The Essential 3-Part Poker Chip Quick-Guide

The currency of the casinos and poker room all around the world is poker chips made out of various materials instead of actual cash, which may have been used in the earliest days of the game. With the proliferation of online poker sites like Bovada Poker actual poker also have a charming throwback effect to the old days of the world’s most popular card game.

Why are poker chips even necessary?

The reason for using poker chips is that cash and coins are hard to handle and create a mess on the table plus, it has been observed that the gamblers played more conservatively when they were betting with the hard cash as opposed to poker chips.

Before the invention of the chips in 1930, people used to bet with cash, gold nuggets, coins, and other materials.

The main advantage of the is they literally have no value outside of the casino. At first, the chips were made up of clay or metals but nowadays there are a lot of brands of poker chips made up of different materials rotating in the market.

The 3 Main Classes of Poker Chips

Poker chips are categorized in low-end, mid-ranged and high-end chips based on the material they are made up of.

Low-End Chips

Cheap plastic “Supermarket” chips

They are the most inexpensive chips one would get in a kids poker set. If you are thinking of hosting a poker game in your home then you should not consider these as they are lightweight and low-quality.

There are ridges around the edges to make stacking easier but if the ridges are not interlocked then the stack falls down in an instant. Sometimes they are way smaller than they should be and weigh around 2 grams. Because of this, they don’t have a huge market in adult poker games.

Super diamond

Super diamond chips around 8.5 grams and are considered a better quality than the supermarket chips. Their width is 39mm, which is considered to be the normal width, but they won’t make a clanking sound because they don’t have a metal slug in them.

One good thing about them is that they can be hot stamped and therefore you can customize them with a monogram or logo. They come in a single color and therefore lack the aesthetic appeal of the standard poker chips.

ABS plastic (suited/diced)

These are most popular among the home poker players. They are heavier than the above-mentioned qualities and give a slight clanking sound due to the material they are made up of.

They are known as dice chips because of the ring of design around the edges which has card suits or dice in it. They are more aesthetically appealing than cheap plastic chips.

Faux Clay

They look like super diamond chips because of the ring of suits or dice etched around the corners but are heavier and have a gritty feeling. It makes them easier to shuffle and stack.


They are made up of plastic, but the manufacturing process is varied which given them a duller surface, softer feel, and a less slippery surface than the hard plastic chips. They have a multi-color edge and the recessed center can be customized.

Mid-Range Chips

Quality Plastic

They are made up of high-quality plastic and some of them are casino grade. They are aesthetically appealing because they are multi-colored but the feel is a bit more slippery than the clay counterparts.


These are made up of ceramics and are slippery to feel and continue to be fairly popular for home games. Nevada Jacks is the most popular company that manufactures these chips.

Clay Composite

They are made of clay composite and are inject-pressed. Though the color around the edges can’t be customized they are the best choice for most casinos and cardrooms.

High-End Chips

Ceramic Casino Grade

That are more durable than clay chips and are also called clay-composite. They are made up of a special resin and plastic which gives them their distinguished feeling.

They are flat with the image and the denominator covering the whole chip. They are considered to be a casino grade chip and have  little market in home poker games.

Clay Chips

They are the highest end and the most respected chips throughout the world’s casinos. They are made up of clay mixed with chalk or sand to make them more durable.

They have a round depression called inlay, they have a gritty feeling, are heavier, have a good sound and are available in a variety of color and shapes. The only downside of these chips is that they are more prone to dents and scratches.