The Basics of Casino Chip Value and Color

min read
Casino chips stacked on a white surface.
BetMGM Sep 05, 2023, 2:07 PM

Chips are the practical currency of any land-based or online casino game. Although mainly circular, you may also see rectangular-shaped tokens used at high-stakes tables. Either way, they replace real money when playing popular games like blackjack, poker, and roulette.

Have you ever wondered why casinos use chips and not cash? Or what the various casino chip color values mean in different establishments? If you have, this article will answer all your questions and more.

History of Poker Chips

Modern poker chips are made from one of three main materials: plastic, clay, and ceramic. Gamblers playing at home may opt for plastic chips as they’re the cheapest. Land-based casinos, cardrooms, and more serious players tend to use the more expensive ceramic or composite clay chips.

These chips are a far cry from the early days. Anything from bits of wood, bones, or ivory would have been used in a Wild West saloon, for instance. But in the late 1800s, it was recognized that these types of “chips” could easily be copied. So, with this in mind, manufacturers were commissioned to produce clay-based chips with customized designs for gaming venues. 

Chip Color Values

There is no international standard for casino and poker chip colors. Instead, each venue or organization has its own setup, varying between casinos and companies. 

For instance, if you’re playing in a live poker game, be sure to understand each denomination. Mixing up the assigned poker chip values could lead to costly mistakes when assessing your opponent’s stack. Similarly, you wouldn’t like to accidentally bet a $100 chip at the blackjack table instead of $10.

Casino Chips

Here’s a list of casino chips value by color at most U.S. casinos:

  • White: $1.
  • Red: $5.
  • Blue: $10.
  • Green: $25.
  • Black: $100.
  • Purple: $500.
  • Yellow: $1,000.

Poker Chips

The colors and values of poker chips also vary. The World Series Of Poker uses the following setup for the Main Event:

  • Green: 25.
  • Black: 100.
  • Purple: 500.
  • Yellow: 1,000.
  • Orange: 5,000.
  • Dark green: 25,000.
  • Hot pink: 50,000.
  • Lavender: 100,000.
  • Beige: 250,000.
  • Red: 500,000.

Why Use Chips?

Chips are a much better form of currency than cash to handle at casinos. They are easier to store, clean, and calculate than piles of notes and coins. They also make the whole cash-out process much quicker.

Psychologically, the more chips you have, the luckier you feel. Players tend to gamble more comfortably with chips than cash. Somehow, chips make money seem abstract. This, in turn, means punters are more willing to set a stack of chips down than a wad of dollar bills.

Chips also speed up the game considerably. There’s no waiting for players to fish money out of their wallets, and chip values are clearly marked. Players can quickly assess their opponents’ stacks and make an informed decision.

Playing with chips also reduces the chances of opportunistic thieves trying their luck. Grabbing a handful of cash and making a dash for the door is easy. But chips are essentially worthless on the street. They must be traded for cash inside the casino.

Live vs. Online Games

For those who wish to play poker online, there’s a whole new world to discover. The best online poker sites offer a wealth of popular games at a variety of stakes. However, online sites still make use of chips, even if they’re a digital representation. And all of the same points apply in that each site and poker room adopts different stack sizes, structures, and colors. 

This is also true of regular casino table games online. It may be an animated version using RNG software or a live game hosted by a real dealer in a studio. Some people prefer the more immersive experience of live dealer games compared to classic online casino games. Either way, you’ll see a representation of chips on your screen that you can use to place your bets. 

Cost of Chips

If you’re asking, “How much are poker chips worth?” in terms of purchasing them for your own use at home, it depends on the quality. 

You can pick up a good set of 500 composite clay-painted chips for anywhere between $100 and $200. They usually come in a protective carrying case, along with dice and a dealer button. Plastic chips are much cheaper; rare, collector’s items could be far more expensive.

Managing Your Chips

Now that you know all about them, you’d better brush up on how to handle your chips. Here’s some advice to take with you on your next casino visit.

Buying Chips

When approaching a casino table, simply lay the bills on the table in front of the dealer. Don’t try to hand the cash to the staff. There are security measures in place, and they have to exchange the money for chips in a certain manner. You’ll see the dealer showing their empty palms and spreading out the chips for the overhead cameras to observe.

Swapping Chips

When playing poker, if you want to bet a smaller amount but only have high-value chips, ask a neighboring player for change. Better still, get the dealer to take care of it. They can exchange it for smaller-value chips at the end of a pot. But don’t distract them in the middle of a hand you’re not involved with.

Splashing Pots

Never throw chips into the middle or spread them all over the table when placing bets. In poker, this is called “splashing,” and it’s very annoying. It’s easier for everyone (especially the dealer) if you just push your chips slightly in front of you. If there’s a lot, keep them in neat piles.

String Bets

When raising, announce it verbally before moving chips to the middle. It’s against the rules to put some chips into the pot and then go back for more. This rule is designed to reduce angle shooting, which is the practice of using questionable tactics to get an edge over opponents.

Chip Tricks and Skills

If you’d really like to impress your fellow casino-goers or intimidate your opponents at the poker table, you might want to learn some chip tricks. Plenty of easy-to-follow tutorials online teach you how to shuffle stacks of chips and perform all kinds of cool skills.

The Chips Are Down at BetMGM

With chips playing such a vital role in casino games, knowing the basics is helpful. Being able to quickly see the value of your opponent’s chip stack in a poker game can only be beneficial. Understanding the different denominations should also lead to fewer mistakes. When playing online, digital chips help replicate the feeling of being in a real casino.

Register with BetMGM to discover a wealth of poker, slots, and casino games. You can practice with play-money chips in demo mode or jump straight into the real money action.

Actress Vanessa Hudgens flipping casino chips next to the text "The King of Casinos"
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Our BetMGM editors and authors are casino experts with a wealth of knowledge of the online casino industry at all levels. Their coverage includes company news, game reviews, how-to instructional articles, strategy guides, and editorials showcasing BetMGM’s superior product and game library.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are casino experts with a wealth of knowledge of the online casino industry at all levels. Their coverage includes company news, game reviews, how-to instructional articles, strategy guides, and editorials showcasing BetMGM’s superior product and game library.