right up your alley as a poker player. The clinking and twirling of chips is something you won’t miss while watching a live game of poker. It’s not a trick for ‘brag value’ and has become more synonymous with ‘thinking time’, an unspoken colloquially understanding on the poker table. So why not get your shuffling act in place and keep those fidgety fingers from giving too much away!
Learn a simple poker chip trick
- Begin with two stacks of poker chips, four chips in each pile for starters.
- Arrange the piles beside each other.
- Place your pinky and ring finger on the right pile.
- Place your thumb and index finger on the left pile.
- Move these piles closer together, keeping your middle finger out of the way.
- The pressure needs to just for the stacks to buckle.
- As the chips buckle up, now bring your middle finger as a guide to interlock them.
- Keep the pressure steady and Voila!
Like anything else in life, practice is all it takes, keep at it pro!
Unlock the world and power of poker chips as you traverse poker felts. New to the game? All you need to do is buy poker chips online, dig out a full deck of 52 cards and let the games begin!