I started out with a couple of simple questions in mind. How do clay poker chips differ from composite poker chips and what are the advantages and disadvantages of each? I used Google to do my research. What I found out was quite interesting.

First of all, no one makes 100% clay poker chips for mainstream retail sale. Real clay chips were used until the late 1800’s but they were too brittle and would break easily, so were replaced by clay filled composite chips that were more durable. Real clay poker chips are available from custom poker chip manufacturers/suppliers. I left these chips to the poker chip aficionados.

Each poker chip manufacturer has its own special blend of clay and some other material that it keeps top secret. These alternate materials may include plastics, complex resins and synthetic polymer acrylics. Many chips also have a metal insert to provide extra weight.

So where does this leave us? Well, it seems that all poker chips are to some extent composite poker chips. For the purposes of comparison I have placed them into four categories; Casino Poker chips, All clay poker chips, Clay poker chips and Composite poker chips.


Casino Poker Chips

Casino poker chips are the very best chips available. They have security features to prevent counterfeiting. Most casino chips are made of synthetic polymer acrylic composite with a metal coin or laminated printed inlay (log and denomination). Real casino chips vary in weight, however; the most common weight is 10 to 10.5 grams. Casino chips are generally not available from retailers. The best way to obtain them is from a casino that is going out of business or by buying them directly from a casino at face value. Purchasing chips from a casino is expensive, but to get your purchase price back, just cash them in at the casino. The advantages of casino chips are the soft feel, the soft clacking sound and the prestige of owning them. They also stack better and are better for doing chip tricks. The major disadvantage of Casino chips is they do not have a long life. They tend to wear out in a relatively short period of time (5 – 6 years) of casino play. They are expensive and as a result they require secure storage.


All Clay Poker Chips

The all clay poker chips are also Casino quality. They are made with the exact same processes as the Casino chips. Paulson poker chips are among the highest rated chips in this category. The major difference between casino chips and the all clay poker chips is the all clay chip has no security features. Like the casino chip, they lack durability and would not stand up to the rigors of long term casino use. After a few months of play, all clay chips round out i.e. the edges would lose their sharpness, and they develop a vintage look. These clay poker chips have the same feel of a real casino poker chip. They stack well and are good for doing chip tricks. They make the exact same soft “clacking” sound as casino poker chips when they hit other chips; are stacked or when they are shuffled. The all clay chips are usually pricey but again, they have a prestige value.


Clay Poker Chips

Clay filled or clay composite poker chips are the most common chips used for home poker play. The clay poker chip is made from a mixture of clay and other material molded together. A metal insert is generally placed into the middle of the inlay of the chip, to give it weight. These chips usually weigh 11.5 grams to 13.5 grams. They also have a soft feel and sound, but they come in a broader range of prices making them more affordable. NexGen poker chips are a very attractive and very well received clay composite chip which fits in the low to medium price range.


Composite Poker Chips

Composite poker chips are sometimes referred to as ABS plastic. Composite chips are made of hard compressed plastic material with no clay in them. They have a harder, slippery feel and make a clicking sound when they hit each other. Due to the slipperiness of these chips, they are harder to stack and also make chip tricks more difficult to perform.

These chips are very affordable and with proper care will last forever. If you are looking for chips for large groups of players i.e. multiple tables or if you aren’t concerned about feel and sound, you just want to play poker, these chips are worth a look.

Well, that in a nutshell is my research on poker chips. We sell have an excellent selection of the types of poker chips mentioned in the article, so visit our site and check out our Texas Holdem Poker Chips.

Uh, ceramic chip anyone?