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Here's my page all about poker chips. Have you ever wondered where the practice of using chips came from? Well, I've done a bunch of reading up on the history of poker chips, so I'll try to fill you in to the best of my ability. You can probably imagine way back when people were playing games and they needed some way to keep track of who bet what. Paper was a popular substitute for cold hard cash as well as small pieces of ivory, bone and clay. This was a great idea, and after all, it's one thing to bet a handful of gold coins, but quite another to stack them all on the table beside someone's equal stack of silver and copper coins and say they're worth the same. Such a messy table could lead to possible distractions and theft, not to mention confusion as to which stack belonged to whom. So people started using these money substitutes instead of the gold coins or what have you. At the game or the casino, there would be a "bank" with a big supply of these substitutes, and you could exchange your gold, silver or whatever for them. At the end of every game the winner would then return the money substitute for the cash. But this led to more problems than having stacks of cash on the table. Unscrupulous players would copy these makeshift chips and add or subtract from their stack at will, stealing from the other players. Also these chips didn't stand up well to prolonged use, leading to bits breaking off, and people getting confused as to the original bet.

One thing led to another, and poker chips started becoming more durable and harder to duplicate. The most common material types used today in the manufacture of modern poker chips are plastic, clay composite and acrylic composite. Clay chips, the oldest of the bunch, have been manufactured in America since the late 1800s. By the 20th century, poker chip designs began to play a greater roll than just showing the denominations, and the smooth edges of older chips gave way to chips with engraved slits to keep them neatly stacked together. When people started to want to play poker at home for fun (or money), they wanted poker chips for themselves, but couldn't afford the prices charged for authentic casino chips, so affordable plastic poker chips started to be manufactured in the 1940s. Most people you know will probably have an old set of poker chips in the house for when they have t friendly get together. And more people these days might also have a more expensive set of poker chips, as they are starting to become much more affordable to the average Joe. But there are probably some out there who will never touch a real casino poker chip, because they prefer to play poker online. It's got to be the fastest growing online game out there at the moment, and that's the only way some folks will play. but despite online poker's rise, there's nothing like the feeling of shuffling heavy clay poker chips in your hand, tossing the chips into the center of a casino table or stacking up the tall piles of chips after showing a victorious hand.

Now you know a bit about the history of poker chips, and I bet you're itching to get to a casino to get your hands on some of the real ones. For a bit of a treat, I've got a few images of some real chips from various eras and casinos. There's a variety of pictures here, and some even show how far the casinos went to design a really nice-looking and unique poker chip. Enjoy.

 


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