How To Solve The Problem Of Slick Poker Chips

Sunday, February 10, 2013

T-LiciousBy T-Licious

The feel of poker chips is definitely a matter of personal taste. What some poker players like, others don’t; that’s just the way it is. For example, a few years ago I ordered a set of 600 poker chips and couldn’t wait to get them.  When I ordered them,  the description made them sound like they were the closest thing to worn casino quality clay chips I could purchase without spending a lot of money.  When they arrived I opened them up, took out a small stack and shuffled them together.  For some players they may have felt great, but  was I ever disappointed.  I was expecting a flat sound and a sort of chalky feel like ‘clay’ seemed in my mind.  These made a higher pitched clink and felt like slick plastic.  What could I do?  I thought about spraying something on them, applying labels, or sanding them but I sure didn’t want to jump to a solution that would leave them ruined.  So I searched the web and finally found a video of some British chap sanding his chips down…down to nothing with 60 grit sandpaper.  I was horrified.  Sure they stuck together well – they had been scraped raw.  There was a pile of colored composite plastic on his workbench and you could hardly make out the design.  However, it gave me an idea.  Why not start with 400-600 grit wet sand paper and see if removing the smallest nano-layer would do the trick.  It took some time but my chips feel even better to me than some casino clays I’ve played with.

"Casino, Las Vegas" inlaid coin poker chips

What you will need:

– 400 grit wet sandpaper (hardware store: one sheet for every 50 chips)

– Two-sided sink

– Large bath towel

– Poker chips


1.  Fill one side of sink with water and small amount of dish soap, and the other side with plain water.

2.  Take out a sheet of sandpaper and wet the rough side thoroughly under the faucet.

3.  Take a chip and gently sand using about ten small circular motions.  Flip it over and repeat on the other side of the chip (do not mess with the sides/edges).

4.  Toss chip in soapy side of sink.

5.  Repeat with 4 more chips to sample your results.

6.  Rinse chips in water-only side of sink.

7.  Spread out wet chips on towel and fold over to dry.

8.  Compare your stack of 5 rejuvenated chips with 5 originals and see if they are sticky enough..  If not, add more pressure or more sanding circles.

9.  Once you have your sanding regimen refined, repeat with 50 chips making sure to use all areas of the paper and rinsing the residue after every 10-15 chips (tip: after you are comfortable with one you can move up to sanding two or three chips at a time using index, middle, and ring fingers.  Any more than 3 seems to produce irregular results..)

10.  Continue with another batch of 50 chips and start with a new sheet of paper each time.

So- don’t throw out those nice new composite poker chips or give them away to your brother-in-law just because they don’t meet your initial expectations.  Customize their feel through a low-cost solution and you will be amazed with the results.

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