Starting Chip Requirements & Chip Values

Chip Values

  • Cash games - For cash games, you will typically only need either 2 or 3 different chip values - and the chip values will be equal to the stakes value. For example, in a $1/$2 game, you will only need $1 and $5 chips for the bets, and you will want a third chip value for the $0.50 small blind. Some games that don't want to bother with a third chip value will simply have both the small and big blind post $1. For a $2/$4 game, you will only need $1 and $5 chips.

  • Tournaments - For tournaments, you typically need 4 different color chips in order to play a tournament. The ratios of the chip values will typically be about 4-to-1 or 5-to-1. Some typical chip values are: $1-$5-$25-$100 and $5-$25-$100-$500. The higher chip values might sit on the side until a color-up is done. For really big tournaments you will want to have a 5th chip value. It is best to have the total starting chips per player to be around 1,000-1,500 because this is what most tournament players are used to.

Most poker chip sets will come with an uneven number of chips of each color. For example, a typical 500-chip set may give you 300 white chips, 100 blue chips, and 100 red chips. You will always want to use the higher quantity chip (in this case, white) as the lowest denomination chip.

You can check out my home poker game spreadsheet if you want a calculator to see how many of each chip you will need.

Chip Allocations

Here are some quick tables to show you how how chips are required for each player.

  • Cash games

    $0.50/$1.00 game with $20 buy-in (3 chip values)

    Chip Denomination Quantity
    White $0.25 8
    Red $0.50 16
    Blue $1.00 8

    $0.50/$1.00 game with $20 buy-in (2 chip values)

    Chip Denomination Quantity
    White $0.50 20
    Red $1.00 10

    $1/$2 game with $40 buy-in

    Chip Denomination Quantity
    White $1.00 20
    Red $5.00 4

    $2/$4 game with $100 buy-in

    Chip Denomination Quantity
    White $1.00 10
    Red $5.00 18

  • Tournaments

    1,000 tournament chips with 10/20 starting blinds

    Chip Denomination Quantity
    White $10 10
    Red $20 10
    Blue $50 16

    2,000 tournament chips with 25/50 starting blinds

    Chip Denomination Quantity
    White $25 8
    Red $50 8
    Blue $100 15


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    abrahamlincoln on January 16, 2019

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    elliotthiago on July 3, 2018

    This information is EXTREMELY antiquated. Please revise. 99% of tournaments have more than 1000-1500 starting chips and don't use denominations of 1. Now its 5000-10000 starting chips with denominations of 25-100-500-1000-5000.

    Also, in cash games, you need 1-5-25 and even 100 chips to satisfy a big juicy game.

    cpep27 on February 18, 2014

    Game Structure - Chip Values

    HPG ADMIN on March 1, 2013