Collecting Poker Chips

Coin collectors don’t collect just coins. Many have caught the collecting bug and put together assemblies of all sorts of different items. Here’s a short history of poker chips and those who collect them.

The history of poker chips goes back a good 100 years. Today’s poker chips are mostly made out of synthetic materials, but historically chips have come in a large selection of materials, layouts and qualities.

Betting and playing games for money is not a new pastime. Gambling activities are described in old relics of most of the ancient cultures that are known to the world.

Gambling chips made out of bone and wood

Early chips would typically be made of bone, ivory, mother of pearl or even wood. And why not, those were the materials that were available, and mass production wasn’t an issue yet.

Today’s poker chips are often made of plastic. Modern chips typically have some more or less complex graphics hot-stamped on the surface. Sometimes slits have been engraved in the surface to the chips stack easier.

More expensive chips were made of clay composite, giving them a nice touch and greater weight, in short a more luxurious feeling. A brass core or steel inlay brings us to the high end of poker chips. The one where collectors of poker chips tend to look first. Chips to replace cash and other valuables

Many gadgets have been used to symbolize fate in gambling games. Way back, mysterious stones and symbolic charts filled this role, later many variations of wheels, cards and dice were used.

The betting was often performed using ready money like coins or bills, but other items carrying a real value have been used such as small gems or golden nuggets.

Of course, handling those items entails difficulty for both players and casino staff. They often have no well defined value, and the total value of a heap of golden nuggets cannot easily be assessed by either opponents or management.

With chips and tokens being used instead of cash or valuable items, it’s easier to tell how much someone has bet. In a poker tournament, having a decent picture of each opponent’s stack is essential for well-informed decisions.

Poker chips as collector’s items

Custom-made poker chips are a part of the brand of any respectable poker room, and many players collect poker chips. They keep them as souvenirs from all the places they’ve played at, or just because they like to collect.

The list of classical casinos is long. The Mirage, the Bellagio, the Taj Mahal or even Aviation Club de France on the Champs-Elysees in Paris. Showing your grandchildren proof that you were there and played cards is another reason to collect them. With time and a little effort, the collection in itself can grow into a full-fledged complement to the adventure of being there.

Games of skill require and lucky tokens

Poker chips and other gaming tokens are commonly used for good luck charms by poker players. Coins designed for special events are also popular, such as the golden World Series of Poker commemoratives.

Poker players are often a little superstitious. It’s important to bring their lucky items to the table to help them win. Bringing along the chip that won you that big tournament in The Bicycle ten years ago or the chip that you won from Phil Hellmuth before he took off into the poker hall of fame might be the key to your next big win.

Poker chips have a long history and make fun collectors items. Just be sure to put one in your pocket before you lose them all!

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