How Are Poker Chips Made?

min read
Stacks of various colored poker chips on a green felt casino table.
BetMGM Jan 21, 2022, 12:51 PM

Whether you’re a novice or experienced poker player – or if you just have an inquisitive mind – then you’ve probably had a careful look at poker chips and asked yourself, “How are these made?” Although there is the option to play poker online, purists generally enjoy the thrill and suspense of live poker, and the opportunity to socialize with like-minded people. Regardless of whether you prefer online poker or live poker, you’re bound to have questions on poker chip values, how poker chips are made, the materials used, as well as the variations and colors.

Let’s explore these questions in detail below.

Materials used to make poker chips

Fortunately, the various materials used to make poker chips mean that they can be budget-friendly to produce and acquire. Three of the most common materials used are clay, ceramic, and plastic, each of which have variations. With the clay and ceramic chips being widely known as more expensive s, they are generally preferred by casinos for poker tournaments. Naturally, this doesn’t apply to online poker tournaments.

Known to be less common than those mentioned above, metal chips are the go-to material for those who are looking for unique and one-of-a-kind poker chips sets. Those who play  poker on a smaller scale may opt for the plastic poker chips, which are cheaper. 

How poker chips are made

A point of interest when it comes to the making of poker chips, is that store-bought or commercially manufactured chips are different from those found at casinos. Why, you may ask? To avoid forgery. Even though the making of these chips may differ, there are two primary methods used; injection molding and compression molding, which is used for clay and clay composite chips, such as those found at MGM casinos.

Compression molding

If you happen to be someone who enjoys playing casino games that involve chips as a currency, such as Texas Holdem poker, then you may be interested to learn about the compression molding process of making clay Texas Holdem poker chips. This process involves high pressure and heat, which ultimately allow for the design and shape to be created.

A simplified explanation of this is that the bottom part of the mold cavity needs to be heated, where the base-colored disc is then placed. The top part of the mold cavity is then placed on top of it, with pressure being applied to ensure that the clay mix fits into all parts of the mold to take on its pattern. Before the compression, the inlay, which is for the center of the chip, is inserted to form part of the chip.

The middle part of the chip often has some sort of distinct branding or design, or in some cases, the chip’s denomination – which indicates the poker chip values. The edge spots are created when the manufacturer cuts out certain parts of the clay around the disc, and then inserts the desired color of clay for completion. 

Injection molding

Known as the relatively easier way of making poker chips, the injection molding process for ceramic chips is less complicated because ceramic chips, unlike clay chips, have a single base color. 

The design of a ceramic chip is transferred – through digital printing – directly onto the single-colored chip. This means that the inlays that form part of the compression molding process aren’t required. The digital printing element of this process also allows for unique and customized chips to be created because there are no limitations to the designs that can be produced through dye sublimation.  

Colors and chip values

Poker tournaments and cash games differ slightly in the poker chip values and colors that are assigned. This is due to the fact that there are no set rules in this regard. Players must be mindful of this when playing a game, so as to avoid potentially confusing the chip values and colors. If you’re playing online poker, though, this may be less of a concern because of the nature of online poker tournaments. Below are some of the most common colors and the poker chip values for poker tournaments:

  • Green – 25 chips
  • Black – 100 chips
  • Purple (sometimes substituted by Pink or Blue) – 500 chips
  • Yellow – 1,000 chips
  • Orange – 5,000 chips
  • Dark Green – 25,000 chips

For cash games, the common colors and values are:

  • White or Blue – $1
  • Red – $5
  • Green – $25
  • Black – $100

Another aspect to take into consideration during tournaments is that the denominations can be much higher than in a cash game. This means that the stakes are even higher and you can’t afford to be dismissive of the chip values. Generally, the denominations need to be clarified and emphasized to all players beforehand to avoid any misunderstandings, and in some cases, clearly stipulating the denominations on the actual chip is preferred.

Play poker online at BetMGM

Whether you’re planning on buying your very own poker chips for home use, or if you prefer  playing Texas Holdem poker online with friends, now you can participate with a slightly more informed view on the chips at your disposal! 

On the flip side, if you’re familiar with MGM casinos, then you probably know that playing online poker is fast gaining traction in various parts of the world. Experience the thrill and excitement for yourself by signing up with BetMGM to enjoy the best of poker and other casino games wherever you are.

Actress Vanessa Hudgens flipping casino chips next to the text "The King of Casinos"
About the Author


Read More

Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.