It’s something most players take for granted. They simply buy in, take a seat at the table, and start riffling those poker chips as they wait to get dealt in on the next hand. But along with those playing cards, chips are a huge part of any game. Poker chips of varying colors are used to represent money in a cash game, and also certain values during tournaments.
Poker Chip Values in Tournaments and Cash Games
Chips have long been used to represent cash and make it easier for players and casinos to wager. A player’s chips are his weapons and they vary in color and denomination based on the stakes involved or level in a tournament. For example, here’s a look at chip values one might find in cash game in a Las Vegas Strip property.
Common poker chip values and colors
・White – $1
・Red – $5
・Orange – $10
・Yellow – $20
・Green – $25
・Black – $100
・Purple – $500
・Maroon – $1,000
Tournament chip value and colors may differ and it’s important to note that in most tournaments, chip values do not represent actual dollar values. These are merely amounts used throughout the tournament. Players start with a certain amount and hope to increase that as blind levels increase.
Blind levels are increased throughout a tournament so there is more action and so that players begin to get eliminated. Some tournaments may allow re-entries over a certain amount of time and players can receive another starting stack. As players progress through the tournament, lower value chip may be “colored off” with more colored chips with larger denominations being worked into the tournament.
The goal is to accumulate all the chips in play and ultimately have them all – that means you’ve won the tournament. Here’s a look at some examples for tournament values. Notice that these do not represent any actual monetary values, so standard symbols for dollars, pounds, or euros aren’t used.
Poker Chip Values and Colors in Poker Tournaments
・White – $25
・Red – $50
・Orange – $100
・Yellow – $500
・Green – $1,000
・Black – $5,000
・Purple – $10,000
The Basics of Poker Chip Values and Colors
Like cash games, tournament chips are coloured to represent different values. Players begin with a standard number of chips and hope to buildthem up throughout the tournament.
Those small colored markers come in numerous colors and weights, and are used in home games, cash games, and major tournaments around the world. Whether you just want to know the history of this critical part of the game or needs some ideas for some chip-shopping for your home poker room, 888poker Magazine has you covered with everything you might ever want to know about those multi-colored markers that mean so much to the game.
In poker, the value of a chip depends on the game or event. Values in cash games are used in a direct representation of cash. Players in a $1/$2 No Limit Hold’em game who buy in for $300 will receive that amount in chip value. Colors vary by casino, but tend to follow similar patterns at least for lower values.
There is definitely no certain casino standard, although white and red tend to be favored for $1 and $5 amounts. This is merely a guide as to what to expect at a poker room. Denominations can also go higher for players in some real high-stakes action.
However, for higher denominations some properties like the Borgata also have larger sizes than the standard chip including a $500 (purple/yellow) and $1,000 (orange/black). The larger sizes make it more difficult to confuse such a high value chip with others when playing in a game with such higher stakes. That may not be the case at every property however.
For an example of a high-stakes cash game, PokerGO’s popular Poker After Dark show can serve as an example. The show, which is filmed at the PokerGO Studio at the Aria Resort and Casino has featured some of the game’s biggest names as well as celebrities who enjoy mixing it up at the felt. Massive pots have been a major part of the action over the last few years. Buy-ins and chip stacks can vary, but here is a look at chip values from an episode that streamed in December 2019. The event was a Sit and Go tournament with players starting with 125,000 in tournament chips. Here’s a look at the actual Aria tournament chips used in the event, with four different colors and values used to get the event started.
Determining Chip Values and Stack Sizes in a Home Game
If you’re looking at hosting a home game with friends, there are a few things to keep in mind when planning out that cash game or tournament. It’s important to figure out your tournament structure or cash game chip values.
For a cash game, figuring this out is much easier. A simple $1-2 No Limit Hold’em game with six to eight players should be fairly easy.
One might decide to make white chips worth $1 and red chips worth $2. A player buying in for $100 might receive:
If your stakes are a little larger and you’re hosting a $2-5 No Limit Hold’em game with the same number of players, a similar guide can be crafted from the above. Most players will typically buy in a game for 50 to 200 big blinds. Players usually need more denominations equal to the big blind as that is what comes into play the most.
If you decide to raise the stakes even more, additional chip denominations may be needed.
In a bigger game such as $5-10, a player buying in for $1,000 (100 big blinds) might receive the following:
These give poker game organizers an idea on how many chips might be needed with several of each denomination. Having a few denominations make calling and raising in different values much easier.
Those hosting a tournament will also want to make sure they have enough chips and determine the value, number per player, and colors ahead of time. A small tournament of less than 40 people will generally need only four or five colors. A tournament starting with 1,500 chips will find players starting with 60 big blinds when beginning with Level 1 blinds of 25/25 before advancing to 25/50 and then 50/100. Obviously blind levels may depend on the tournament.
Here’s a look at an example number of tournaments that players might start with in the above scenario.
These starting stacks and chip values can be adjusted as needed, but this works well as a guide. Obviously, colors can also vary in both cash games and tournaments depending on the chips that you have in your home poker room.
A Look at Major Tournament Chip Values
Like cash games, tournament chips are colored differently to represent different values. Players begin with a standard number of chips and hope to increase throughout the tournament. Increasing blinds and antes throughout the tournament necessitate larger chip values are added throughout the tournament. Smaller valued chips are colored up and taken out of play.
The World Series of Poker can serve as an example of tournament colors and values. The annual event is the biggest spectacle in poker and has several tournaments underway on any given day during the series. The action is highlighted by the $10,000 Main Event, featured on television around the world, and because of so many events organizers use at least five different chip sets.
In general, most WSOP tournaments begin with green (25) and black (100) with colors switched up above those values for different events. For the Main Event, there has been a standard set of colors for the last several years.
