Poker chips have a long and colorful history. The first poker chips were nothing like today’s sleek and durable chips. However, the poker chip’s purpose has always been to represent money.
There are countless varieties of poker chips available today from numerous manufacturers, vendors, and dealers. There are many features that make a poker chip unique including composition, weight, artwork, personalization, and size.
Some common compositions are: composite resin, clay composite, clay, ceramic, and plastic. Composite resin poker chips are the most common and most mass produced with two of the most popular designs being the striped dice and suited poker chips. Clay composites give the look and feel of the more expensive clay poker chips. The most popular of the clay composite poker chips is the 14 gram tri color design. The real clay chips are still available in several brands, with Paulson being one of the most popular.
The typical weight of poker chips for the home market is 11.5 grams and these chips are usually the composite resin type with a metal washer on the inside for weight. These chips are a little heavier than the typical casino chip, which is generally 9 to 10 grams. As time and poker popularity marched on heavier poker chips hit the market. These heavy poker chips basically made a slow march up the weight scale with one trumping the other, but they seemed to finally reach the practical limits at 15 grams. Before these whopper poker chips weights of 12 gram , 13 gram, 14 gram, and slight variations of these weights hit the market.
Within each composition there are countless designs. Most designs are part of the mold or manufacturing process that creates each poker chip. These intricate processes often see up to three colors per chip with at least 5 unique color combinations and sometimes up to 10 or more. Other casino poker chips will created a design on the metal insert that gives the chip weight and expose the insert in the middle of the chip. A very popular design to make a poker chip unique is by inlay. Inlay are basically a sticker, but there are varying qualities of inlays and inlay style poker chips. Some inlays are cheap paper lables, while others are high quality, water proof, and cleanable with mild soap and water. Additionally, some poker chips have the inlay manufactured into the chip.
Certain poker chips are made to accept custom inlays. This chip customization option allows the customer to choose virtually any graphic on the poker chips that they desire. This is because the custom inlays are printed in color and can contain virtually any number of colors that a color printer can produce.