After quite a lengthy break from any live poker action, I was happy to finally join a game last week, and that inspired me to write this article. I am sure many of you are eagerly waiting for the return of live games, so if you decide to organize your own, remember that having the right poker chips set is an important component to consider.
The reason I am specifically mentioning this is because that home game that I mentioned was carried out with cheap plastic chips and unfortunately had some misunderstandings along the way, so I want to make sure you can avoid them in your games. Without further ado, here are three things you need to consider when choosing your poker chips.
These days you can get all kinds of poker chips from plastic ones to ceramic and even custom made options to really shine in your games.
Well, for the sake of this article, let’s remove those custom chips from the equation since they tend to be relatively expensive, and most players will not usually consider this option. However, if you have some cash to spare on a premium look and feel, they can surely make your home games even more unique.
So you are basically left with plastic chips and a bit more expensive ceramic/clay option. Without even going into the details, I would never opt to have plastic ones in my games. It reduces the pleasure of playing, and these days you can easily find very inexpensive ceramic options, so there is no reason to go for the cheaper alternative.
Now, if you want to stick with ceramic chips as I would suggest, you also have a couple of options, and this mostly fluctuates based on the weight of individual chips. The standard and most common version are 11.5 gram chips, and these are good to start, but if you really want to get that premium quality, then you should go for 13.5g or 14g chips.
These are as good as the real ones used in the casino. To be honest, they are likely to be identical to those custom chips you can buy with the only difference being the picture engraved on the actual chip.
So whatever you are playing, I would suggest going for ceramic chips, and if you can, upgrade that to a 13.5-gram option to have a unique casino experience at your own home.
Another thing that you need to consider is if you need blank poker chips or ones with poker chip values denominations indicated. While there is no clear answer that will suit everyone, I do think that we can divide these options based on the poker games you are going to play.
For cash games, I would opt to have chips with numbered values. Since blinds will not be changing too often, this will help to avoid any misunderstandings, especially if you have new players coming into your games. And even if not, it just can’t hurt you in any way, so it can make the game a bit smoother to run and leave your mental capacity for more important tasks.
Now, if you are playing MTTs, this is a different story. Using blank chips can offer you a lot of freedom since you can change the value of those colors much more easily as you progress through the tournament and have to increase the blinds. This way, you will never run out of chips.
While any chips will work for both cash games and tournaments, if you know you will only play one of these formats, choosing accordingly can be a wise decision.
Last but not least, you have to consider how often you will be traveling with your chips. If you know that you are only going to use them at your own home, then you can go with whatever you like. However, if you plan to move around (e.g., you’ll be the one bringing the chips to a rotating home game), then a solid chip case is a must.
Unfortunately, that can become problematic with cheaper options since manufactures try to cut their costs wherever possible, and most of these standard cases are not very durable, to say the least. I suggest that you research your options and buy a more expensive and better case.
Plus, you can also just reduce the number of chips you are carrying around. Ceramic poker chips can be quite weighty, and if you get a set with 1000 pieces, your chip case will seriously be put to the test. Luckily, for most games, you can easily get away with the standard 500 chips set, or even a 300-piece set sometimes, so there is no need to get more than you actually use.
While many players do not consider this aspect, having your case fall apart is really unpleasant and makes carrying these chips around a real pain.
So if you want to avoid any trouble and pick the best option for your home games, just get ceramic chips, choose denominations based on your game and make sure not to be too thrifty when it comes to the chip case. After that, just enjoy and have fun in your games!