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Professional Review of the Archetype Chip Line

NOTE: This is an unsolicited review of our Archetype chip line that was sent in by a customer who purchased the Archetype chips. Being a professional reviewer for a certain home theater publication and other magazines in the hobby genre, he wrote in that he felt compelled to "get the word out about these excellent chips", and thus submitted this review for publishing on our web site.

The Review

"Go on, ask him what he paid for them," my wife grumbled over her paltry pocket two's she was going to ride all the way to the river, again. I haven't the heart to tell her that she isn't going to be making her set as Lance is on the button, and he shuffles like an orangutan with arthritis, and somehow the cards from the previous hand always end up resting at the bottom of the deck after he's done fumbling with them. Since I folded one of the two's last hand and my wife used up the other to make her straight, I figure she isn't going to be much of a factor chasing deuce dreams down the river on this hand, so I shift my focus to the monkey and his wife.

It's true what they say, people will tell you nothing, but they'll show you everything given enough time. They'll give up the farm then look at you in that unsettled way as you begin dragging chips across the felt. That look suggests you might be cheating, or worse, in bed with the devil. It's a trick psychiatrists use when drawing out their
patients. They sit there, staring over their fashionable wire frames at you without the promise of conversation, and they wait you out. Moment by moment, the silence is unnerving. Pretty soon, your blurting things you never told your closest friends and feeling pretty 'handled' by the whole event. I imagine psychiatrists make pretty good
poker players, but what do I know? There aren't many--

"You paid six-hundred dollars for poker chips!?"

And there it is.

I was blind sided. While stalking the possibility that Lance might have been chasing a flush, his wife, Emily, and my own were discussing my latest purchase. Lanced paused a second to steal a glance at her, shrugged, then lobbed a hundred-dollar chip, unmoved by the knowledge of its actual value, into the pot and announcing his seventy-five dollar raise. Yep, he was hunting a flush, and I was pretty sure it would be a bob-tailed one at that. I considered that probably Emily had nothing as she was pretty easily distracted by the cost of the Archetypes we'd been splashing around pots all night. All of a sudden she's acting like she can't bear to handle them anymore. Maybe that's why she folded to her husband's raise, maybe not. But now I'm in the know and one king shy of my first hand of Alabama Night Riders in undoubtedly more than a year of regular play, and God, I think I can smell him lurking at the top of Lance's deck. Looks like I'm going to be dragging chips across the felt again, that is, if Lance doesn't burn him out.

"No," I say limping into his raise. "I didn't spend six-hundred dollars on poker chips."

"You lie," Susan points at me before calling the raise herself. "I saw the statement."

"You saw the total. I didn't just get chips you know. I got a couple of decks of cards too." I needle the monkey for the turn card, pretending I don't see my bride glaring at me from my left. As predicted, the turn completes my four kings, and I nearly soil myself. With one sly, and calculating move I double tap the table and pass to the wife, who does the same.

I'd been looking at different chips for ages. I've got so many samples scattered throughout my house over the last few months that I imagine I could have purchased a very nice set of chips for what I paid obtaining samples. This comes after playing for years with poker chips that I only thought were acceptable. I've made the transition from chip neophyte to chip geek in that time by clicking through poker chip
review sites across the ether in search of my perfect set. Now, as sensible as the process of obtaining samples are, there's nothing quite like playing a few hands with a mound of chips. After months of agonizing over the subtleties of one chip in comparison to another and painfully slow processes of convincing myself whether I wanted one type of chip over another, I finally decided to give the Archetypes a try. There, the money is spent, and they are on their way. Like rockets fired into the void, I hoped that I had hit my mark.

The first thing you see as you open the individual boxes are the chip edges. These edges appear surprisingly glossy, almost as if the finish were lacquered. The moment you pull a stack out, however, your attention is fixed on the stunning quality on the chip's face. They are indeed beautiful, and my first impression was that the feel was
slightly chalky, perhaps mimicking the dusty, whispery feel of a new set of real clay chips. But I have never seen clay chips that looked this sharp. Under fluorescent light the colors were very contrasty and vivid. The 25$ and 1000$ denominations were especially vibrant, eye candy to be sure. Another first impression, due in part to the rounded edge, is that these chips are somewhat thinner than traditional clay chips, but a quick check with the calipers set the facts straight faster than the life span of a boy band. The denominations that I received (1$, 5$, 25$, 100$, 500$, 1000$, and 5000$) were of identical design, but the 5000$ chip had the added enhancement of a two-toned gray base color gradient. Also, the 5000$ and 500$ chips had what appeared to be a granite look around the edges. These are some of the smartest and sexiest chips I have ever seen!

