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Putting together a functional poker chip set

When you buy a poker chip set from us, you have 100% flexibility in putting together your perfect set. You get to chose how many of each denomination you want so that the poker chip set functions well with the types of games you play. If you take the time to educate yourself on what makes a functional poker chip set, this is great news. You don’t get this option at 99% of the places you can buy poker chips. All too often, you get what they give you, which is usually much better for them than it is for you. After all, a 500-chip set with 100 each of five different denominations works about as well as a 200-chip set that’s planned out correctly.

So now that you’ve got the freedom to chose, what should you choose?

First off, you need to give some thought to the general denominations that you want to play with. Do you want chips that reflect their real money cash equivalent (say 25¢, 50¢, $1, $5, and $25 chips), or do you want to play with fantasy stakes chips ($500, $1000, or $5000 chips) to make it more interesting? Then give some thought to the types of games you typically play, and plan out the mix of denominations as we explain below.

Real money value chips for cash games

If you primarily play cash games and are using chips as the real money equivalent of the money in play, then you’ll want to give some thought to the size of chip bankroll that you’ll need. It’s a whole different ballgame to be playing 25¢ and $1 game, than it is to be playing a $5 and $25 game. When planning a set for a cash game, plan according to the total bankroll that’s likely to be in play and give your set plenty of cushion on the high-end to avoid running short.

If you’ve played in casinos a lot, you know that virtually all of the action happens with only one or maybe two chip denominations at any given table. So if you want to mimic the casinos, figure out your core denomination and get a bunch of those. Then have a handful of higher “value-holding” denominations, and a good amount of lower denominations which will be used primarily for blinds. For example, if you’re playing a 2-4 game, make most of your set $1 or $2 chips, and then get a handful of $25 chips and twenty or so 50¢ chips. Adjust this general model for the stakes of your game. That will make the most functional set for cash games.

Fantasy stakes chips

More and more these days, we have people buying the fantasy stakes chips because of the flexibility it gives them for tournament-style play like they see on TV. The stakes you are actually playing for is irrelevant most of the time in tournaments where everybody starts with an equal, and somewhat arbitrary, amount of chips anyways. It doesn’t matter whether you’re playing for a $10 buy-in or a $500 buy-in in a tournament where everyone starts with $5000 in “fantasy stakes” chips.

The correct split of denominations for a tournament set

The critical part of putting together a poker chip set that will be used for tournaments is to get the ratio of low to high denominations correct. In general, these ratios work fairly well for cash games as well.

Best Option: Three consecutive denominations, 60/30/10 split

Our standard recommendation is that you stick with three consecutive denominations, and get a ratio of 60:30:10 from lowest to highest denomination. That’s 60% in the lowest denomination, 30% in the middle denomination, and 10% in the highest denomination. A functional set is always heavy-weighted towards the low denominations. In the casino world, consecutive denominations jump by a factor of 4 or 5 with each increment (i.e. $1, $5, $25, $100, etc.).

Next Best Option: Four consecutive denominations, 40/40/10/10 split

Quite frequently, our customers express a desire to have more than three denominations so they can take better advantage of the full color spectrum each of our sets offer. With larger sets (in the range of 500, 600, or more chips), this will work just fine. For a four denomination set, we recommend a ratio of 40:40:10:10 from lowest to highest denomination, again heavy-weighting it towards the low denominations.

Or… any option you want

Of course, these recommendations above are merely general guidelines for you to use if you like. It’s your poker chip set at the end of the day. Arrange it however you like. You may find it helpful to use these recommendations as baselines, which you can modify to suit your particular game. Or, if you know exactly what you need, just order it exactly how you know it needs to be.

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