Archive for February 2013

t-licious1By: T-Licious

So you finally decide that you want to start hosting poker games at your place. Maybe you’ve got the perfect man cave underway, or you’re just starting out in the living room or garage. Either way you’ll need the basics and arguably the most fundamental purchase is a set of chips that any self-respecting host would be proud of. Now before you start down the road of composite vs. clay or 11.5 gram vs. heavier, you need to decide how large your chip-set needs to be.

Luckily I have come up with this handy guide:

  • Set of 300 chips can support up to 25 buy-ins or 1 table (typically up to 8-12 players)
  • Set of 500 can support up to 47 buy-ins or 2 tables (typically up to 16-20 players)
  • Set of 600 can support up to 56 buy-ins or 3 tables (typically up to 24-30 players)
  • Set of 1000 can support up to 175 buy-ins or 10 tables (typically up to 75-100 players)

Of course, this guide makes a number of assumptions to achieve an apples to apples comparison:

  1. Chip values: assuming unmarked chips valued at $.25, $.50, $1, $5, $10, $20 depending on the size of the set. This works roughly the same for $25, $50, $100, $500, $1000, $2000 so you can make adjustments.
  2. Starting stacks: assuming $20 stacks
  3. Tournament style: assuming you are playing tournaments where multiple buy-ins can occur up to a certain cutoff point. However, you can use the same comparison for cash games and make adjustments as needed. For example, a 500 chip set can support 47 $20 buy-ins so you could roughly support 20 $40 buy-ins. A typical home cash game may have anywhere from 6 to 10 players so 500300 poker chips set should be enough for every player to dump $80 in which would be plenty and would, in all likelihood, never happen.

Hopefully this little cheat sheet can help you zero in on the size of the chip-set you need so you can focus your remaining energy on finding a set that channels your inner casino. It’s hard to go wrong with a set of 600 unless you are preparing to host large charity games. Now go to the Texas Poker Store and find a set of poker chips that calls out “winner” to you.

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Some days you can win with an ace high and other times you can’t win with quad aces has been how we sign off our newsletters for the last couple of years. We’ve had several people comment on that from time to time but recently we had someone who shall remain nameless who refused to believe that could ever really happen. We told this individual that we had actually blogged about a game between Justin Phillips and Moriyuki Mabuchi at the 2009 WSOP. Moriyuki splashed all in with Quad Aces and Justin snap called him with a Royal Flush. All you could hear on the floor were gasps of air being taken in mixed with a few OMGs and WOWs and Uhhhhs. Not a good way to be sent to the rail. Most people would agree that that is a statistical improbability and they would be right. In fact, the odds of a royal flush and quad aces happening in the same hand are, according to the announcer on the video, 1 in 2.7 billion hands played!

Here’s the video for your viewing pleasure . . . and to prove to our Doubting Thomas friend that,  although highly unlikely, this could happen. You can be assured that if I was holding Quad Aces after the river card was turned, all my clay poker chips would be splashed in just like Moriyui’s.

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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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79 inch folding poker table topChoosing the right poker table is easy if you’re not particular and just want something that can serve the purpose for the quick “once in a while” poker games you might have at home or even in the office break room. You can get inexpensive folding table tops that can be placed on top of any lunch table in the break room or on the dining room table, or you can pick up a nice poker table with folding legs that can be set up quickly and, like the table top, can be easily stored away when not in Texas Holdem Poker Table

On the other hand, if you’re a more serious player and want a permanent table for your man cave, game room or even the family dining room, then you need to take a little time to make sure you choose the right table to fit the room in which you’re going to put it. You need to make sure that you select the right size, style, the right number of player positions, with or without built-in dealer position, with or without built-in cup holders. rockwell-conversion2Do you want it to be round, traditional oval, square or rectangular? If it’s going into the family dining room, you may want it to have a conversion dining top that will serve as an elegant dining room table while hiding the fact that there is a killer Texas Hold em poker table just under the dining surface. And, of course, you have to take your budget into consideration. You can spend as little or as much as you want, but whatever you choose, make sure that you can talk to a live person if you’re dealing with an online store so that they can answer all your questions and help you make the right decision.
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