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Texas Hold'Em 101: How Many Poker Chips Do You Start With?

Stack of Texas Hold’Em Poker chips next to a hand of five cards on a poker table against a black background.

Texas Hold’Em is probably the most common variety of poker. And aside from cards, chips are some of the most important components of the game. So just how many chips do you start with in Texas Hold’Em? We uncover the answers below…

Basic Texas Hold’Em Rules

Being a community card game, players are dealt two private cards (hole cards) from a standard 52-card deck and use them in combination with five community cards placed face-up on the table to achieve the best possible hand. 

Winning chips (and therefore money) from other players by having the best hand or convincing others to fold their hands is the name of the game. Therefore the number of chips you use is extremely important! So, how many poker chips do you start with in Texas Hold’Em? That depends on several factors. Let’s explore this answer in greater detail now.

Factors Affecting Starting Chip Count

Usually, Texas Hold’Em players choose between two types of home games: cash games and tournaments. The type of game you choose will determine just how many chips you start with, as PokerNews notes:

In cash games, “players buy-in for different amounts of money, and are given chips based on the amount they've chosen”. On the other hand, in tournaments, “each player buys in for the same amount of money, receiving an equal stack of chips”.

That’s not all, though. You must ensure that you give each player enough chips so they’re not constantly making change from the dealer or from other players, as Home Poker Tourney notes. In practice, this usually means that the standard Texas Hold’Em chip count per player falls somewhere between 30-50 chips. But in some games, players can have around 100 chips.

The distribution of dollar values in chips given is important, too. In simple terms, you want players to have more chips rather than less. $10,000 in chips of a high dollar value provides a player with far fewer chips than $10,000 in chips of a low dollar value. Therefore “you should issue each player the same 4/3/2/1/ ratio of chips that you should use to purchase your entire poker chip set” and make sure that proportionally speaking, you’re giving players more low-value chips than high-value chips.

Texas Hold’Em Chip Value

When playing Texas Hold’Em with five colors, the standard chip values are as follows, according to color:

  • White Poker Chip Value: $1
  • Red Poker Chip Value: $5
  • Blue Poker Chip Value: $10
  • Green Poker Chip Value: $25
  • Black Poker Chip Value: $100

How to Set Up Poker Chips for Texas Hold’Em

  1. Decide on Denominations: First, decide on the denominations. While most players will use denominations such as those listed above, you can adjust them based on the buy-in and the stakes of your game.
  2. Calculate the Number of Chips Needed: Next, figure out the total number of chips required for your game.
  3. Assign Chip Colors & Values: Decide how much each color of chips will be worth.
  4. Distribute Chips to Players: However many chips you decide to give each player, make sure each player has the same amount of chips.
  5. Stack Chips: It’s common to stack the chips with the highest denominations at the bottom and the lower denominations on top. This makes it easier to count the total value of each player's stack.
  6. Set Up the Dealer’s Tray: The dealer should have a spot to hold all unallocated chips for distribution as the game proceeds. 

Learn More With Chips and Games

We hope this has proven to be helpful when determining how many chips to start your next game of Texas Hold’Em with! 

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