Here’s a look at those chips with accent colors:
・$25 – green with forest green/yellow
・$100 – black with day blue/dark blue
・$500 – desert flower with maroon/pink
・$1,000 – canary yellow with plum/sherbet orange
・$5,000 – blaze orange with dark brown/tan
・$25,000 – forest green with blue/yellow
・$50,000 – hot pink with lime green/dark green (rarely used anymore)
・$100,000 – Hawaii flower with charcoal/metallic silver
・$250,000 – almond with bronze/butterscotch
・$500,000 – red with day blue/white
These values can also change, however, and have been known to be altered at the final table for better views when filming for television. Here’s an example of the number of chips involved in an event of this size. In 2018, it was Illinois’ John Cyn who took home the championship gold bracelet and $8.5 million after capturing all 393.8 million chips in play. It was a mountain of chips and a mountain of cash.
On the World Poker Tour, players usually start with 40,000 chips in most events. As an example, the Gardens Casino (located just outside Los Angeles) hosts two events each season – the $10,000 Gardens Poker Championship in January and the $5,000 Gardens Poker Festival in July.
A player buying into either of those events can expect to receive the following breakdown of chips:
Here’s a look at the actual chips one would receive to start a WPT championship event at the Gardens:
Poker Chip Colors in Europe and U.S.
Much of the above focuses on Las Vegas and other American casinos. Most U.S. casinos follow similar patterns as Vegas – multi-colored chips for tournaments and cash games, which are differentiated for security. Most are pretty similar and that goes for casino-heavy states like California, Florida, Nevada, New Jersey, and others.
In Europe, where poker continues to thrive, poker chips follow are similar to those found in the U.S. However, may properties also work in colored “plaques” for larger denominations. These rectangular objects are used the same as chips and often appear in the later stages of major tournaments.
The plaques are probably unique to most lower stakes players, but many feature unique colors and designs. They stand out among a player’s chip stack and vary a bit in size. Players looking to add some pizzazz to those tournament stacks in their home games can find plenty of them for sale online.
Chips can be unique and feature logos, but also celebrate significant events or people. Binion’s Horseshoe, the birthplace of the World Series of Poker, at one time honored poker legends at the property as seen in this Tweet.
Chips remain an important part of poker and with some kind of money on the line as players bet and bluff with them. They’re a big part of what sets poker apart from other games. As this guide shows, there are certainly many considerations that go into using them into a cash game or tournament.
Poker Chips – FAQ
What are poker chip values?
Poker cash games and tournaments use hips to represent certain amounts. In a cash game, differing colors are used to represent actual cash values. Poker chips are much easier to play with than actual cash. They can be moved around a table easily, unlike cash, and are perfect for exchanging when making change quickly. In a tournament, chips don’t represent the actual cash amount that a player uses to buy in a tournament.
Instead, these are used for starting stacks in which players hope to accumulate more chips. As a tournament progresses, blind levels escalate and players are forced to play higher chip values. Poker chips offer an easy way to represent and play for these escalating values. The goal is to keep collecting those chips and see your own stack rise.
Why do poker players use chips and what do the colors mean?
Chips represent a cash value or a tournament chip value. Players use chips to bet during a game or tournament. The goal is obviously to accumulate as many as possible. In a cash game, that means bigger winnings that can be cashed out when a player decides to leave. In a tournament, a player’s starting stack of chips do not have to represent his entry fee. However, chips are a player’s life blood in a tournament – lose them and you’re eliminated. A player who wins a tournament will have collected all the chips in play at the end.
How many chips does a person get in a tournament?
In a tournament, a player will receive the same amount of chips as all other players. That stack is the key to surviving the tournament. For example, a player in the World Poker Tour Five Diamond Poker Classic at the Bellagio in Las Vegas will spend $10,000 for the entry fee. However, all players start with 40,000 chips. The trend in poker in recent years has been for more chips, allowing for longer play for players forking over a big fee.
With blinds starting at a tiny 100/100, players have a huge stack in relation to the blinds. This offers players much more play for their money. This number of chips can also be considered arbitrary, but tournament officials have worked to meet player demand for bigger stacks to start events.
How many chips should a player get in a cash game?
In a cash game, a player’s chip stack is directly representative of the starting stack. As you win or lose, that stack can grow or decrease. For a $1/$2 No Limit Hold’em cash game, a player might buy into the game for $200. That would be about 100 times the big blind. That player’s chips would represent the actual cash value of that $200. If that player loses $20 in chips that night at the tables, he would cash out for $180. A player having a good night and winning $50 worth of chips would cash out for a nice $250.
How many chips does a player get at the World Series of Poker?
The answer to this actually depends on the event. With buy-ins ranging from $500 to six figures, players will find larger starting stacks for the high buy-in and more prestigious events. Players in 2019’s Big 50 started with 50,000 chips of varying colors and values. Blinds started at 100/200 and a 200 big blind ante, giving players a starting stack of 250 big blinds.
The special 50th Annual High Roller event offered players a 300,000-chip starting stack. with blinds starting at 1,000/1,000 and a big blind ante of 1,000. This gives players a stack worth 300 big blinds. Generally the higher the buy-in, the more chips a player gets.
What are the different types of poker chips?
When buying chips there are generally four types of poker chips. A few are more prevalent than others. Plastic chips are made cheaply and not a solid option for anyone looking to play some serious poker. Composite clay chips are very popular and fairly inexpensive. They are easy to find and can be perfect for a night of poker with friends. Composite chips have a solid feel and are easy to slide across a poker felt.
Ceramic chips are of an even a higher quality and smooth to the touch. These chips are also more easily customized for your own individual graphics. Lastly, metal or pewter chips are rare, but can make for a unique set for a home game. This style of chip is durable and can give your game a real feeling of the Old West.