Why do Casinos use Chips Instead of Cash?

What is the history behind it?

Gambling 18's CenturyIn the 1800’s, gambling was a common occurrence, but due to the way that people bartered for goods, it was common for gamblers to throw down various objects as their stakes during a poker game. Gold nuggets, pieces of ivory and other items were used.

The lack of continuity among the stakes made the creation of a standard item to represent the actual stakes made sense.

Some saloons would offer players the opportunity to exchange cash, gold or something else valuable for a small handling fee, and the establishment would then issue the player poker chips.

No one at the poker table would be playing with cash, lowering the chance of theft. At the end of a game, a player could turn in his chips for the items being held by the saloon.At that time, the chips were actually created by the saloon, and could be made of a variety of material such as ivory or mother-of-pearl. Some were made of polished bone and wood.

The 1880’s saw the beginning of the mass production of poker chips. The chips at that time were generally made of a clay composite material, and were available in several different colours to indicate different monetary amounts.

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Today, poker chips come in a variety of materials. Most people are familiar with the plastic red white and blue chips available at local superstores. Poker chips used at casinos are a different matter. There, poker chips are generally made of a clay composite, allowing the casinos to have their name and logo actually printed on the chips to distinguish them from other casinos chips.

Realistically, casinos know that it is mentally easier for a player to play with chips instead of real cash. Pushing $10,000 towards the center of the table would be harder to do if it was in the form of bills instead of chips.

Gambling 2dayPlayers do not want to handle that much cash: chips are easier to manage at the table. Casinos often offer rectangular-shaped plaques to represent high dollar amounts, in order to make play easier.

Some gambling facilities allow players to set up an account ahead of time, which is basically a line of credit. To do this, you would request a line of credit. Upon completing application, the casino would check your bank account and make a decision about whether they’d be willing to extend your credit and in what amount.

Once you are approved (this takes about a week), you can use the line of credit when you go to the casino. Once you get a seat at a table, you’d tell the dealer you want to take out a marker.

You’d tell him how much. Someone will bring you paperwork to sign, and then the dealer would count out your chips. The process will vary from casino to casino.

If you lose money, you are given a short amount of time to come up with the money to pay off your debt to the casino. It’s a convenient way to gamble without carrying around a lot of cash.

Why are the Chips in Different Colours?

Do the colours vary depending on which casino game you’re playing?

Core Colours and Values
With the variety of materials used in poker chips, there is likewise a variety in colours available for chips. And although it would seem reasonable to assume that there is a standard for the colour scheme in poker chips, there really is not.

Poker ChipsA typical set of family poker chips, used while playing games at the dining room table, usually are red, white, blue, although some sets may include black and/or green chips. On a set of plastic chips, you won’t find a monetary denomination, although tradition dictates that the highest value chips are black, then green, then blue, then red and finally white. You can sometimes find other colours available in the plastic chips found at local superstores or toy stores.

Although there is no international standard for valuation of poker chips, typically a black chip is valued at $100; a green poker chip is worth $25; a blue chip is worth $10; a red chip, $5, and the white chip is $1.

This colour scheme is similar in Europe casinos. Higher denominations of poker chips are available in varying colours, and many casinos have adopted the use of a rectangular plaque to represent the highest wagering amounts allowed, such as $5000 and up. The plaques, since they represent such a high dollar amount, are usually stamped with a serial number.

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Casinos in particular states or jurisdictions may be required to have uniform poker chip colours, but it will depend upon the location. And regardless of chip colour, in the USA, poker chips must be uniquely identified as belonging to a particular resort or casino. The edges of the chips must be uniquely marked, with the casino name and value marked on the face of the poker chip.

This marking scheme actually benefits casinos as it aids them in lowering the risk of counterfeiting. An additional security measure instituted by many casinos involves the creation of intricate artwork for the face of the chip in order to prevent counterfeiting. Some casinos are even incorporating RFID technology in their chips, incorporating a tag that relays the chip’s serial number.

