Poker Chip Buying Guide

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The Poker Chip Buying Guide - Materials:

Generally there are several major categories of poker chip materials but they all involve a polymer. Ceramics are a hard polymer, China clays are a slightly more coarse mixture involving polymer. Metal slug ABS chips, yup, polymer with a metal insert.

One thing important to remember, the term ‘clay’ is overplayed. Even with premium compression molded clay chips made of clay, the clay itself is misunderstood.

Clay is very very fine. People describe premium compression molded clay chips as having a chalky feel. I am very familiar with clays like montmorillonite, bentonite, kaolinite (China clay) and If you separate clay from all the silts, sands and organic matter you get something that generally feels like baby powder. Yes, writing chalk is kind of similar, especially heavily dyed sidewalk chalk as it has a soapy, waxy, mildly gritty feel to it.

Clay is often added to plastics for various properties and is VERY hard to distinguish. Toyota famously added 3-5% clay to nylon to increase heat resistance. You know those plastic engine covers in you car? Those are plastics with clay additives. Feel those, do they feel chalky? If I had to describe those plastics I would say they do NOT feel chalky.

Many poker chips MAY have clay in them, it is just very very hard to tell by feel. Even chips with high percentage of clay still need a polymer or binders to hold them together and keep them from dispersing on your sweaty fingers or when you clean them. My point is that you need to determine your own preferences and don’t be overwhelmed when it seems every chip on the market uses the term ‘clay’.

While discussing materials I want to make something clear. Many poker chips have heavy metals in them and should be kept out of the reach of children. I would also avoid putting your fingers in your mouth or eating while handling chips. All of you shuffling chips while watching YouTube please wash your hands before eating. Many polymers, inks and other people’s thumb juice are also not desirable for human consumption.

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Poker Chip Buying Guide CONTENTS

Page 01 - Intro
Page 02 - Budget
Page 03 - Direction
Page 04 - Chip Materials (You Are Here)
Page 05 - Chip Types
Page 06 - Quantity
Page 07 - Breakdown
Page 08 - My Experience
Page 09 - Recommendations
Page 10 - Useful Links

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Last Update: 26 Mar 2017