Not All Chips Are Created Equal
Chips fall into three categories: plastic, ceramic (not actually ceramic but let’s go with it), and clay. We’ll focus on ceramic and clay here. If your budget is such that spending over 50¢ a chip isn’t something you’re interested in, that’s OK. Find the best looking/feeling (get samples!) chip that you’re willing to pay for.
Good poker chips can be had starting around 50¢ in the US and will last you a lifetime. Playing with quality poker chips is truly one of the great pleasures in life! The weight, sound, texture, heck even smell is worth the investment to most players!
Ceramic Poker Chips
Ceramic chips are made of a high quality polymer composite plastic and are used by casinos all over the world. Quality can vary depending on the type of blank the manufacture uses. The blanks are used to perform high quality printing onto and produce stunning results. Excellent stock chips are available for order and you can even have your own custom set made with a graphic design of your own. The main manufacturer of ceramic chips for casinos was a company named Chipco which has changed hands and names a few times in the past few years. As of 2019 you can still get the same quality chips from ABC Gifts and Awards. Their quality is excellent and they are a pleasure to work with.
Clay Poker Chips
Clay poker chips provide the premium poker experience and most casinos use clay poker chips. Clay chips from closed casinos or card rooms that never opened are available from a couple dealers and between private parties. You can expect to pay between 80¢ and $3 each for clay chips.
There is one remaining clay chip manufacturer that still sells custom clay chips to the home market. Originally doing business as Atlantic Standard Molding (ASM) Classic Poker Chips (CPC) are located in Maine and have a website that has pricing and ordering information. They’ve been in business for over 100 years and do amazing work!
Buying Clay Poker Chips
There have been many, many clay poker chip sets made available to the public over the years and there is a robust aftermarket of collectors buying and selling daily. The most popular meeting place for poker chip enthusiasts is The Poker Chips Forum. It’s a forum where casino resellers do business by selling chips from closed casinos and individual collectors buy and sell to each other. Other common sources are eBay and Spinetti’s Gaming Supply out of Las Vegas.