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4 Different Types Of Poker Chips: Pros and Cons

Various poker chips

When it comes to hosting a poker night with friends or setting up your home poker room, having a quality set of poker chips is a must.  

But with several different types of poker chips available, it can be hard to know which to choose. Here's a breakdown of the four main types of poker chips, the pros and cons of each, and answers to common questions to help you select the best set for your needs. 

The four primary types of poker chips are: 

  • Plastic 
  • Composite Chips w/Metal Insert 
  • Clay Composite 
  • Ceramic 

Let’s take a brief look at each type.  

Plastic Poker Chips 

Plastic chips are the cheapest option - they're lightweight, come in many colors, and are fine for casual play. But serious players will want to invest in higher quality chips for a more authentic casino feel. 

Composite Chips w/Metal Insert 

Majority of poker chips on the market are made of composites of high quality plastic, also known as ABS, with a metal insert to give them added weight. They typically weigh between 11 to 14 grams each and are a great economical option for game play. They have a nice weight and feel to them and are the most durable of all chips. 

Clay or Clay Composite Poker Chips 

Clay poker chips are a big step up. 100% clay chips do not exist as they will be very brittle and can break easily. All modern "clay" chips are actually made of a composite clay/plastic material for improved durability. They aim to mimic the feel of real clay chips used in the old days. 

They have a nice weight and feel, are long-lasting, and make those satisfying clicking sounds when you riffle them. Clay composite chips are very customizable and a great mid-range option. 

Ceramic Poker Chips  

For an even higher-end choice, ceramic chips are the cream of the crop. They're made by injection molding and have graphics printed directly on the chip for crisp designs and a smooth, professional look.  

Ceramic poker chips are really made of plastic polymers, designed to mimic the sound and feel of ceramic. And these chips have the most satisfying feel when handling and splashing the pot. The major drawback is cost, as ceramic chipsets are the most expensive. 

FAQs About Different Types of Poker Chips 

What type of poker chips are best overall?  

For most people, a nice set of clay composite chips in the 11.5-13.5 gram weight range offers the ideal balance of quality, performance, customization and value. They'll give your game a professional feel without breaking the bank. 

What is the difference between clay and ceramic chips?

If you're choosing between clay or ceramic poker chips, ceramic is the higher-end option but also more expensive. Clay composite chips are more budget-friendly while still offering great performance and feel. It comes down to how much you're willing to invest. 

What is the difference between clay and composite chips? 

One source of confusion is the difference between clay and clay composite poker chips. Originally, chips were made of pure clay, but these were prone to chipping and breaking. No chips are pure clay nowadays.  

Modern "clay" chips are actually clay composite, made of a blend of clay and other materials like plastic for better durability while maintaining a clay-like feel. 

Final Thoughts 

In summary, you can't go wrong with a quality set of clay composite poker chips for your home game. They have the look, sound and feel that will elevate your poker nights.  

Consider ceramic if you want the most high-end option and have the budget for it. But most importantly, focus on enjoying the game with your friends, and may your chipstack be the largest at the end of the night! 

If you are looking for the best poker chip styles and sets, look no further than our poker chip sets page.  

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