Deciding on what kind of poker chips, sometimes called cheques (or checks), is a decision that every home poker hosts needs to make at some point. Some low-stakes home poker games use coins for poker chips because they think it is more convenient. Personally, I think this is a pain in the pass. It is annoying to have to buy a huge stack of quarters beforehand - and you also have a huge roll of quarters after the game.
Chips are used for a few reasons. Because of the standardized size and shape of chips, they are easier to manually count compared to money. The standardized weight of poker chips also allows casinos to count the chips by simply weighing them. One of the biggest reasons that casinos use chips is that gamblers bet more with chips then if they used cash. And now that they have a long history behind them, chips have become an integral part of the gambling experience, and gamblers (especially poker players) enjoy using them.
You also have virtual casino chips when you play table games at online casinos. For example, when playing casino with live dealer it tries to mimic the real casino experience by having you seated at a real table where a real croupier will be dealing the cards for blackjack or baccarat, or spinning the wheel for roulette. The virtual casino chips that come in different denominations are laid out on the table in front of your seat.
Casino chips generally have no value outside of the casino, though in Nevada, some casinos may honor chips from other casinos. Certain businesses, especially workers that make tips (such as waiters or taxis) may accept them informally.
Chips used by casinos always have a custom design with custom colors, and have the denomination and the name of the casino on the face of the chip.
Chips used in tournaments are usually much cheaper because the chips have no cash value. They are also much simpler in design and usually only have a single color. At high-profile tournaments, however, such as the World Series of Poker, they use custom-designed chips.
High-denomination chips - Denominations above $5,000 are rarely seen by the general public since their use is usually limited to the high-limit gambling areas which are segregated from the main floor. For very high denominations, casinos often use "plaques" (pictured to the left) which are about the size of a playing card and are marked with serial numbers.
Plaques - Casino chips are also available in denominations of $1,000 or more, depending on the wagering limits of the particular casino. Casinos in popular gambling areas that permit high wagers, such as Nevada or Atlantic City, can have chips available in $5,000, $10,000, $25,000, and more.
Non-standard denominations - Casinos sometimes use uncommon chip denominations for specific reasons. The $2.50 chips are used mostly at blackjack tables, since a "natural 21" (a 21 on the first two cards dealt to a player) usually pays 3-to-2 and many wagers are in increments of $5. The $20 chips are used mostly at baccarat and pai gow poker tables where the game charges a 5% commission on some wagers. The $20 chips can also be used at the roulette and craps table where a player can make a 4-way $5 bet. The $20 chips can also be used in $10/$20 poker games. The $8, $88, and $888 chips are common in casinos that cater to Chinese gamblers because the number '8' is considered lucky in Chinese culture.
The standard size for official casino chips is 39 millimeters in diameter. Although home poker chip have no official standard width, the majority of home poker chips are 40mm in diameter. Home poker chips are tend to be a little thicker than official casino chips. The size of your poker chips is important if you will be using or buying chip racks because you need to make sure the chips fit well.
Overstamping is not used often since the stamp could easily be missed by a cashier cashing in the chips.
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