Gaming chips are disc-shaped objects used in lieu of money in gambling establishments. In this article we will tell you about the features of token production, what their nominal value depends on, how they are used in various games, what the role of chips in the casino security system is and many other things.
The appearance of chips is associated with an attempt to standardize casino financial operations. Features of tokens manufacturing are still a commercial secret of their producers.
Casino Chip History
Chips are a kind of casino currency and significantly simplify many operations related to the financial side of the functioning of gambling establishments. Despite the fact that various types of gambling existed in ancient times, and the first gambling institutions appeared in Venice in the 17th century, chips are a rather new casino invention.
Until the end of the 19th century, various valuable items that could act as bets were used instead of chips. Sometimes players even used small pieces of gold or silver, coins or fiat money. The development of gambling houses required systematization of the payment mechanism and objects to bet with. Thus, the prototypes of the usual modern chips appeared. In high-class gambling establishments, special tokens were made of ivory. However, they were frequently forged, so the owners of casinos put special markings on the surface - distinctive signs.
In the 1880s there was a revolution in the chips manufacturing. The chips were made of clay and had the same size, which was achieved through the use of molds. These were the prototypes of modern chips. Their main disadvantage was impracticality – they quickly broke or lost attractive appearance due to careless handling. Then manufacturers began to experiment with the composition of clay, trying to make the chips more durable.
The manufacturing process and the chemical composition of modern chips is a commercial secret. Each manufacturer has its own formula of ingredients in the production of casino chips.
Edge spots on the chips are made of the same material as the chip itself, but they are not covered with paint. To achieve this effect, the clay area is polished and replaced with clay of a different color before the clay blocks are shaped into flat chips. Then the graphics or inlay covered with a very thin layer of plastic is applied. After that, the blanks are placed in a mold to be ignited and get proper size and shape.
In the 1980s, traditional clay chips were replaced by ceramic ones, which became popular due to the fact that patterns and graphics could be applied to the entire surface.
That is how modern chips appeared. Among other things, they have such security features as radio frequency identification and ultraviolet marking.
Nominal Value and Color of Chips
There is no single standard for correspondence between color and value of chips. The palette varies among gambling establishments. As a rule, the following ratings are used: 10, 25, 50, 100 and 500. If we are talking specifically about poker, then you can also see chips with a nominal value of $1000 and $25 000 during high roller tournaments.
Traditional colors for tokens are white, blue, green, black, red and purple.
As a rule, the white chip’s value is $1, red - $5, blue - $10, green - $25, black - $100, and purple - $500.
Chips and Security System
Each individual casino uses a unique set of chips, sometimes even changing their nominal value. In addition, the chips perform a number of security functions. That is why the edge spots, various colors, shades and graphic design are so important. Innovations have not spared casino tokens, so modern gambling establishments often use radio-frequency identification (RFID).
Where to Buy Chips?
In each casino you can buy chips at the checkout, using cash or bank transfer. However, it is very important to remember that chips are not universal and are accepted only in the casino in which they were purchased.
The Use of Chips in Gambling. Poker
In poker, there is a simple rule: the more players take part in a tournament, the fewer chips with a small face value will be needed. In addition, the choice of a gaming chips set depends not only on the number of players at the table, but also on the type of tournament. The point is, when playing limit and no-limit hold'em different sets are needed. The initial distribution of chips is of great importance.
In order to organize the game for ten people, you must have approximately 500 chips in three or four colors. To hold a tournament for twenty persons, you must have 1000 chips in four or five colors.
If there is an option at the gaming table to buy more chips, an additional number of chips should also be provided.
According to an extract from the rules approved by the World Poker Association:
- Chips of small value cannot be used in mandatory bets. In this case, they simply remain on the table until the moment when the exchange is made;
- The number and nominal values of the starting chips, which are issued before the game, depend on the specific rules of the tournament.
Interesting Facts about Casino Tokens
Besides the fact that chips are actual casino currency, they are also an iconic element within the casino industry. Some gambling establishments produce special limited editions of tokens dedicated to certain important events, while preserving the traditional casino color scheme. Such chips, as a rule, are bought as souvenirs.
It is believed that the most expensive poker set was released in 2011 at a cost of $7.3 million. Its creator was Jeffrey Parker, a designer from London. The kit includes 384 chips made of gold and inlaid with gemstones, a deck of cards decorated with platinum and alligator-skin bag with multiple code locks.
The most expensive chip in history was created in 2013. It cost the owner $450 thousand, which made it possible to be included into the Guinness Book of Records. Rose gold and scattered diamonds, which were placed on the edge of the chip, were used for its manufacture.