Different Games = Different Tokens

Although typical poker chips have face values of $1, $5, $10, $25, $100 and up, this is not a standard in the industry. blue $1 poker chipsIn Las Vegas, some casinos value blue poker chips at $1 instead of $10.  Other casino games necessitate the use of additional chips, such as in the game of blackjack. In a blackjack game, also called ’21’, $2.50 chips are used for wagering due to the manner in which cards are dealt to players.

Blackjack players attempt to get as close to 21 on their hand, and it is possible to reach 21 during the first deal of cards (called a ‘natural’).

 Wagers are typically made in $5 increments. In some games, there may be one or two poker chips that are used more often than others. In the game of baccarat and pai gow poker, players normally bet in increments of $20, necessitating the use of a $20 poker chip in order to minimize the number of chips a player uses during a normal bet. $20 poker chips are often used at the roulette table as well.

How to Handle Chips in the Casino Game

Good Casino Etiquette

When you enter a casino, you are instantly creating an impression about what kind of opponent you will be, especially if you are playing high stakes poker. Using proper casino etiquette will take you a long way towards making an impression that you know what you are doing, raising expectations that you are someone to be taken seriously.

Numerous theatrical releases in recent years have included scenes at poker tables, some of which involve highly embellished playing and dramatic tactics. If you were to follow suit and throw poker chips into the middle of the table, you might give yourself away as an amateur. Here are some of the rules of casino etiquette.

  Now that you’re sitting at the table and you’ve been given a pile of poker chips in several different denominations, how do you keep them organized?

The Do’s

Stack your chipsStack your chips.

The better poker players stack their chips, but they don’t turn them into an architectural wonder like the leaning tower of Pisa. You should stack you chips in stacks of 10 to 20; don’t go any higher than that. You risk knocking them over, making yourself look like a rube.

Don’t hide your high-dollar chips. Don’t stack your highest valued chips behind others in an effort to hide them. You do not want to try to hide the amount of money you have to gamble while you are at the poker table. If you are doing well, allowing other players to know that you’re doing well might win you a few hands as the more savvy players look at how much you have available to bet.

Keep your stacks neat. Another reason for stacking is that it keeps the table neat. You know how much you have available to bet.   It’s easier to place your bet and raise the stakes when your chips are easily accessible and organized. Push your bets toward the middle of the table. When you place your bet, you should push your chips towards the center so the dealer knows you are betting.

It is the dealer’s job to make sure that everyone puts in the correct amount of chips each time.Ask for a plastic rack if you decide to move to another table and you have a lot of chips. This enables you to stack your chips easily for moving them across the room.


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The Don’t’s

mixed stack of poker chips If you have to rake in a large take of chips, that’s fine, but be sure to quickly organize your chips and get them into manageable stacks. Never mix chips in the stack. You never want to mix different denominations of chips in one stack. Don’t hide your highest dollar chips.

You want them to be visible to others at the table. Don’t ever make change with other players. This is an adversarial process. If someone needs change, it’s up to the dealer to take care of it. Don’t toss your chips.

This isn’t the poker game at home with the guys on a Friday night. When you are betting, don’t toss your chips into the center of the pile. It will aggravate the dealer and make his/her job much harder. Just push your chips forward, and the dealer/croupier will count them and put them in the center.

Just be a well educated and behaved player with respect for the dealer, competitors and your audience, so you can enjoy your game…and maybe win a stack of chips.

How Would a Player can use Chips Online?

The attraction of online gaming is strong, allowing you to play from the comfort of your living room. Unfortunately, since the worldwide web is indeed worldwide, international regulation is non-existent.

The result is that players must be extremely careful when choosing an online gaming site. This is where doing your research can save you time, headaches and money. Once you have found a reliable online casino, you will need to sign up and purchase chips so you can participate.

The online website you choose will provide you with an electronic method to purchase your chips. Every casino will rule individual how to place bets and how to redeem your chips once you are finished playing.

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