POKER

The Ultimate Guide to Casino Grade Poker Chips: Weight, Size, and Value

By David Huber
July 02, 2024

The decision to invest in a set of casino grade poker chips can add quite a bit of prestige to your poker home game.

The popularity of friendly live poker games has endured over the past few decades, and actually saw somewhat of a resurgence following the temporary shutdown of commercial land-based casinos during the 2020 calendar year. And there’s nothing quite like a set of high quality poker chips to impress your guests — regardless of whether you’re hosting a mid-stakes No Limit Texas Hold’em game or just enjoying the atmosphere in a micro-stakes penny game.

In this article, we’ll dive into the ins-and-outs of buying casino grade poker chips, what you should look for, and other particulars that retailers may offer such as customization and materials.

casino grade poker chips dimensions details

How Much Do Casino Grade Poker Chips Weigh?

Although the specific weight can vary immensely depending on the hosting venue, casino grade poker chips tend to weigh at or around 11.5 grams. There are quite a few factors that go into the exact weight of a high grade poker chip, including whether the chip contains a metal slug, whether it’s made of plastic or clay (or some combination of rare materials), and its intended use (home game versus casino play).

With that said, you can actually customize a set of casino grade poker chips if you visit certain retailers, and the weight of a high quality set of chips can range anywhere from 9 grams to 15 grams! If you’re a regular poker player who frequents live games, you’ll most definitely notice the difference between a 9-gram poker chip (or 15-gram chip) compared to the 11.5 gram weight that is customary in many U.S. card rooms.

There’s sort of a running joke in terms of dealing with 15-gram poker chips — with some poker players claiming that you might need to build up muscle if you’re planning on going all-in with the heavier chips. And while it’s not quite that bad in practice, heavy poker chips don’t always translate into higher quality. A heavy chip can be less “bouncy” on certain card playing surfaces.

You’ll also find that the lighter 9-gram chips may be more difficult to control and are prone to pot splashing when a few of them get tossed in during a big hand.

As a rule, you’ll want to keep the chip weight at or around 11.5 grams if you’re truly looking to buy a set of casino grade poker chips.

What is the Correct Size of a Poker Chip?

Generally speaking, casino grade poker chips will be right at 39 millimeters in diameter, with higher denomination chips as large as 48 millimeters. As far as poker chip thickness goes, a good benchmark will be at or around 3.5 millimeters.

Of course, there is an infinite amount of customization that can go into a poker chip set if you’re purchasing from a licensed retailer, but you’ll usually want to stay away from “novelty” chip sizes if you plan on using the chip set in your own games. Guests may balk at super-small poker chips and may not enjoy the experience as much if the chips are similarly too large to comfortably handle.

The size of a poker chip should never interfere or distract from what players have come to expect and typically use when playing in a live card room or casino. The exception to this would be if you’re purchasing a customized chip set that you plan to use as a “display only” prop in your own gaming area.

Still, the best way to ensure that you’re purchasing casino grade poker chips is to stick with the generally accepted size and weight of the chips themselves.

Do Casino Grade Poker Chips Have RFID?

Most licensed card rooms and brick-and-mortar casinos will have RFID chips installed inside their larger denomination poker chips. So while it may be difficult (or impossible) at this time for a casino to pinpoint to exact location of one specific $1, $5, or $25 chip, you can usually rest assured that $5,000 and $25,000 chips (and above) can be tracked by casino software in cases of loss or theft.

However, purchasing casino grade poker chips with RFID software is something that will require a specialty order, which can only be processed by select retailers. If you’re seriously considering going the RFID route, you can expect to pay much more for your set of poker chips. This means that the final price of the poker chips set may increase from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars once you include the hardware-software integration and user interface.

Unless you’re hosting a very serious card game, it’s unlikely you’ll be in the need for an RFID poker chip set.

Can I Buy Branded Casino Grade Poker Chips?

Depending on the size of the city you reside in, you may be able to purchase WSOP or World Poker Tour chip sets right off the shelf at participating retailers, including Walmart!

Both the World Series of Poker and the World Poker Tour have produced branded chip sets with chips that weigh exactly 11.5 grams and fulfill the size parameters of what you can expect to find when participating in sanctioned events hosted by those brands.

In some cases, you may be able to reach a VIP rewards tier while gaming at properties owned by these brands (or their subsidiaries or parent companies) that allows you to exchange reward points for casino grade poker chips. These will be perfect for your home came and come with denominations already printed on each chip.

These exclusively branded chip sets also abide by the denomination color rules, meaning that you’ll be able to identify a chip’s value by color. There’s more information related to this below.

What is the Las Vegas Poker Chips Value?

The color guide for Las Vegas poker chip denominations is as follows:

  • $1 chip (white)
  • $5 chip (red)
  • $25 chip (green)
  • $100 chip (black)
  • $500 chip (lavender)

There are a few exceptions to this rule, but you’ll usually find that the color scheme of American casino chips is uniform across the majority of brick and mortar casinos and poker rooms.