The edge graphics were the best looking among the lighter colored chips. Indeed the 100$ and 1000$ chips were more difficult to make out even under fluorescent light. There were no such problems with any of the other chips. Although they have plenty of edge enhancements, they didn't look as busy as a stack of many of the standard clay chips in the same price range and as demonstrated in television tournaments and in movies. This is not to say that I long for that traditional clay chip after receiving my Archetypes, but that it is something that you may notice after gaping at the chip face for a while. Admittedly, no edge could do that face justice. They just have that wonderful, classy look.

Out with the calipers again as I begin taking measurements of a random collection of the various denominations of my new chips. I pulled out about 15 total, all at random, and they were all within a very tight range of .005" of each other at about 1.55". The thickness of each of the chips were just as exacting, except that I noticed a slight
difference in edge depth as opposed to center depth. After closer examination I noticed that the chip edges were higher, and the depth dropped off almost immediately as you moved toward the center. This is not something I notice with the naked eye and the distance is within a tiny .005", but it is real enough. So are the chip faces scalloped or are the edges simply higher? My reasoning points me to the latter and it begins to make sense as to why.

The edges of all the chip faces are white, in fact, they looked to be bare ceramic. If this is a design element, it works on two fronts as it allows that the chip faces don't quite touch as the chips are rubbed together. Only the edges are in contact with one another concealing wear over time. Also, the white edge contrasts well against the actual color of the rest of the chip creating the illusion of a sharper edge on the chip, giving it a less rounded look. This allows the chip to appear more square-like than traditional clay chips. I have seen all-white ceramic chips (Crystal Oyster and even the 1$ denomination of the Archetypes) that look too rounded because of this lack of contrast and the overall look of the chip suffers because of it. How long it will take for this edge to wear away enough so that the faces begin to work on one another remains to be seen, but I feel confident enough that I may never see that many games of poker in my lifetime.

The dimples on the chip edges are there, and you do not have to submit the chip to any kind of magnification to notice it, but the dimples subtle and are in no way distracting, the beauty of the face of these chips do all of that. In some chips the dimple falls on one of the edge stripes or is concealed in one of the edge denomination markings and it is nearly invisible when this happens. About the best I could tell you to assuage your worries about it is to suggest that in more than twenty games played since I purchased them, I am the only one to look close enough to notice the dimples. They simply aren't a factor.

Chip splash analysis results in a pleasant stone sound that is a close relative of the slightly sharp tone of clay. This chips sound a little brighter than traditional clay and a handful hitting the pot has a nice crack that grows on you rabbit-fast. It is a crisp sound, fifth-gear, high and very pleasant. I actually prefer the sound of the ceramics.

The feel is fantastic for a non clay chip. I don't know how much R&D went into the design of this particular chip, but I am certainly pleased that they aren't the slightest bit slick or suffer in any way from being too smooth. The Archetypes feel particularly raw to me, a small step up from a stone surface texture, and they stack perfectly
without the annoying slip and slide from the slightest bump. One of my methods for determining an appropriate chip texture is to hold a stack about an inch and a half off the table and drop them, one at a time, on top of each other. Chips with an acceptable feel and texture will stack without bouncing and sliding off of one another from a height of at least an inch. The 11.5 gram coin-weighted plastic chips you can
pick up in any department store do not perform well at all at just over an inch. At three inches the Archetypes hit like Bilbo Baggins's ring on the floor of his foyer, almost magnetic with precious little bounce. As the chip stack rises, they maintain their collective attraction and do not begin to topple until I try it at a height of about four inches. A remarkable performance!

But are these chips worth that kind of money? As with anything else, worth is subjective and your dedication to the avocation of poker as a hobby or business venture should determine what is and what is not worth 'x' amount of dollars. If you play poker six times a year with friends and family, then I doubt many people could justify such a high price for chips, but if you host regular home poker tournaments, or
you take the game serious enough that it consumes a great deal of your time, many would argue that you can't afford not to own a set of ultra high quality chips. I'm not a pro player by any stretch of the imagination, but I have already made up my mind, after having spent hours using them, that I will continue to expand upon this set until I
have at least a thousand (providing I find a better way to conceal the purchase of them from my bride). The people who have been playing poker at my house over the years have had their hands on a wide variety of different chips, and everyone agrees that these are the best of the bunch. I haven't heard anything negative about the
Archetypes yet, and believe me, I've heard my share of complaints in regards to chips over the years.

Will they bring your game up? Reasonable people would laugh at even the suggestion, but I AM sitting on those Alabama Night Riders, aren't I? And I suspect the monkey across the table from me is thinking of trying to scare me off the pot with a big bet fresh off the turn. I got no complaints.

- Submitted by Chris Knox


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