What Are Casino Chips And How Do You Use Them?

What Are Casino Chips And How Do You Use Them?

Casino chips are basically the currency of a casino. When you enter the casino, you exchange your money for chips and then can spend the chips on whichever casino game takes your fancy. Casinos use chips to for security reasons as well as to make things easier for their croupiers.

Aside from being incredibly useful, casino chips are also one of the biggest emblems of casino life, symbolising the glamour of Las Vegas and the thrill of gambling. Picture James Bond playing poker with chips stacked high, or the tense blackjack scene in Rain Man. However, there’s a lot more to casino chips than might meet the eye, so read on to learn everything you could have ever wanted to know about them!


Why Do Casino Chips Exist?

casino chips in rowsAs mentioned above, casino chips were invented to make gambling in a bricks and mortar casino more secure, and more uniform for the casino workers. Before casino chips existed, gamblers would wager random items that made qualifying and quantifying bets very difficult.

In the 19th century, players would use coins, gold, jewellery and anything of monetary value they could get their hands on to place bets. Casino owners, however, quickly grew tired of having to assess how much items were worth, as well as how easy these items were to fake. This problem is what eventually prompted the creation of casino chips.

Casino chips were first used in an American casino, however the idea soon caught on both in the US and abroad. Now, in every casino you visit, you can expect to play with chips.


How Are Casino Chips Made?

Fake Casino Chips

The original casino chips were made out of pressed clay and they still are today. However, due to decades of chancers trying to create, and play with, counterfeit casino chips, these days casino chips are also laced with several security features which make them impossible to fake.

Each bricks and mortar casino has a unique set of chips, even if the casino is part of a bigger brand. This means that when you exchange money for chips at a casino, you can only spend them in that location. This is important as each chip needs to be backed up by the correct amount of cash.

Although casino chips now include a whole host of security features, they’re not as technologically advanced as you may think. In fact, most of the security features are simply to do with the design of the chip. For instance, casino chips will often include artwork, usually featuring the casino’s logo and name. This artwork is of a very high resolution or photographic quality, making it very hard to replicate.

In addition, each casino has a custom colour combination and pattern on the edge of the chip. This makes it easy for croupiers to identify chips from another casino, but also as they’re part of the inlay, makes them even harder to copy. Chips may even have UV markings and microchips as extra security features.

Suprisingly, casino chips that are used for tournamnets are often made with a much cheaper to produce design. This is because they have no cash value, and therefore the high levels of security aren’t needed. That being said, tournament casino chips are highly collectable, and can be sold for thousands of pounds at auctions.


How To Use Casino Chips

Roulette Wheel with Chips

Casino chips are used for all sorts of table games at bricks and mortar casinos, although blackjack and roulette are two of the most popular games which involve chips. When you exchange your money for chips at the casino, you’ll receive various colours of chips. Our ultimate guide to casino chip colours will give you a better understanding of what each colour means but, essentially, each colour represents a different denomination of monetary value.

When playing poker, you use different coloured chips, depending on how much you want to wager. Conversely, when you play roulette, you’l be offered a specific colour by the dealer. This means you’ll only play with one colour of chips, and each chip will be worth however much you want to play with. This is so that the croupier can see who’s chips are who’s as the roulette table fills up.

There are certain manners and rules, which one must abide by when playing with casino chips, as you need to be considerate of the other players at the table. For instance, it is polite to stack your chips neatly. This makes it easier for other players to see how much you have on the table and to work out if you’re competition. Of course, this works both ways, and so its advantageous for everyone in the game to play this way.

Similarly, it’s against the rules for players to hide chips out of view. Some players may try to hide large demoination chips under stacks of smaller ones, so that their opponents underestimate them. If you see someone playing like this, you should notify the dealer immediately. Casinos generally forbid this kind of trickery, as it can put customers off playing.


Cashing Your Chips In

Casino chips and cash

Once you’ve begun playing at the table and put your chips down, you cannot remove any of them until you want to cash them all out. This is due to the same reasons as mentioned above (keeping it fair for all players at the table), but it can be a little annoying as sometimes you want to hide your chips to make sure you won’t lose them.

If you do decide to cash out, most of the time you’ll have to take your chips to one of the casino’s exchange points. If you’re playing roulette, however, you may only be allowed to cash your chips out at the table you’ve been playing at, as you will have only one colour of chip and so only the croupier from that table will know how much they’re worth.

You cannot share chips in the casino, which also means you cannot give chips away to friends. If you decide you don’t wish to play anymore, you need to cash out. This ensures that the casino can keep tracks on how many chips are currently in circulation on the casino floor, and how much cash they’re worth.

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