Can I Get Chip Sets with Denomination in Cents?

Low-stakes poker games make up a large part of the casual home game community. For this reason, it is somewhat common for players and hosts to request orders that feature denominations in cents as opposed to dollars.

The good news is that you can absolutely get your hands on casino grade poker chips that come in cent-denominations, as long as you are willing to pay a premium for the customization.

These premium poker chip sets will need to be sold either by a specialized retailer or direct from the manufacturer. The typical denominations for low stakes poker chips is as follows:

  • $0.01 chip (white)
  • $0.05 chip (red)
  • $0.25 chip (green)
  • $1 chip (blue)
  • $5 chip (yellow)
  • $25 or $100 chip (black)

The color guide rules aren’t nearly as fixed for low stakes denominations as they are for traditional dollar denominations. As long as you have a couple hundred dollars to splurge on a customized chip set, you can set the colors to your liking. Either way, your home game guests will thoroughly enjoy having customized chips to use in their casual low stakes games.

Is There a Collector’s Market for Poker Chips?

Collectible poker chips act similarly to precious metal numismatics in that a $1 casino chip can range in collectible value from $1 all the way up to $25 or more.

However, contrary to numismatics, a collectible poker chip is often graded for value without considering the raw materials used to create it — but more for how they were used. For example, a one-dollar poker chip issued by a casino that is still in business will likely be worth exactly that, one dollar.

But if you’re lucky enough to get your hands on a one dollar chip that was used by a prestigious casino that has long since closed its doors, then the value of that chip can be upwards of $25 on the collectibles market.

READ MORE: Free Online Guide for Casino Chip Collectors

Also, just like precious metal numismatics, the value printed on a collectible poker chip may have little to no influence on its current day value. It’s also worth mentioning that collectible poker chips may increase or decrease in market value at any given time. This is because the market for these chips is very small in comparison to active chips that can be exchanged at an existing card room or casino.

Are Casino Grade Poker Chips Made of Clay or Plastic?

In reality, you can find very high grade poker chips that are made of both materials, either clay or plastic.

It’s often the actual process that goes into making a casino chip that will determine its utility, not the raw materials themselves.

However, there IS a distinctive difference in sound between clay and plastic chips, and this sound can add to a live card room atmosphere. There’s nothing quite like walking into a card room for the first time and hearing the nonstop clinking of poker chips as they are being shuffled, tossed into pots, and ultimately raked in by players.

Clay chips tend to have a somewhat “softer” sound than their plastic counterparts, but really it just depends on the process that goes into making the chip. This will determine how well it is received by players at live poker tables.

Do Casino Grade Poker Chips Vary by Variant or Game Format?

Yes and no. The difference in poker chips comes into play when comparing competitive Player versus Player (PvP) poker games to casino style pit games. You’ll often find that the printed design for casino chips is vastly different from actual competitive poker chips, although the color denomination rules tend to stay the same.

You don’t really need to worry about this if you’re hosting a home game, though. Poker chips work just the same for an Omaha or Seven Card Stud game as they do for a Texas Hold’em game. There’s zero difference.

classic casino poker chips

Still, you WILL find a distinct difference in printed design between cash game and tournament chips at many casinos. A $100 cash game chip and a $100 tournament chip at a casino will usually have distinct designs, and in some cases, the weight, size, and materials may be slightly different as well.

But again, as long as you’re hosting a home cash game, you really don’t need to worry about different chip set designs. Simply choose a design of your liking, and you’ll be able to use the same casino grade poker chips for all competitive games. This is true even if you decide to play a one-off round of Indian Poker or Irish Poker.

How Much Does a Complete Set of High Quality Poker Chips Cost?

Anywhere between a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars. Customized per-request poker chip sets will typically be more expensive than off-the-shelf products. If you’ve got the money to spend, then a customized poker chip set can easily run into four figures if you’re requesting a lot of customization.

Yet, for the most part, you should be able to purchase casino grade poker chips for a few hundred dollars. The chips themselves will typically include a chip case, one or more deck of cards, a dealer button, and perhaps other poker-themed items like a card guard protector.

Remember that the more chips you request or buy (as in quantity), the more expensive the entire set will be. A 300-chip poker set will be less expensive to purchase than its 500-chip or 1000-chip counterpart.

If you’d like more information on how to distribute poker chip denominations, you can check out our guide on a fair poker chip distribution for a $20 poker night.

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David Huber poker author
Written By.

David Huber

David Huber has been involved in the poker industry for close to two decades: initially as a professional online poker player and later as an editor, consultant, writer, and forum manager. Known as “dhubermex” online, David’s poker-related work has been heavily published across numerous websites since 2004.

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