Poker Chip Values – How To Set Up Your Games and Avoid Costly Mistakes
The game of poker consists of three main parts: players, cards, and poker chips set. While players and cards were always instrumental to the game, the introduction of chips was also groundbreaking since it standardized the game and let poker spread around much easier.
Whether you play in a home game or at a casino, you’ll be using these betting discs of various colors to make your intentions known to the rest of the table.
Poker chips in every game have certain values assigned to them.
In cash games, these poker chip values are exact representations of the actual cash, i.e., a $50 chip can always be exchanged for $50 in cash.
However, poker chip denominations in tournaments are different as they are used as a means to track one’s progress in the event, but they usually can’t be exchanged for money.
Either way, knowing your poker chips values is important.
It is no secret that mistakes at a poker table can be quite expensive, and using wrong chips to call or make a bet can get you in quite a pickle.
Instead of betting $100, for example, you end up betting $400, and if you’ve ever done this, you know how bad it feels.
Most poker chips, especially in casinos, have denominations printed or engraved on them, so it’s harder to make these mistakes. However, they can still happen in the heat of the battle.
So, it’s a good idea to figure out standard chip colors, as well as most casinos tend to follow a similar pattern when determining their poker chip values.
Standard Poker Chip Values & Colors
In most cash games out there, you’ll find that chips of a certain color usually represent a certain monetary value that’s usually imprinted on them as well. Once you figure this out, it’ll be much harder to make a mistake and use a wrong stack of chips to make your bet.
- White chips – $1
- Red chips – $5
- Green chips -$25
- Black chips – $100
These poker chips values are super-common, and you’ll find that most casinos and poker rooms out there use them almost without exception.
There is even some logic to it, as the darkest chips have the highest value to them since it really stands out in a $1/$2 games, so it’s hard to confuse them.
Once you’ve been playing live for a while, the connection between the value of the chip and its color will become second nature to you. But, if you’re just starting, it’s good to try and memorize these things to avoid costly mistakes and unpleasant situations.
Of course, everyone knows you didn’t want to make it $400 over a $10 bet, but rules of poker stipulate that the bet stands if you didn’t verbalize your intention.
Some casinos also have in-between poker chip denominations, i.e., $10 chips that can be orange in color and yellow $20 chips.
However, orange is also often used for high denomination chips ($1,000) in Las Vegas. These can be a bit confusing and really aren’t necessary with $5 and $25 chips in play, so most rooms avoid them for the sake of simplicity.
As you move up in stakes, you’ll also come across higher poker chip denominations with their respective colors. Once again, most casinos follow a somewhat standard color coding so you’ll encounter:
- $500 – purple chips
- $1,000 – maroon / orange
Some venues will also make their higher-value poker chips slightly larger than the rest to further reduce the possibility of mistakes at the tables or away from them.
Larger poker chips will also stand out, which makes them easier for other players to see, making it less likely they’ll read the size of your stack wrong.
Tournament Poker Chips Values & Colors
Poker tournaments are different from cash games as blinds constantly change. So, tournaments usually require a wider array of poker chip denominations. Also, tournaments traditionally start at higher blind levels like 25/50 or 50/100, so smaller poker chips values aren’t needed.
Most casinos use a different poker set to run tournaments, and rules for colors and denominations seem to vary quite a bit.
They’re definitely not nearly as uniform as those for cash games, so you’ll need to pay a bit more attention in a tournament setup.
The best way to know exactly is to check poker chip values on your chips before the tournament starts. Also, most tournament directors will include this information in their poker software and display it on the screen where you’ll see the info about blind levels, number of players, prize pool, etc.
Of course, major tournaments like EPT or WSOP have been using a standard poker set for a while now, so you’ll usually find the same colors and same denominations across all of their events.
For smaller local tournaments, though, it will probably take some getting used to.
Are There Any Official Rules for Poker Chip Values?
While casinos and poker rooms do tend to use somewhat standard poker chips colors and values, there is no rulebook of some sort that would dictate how they have to go about this.
Every venue has pretty much absolute freedom to do as they like, with the exception of a few countries or states where such things are defined by laws.
Sometimes it will happen that chips of significantly different values are quite similar in color, especially when light isn’t good. This is where you need to be especially careful as it’s a mistake waiting to happen.
This isn’t to say that you should obsess over it, of course, but staying extra careful is definitely advisable.
If you travel and visit different casinos or even play poker for a living, you’ll find that there are differences between poker chips values and colors between various states and especially continents.
Casinos in Europe don’t necessarily use the same colors as those in America or Australia, although there is a kind of silent agreement on these things, so differences aren’t that big.
Figuring Out Poker Chips Values for Home Games
If you’re hosting a home game, you’ll be in charge of figuring out poker chip values. With most poker sets, you’ll have the easiest task if you’re running a $1/$2 or $2/$5 games as you’ll usually have access to chips with standard colors and denominations.
So, white chips for $1, red ones for $5, green chips valued at $25, and black ones $100.
Of course, many home games are smaller affairs among friends, and players aren’t necessarily looking to lose a few hundred on a bad night. For a smaller stakes’ setup, you could go with a NL25 game with values such as:
- White chips: 10 cents
- Green chips: 25 cents
- Red chips: $5
- Black chips: $10
This makes sense even if you have poker chip denominations on the chips as numbers are intuitive (0.25 instead of $25, $10 instead of $100, etc.).
This setup should also give you more than enough chips to work with and make sure you never run out of chips if you’re using standard poker chips set containing 500 pieces.
You can easily find this in most stores, but for sake of convenience, you can grab it on amazon and get delivered before you organize your next home game.
Even 11.5-gram chips will do the job for most games and you will get all you need inside such sets, like playing cards, dealer button and blins buttons, and a case to carry it around. You can buy it here!
For a poker tournament, you can arrange things however you want as long as you know for sure you’ll have enough chips to last through all levels.
Since most home games will be done in a few hours, you don’t need to sweat it too much, though, and could go with something like:
- White chips: 25
- Reds: 100
- Green or blue chips: 500
- Black chips: 1,000
Since a standard poker set will usually contain one more color, you can leave these as a backup option and have them valued at 5,000.
This is particularly useful for a rebuy tournament as things can get a bit crazy since most people are there to play and don’t want to go home. So, once you run out of standard poker chip denominations, you can use these for rebuys.
Obviously, with home games, you have much more freedom when it comes to assigning poker chips values, and if you reach a push fold stage, you can even change the value of the chip of a particular color as long as all players agree to it.
That said, most people prefer things being uniform, so try to come up with a structure that works for your game and try to stick to it.
Poker Chip Values at World Series of Poker
World Series of Poker isn’t just the biggest yearly poker event, but also a really strong brand that players expect certain things from.
If you happen to get a seat in the Main Event, you can have a pretty good idea of what colors will correspond with certain poker chip values.
This may not make a big difference for someone playing for the first time, but those who play regularly certainly appreciate it.
Here’s the list of common poker chip values at the WSOP with their corresponding (dominant) colors:
- Green WSOP chips: 25
- Black chips: 100
- Blue: 500
- Yellow: 1,000
- Orange chips: 5,000
- Dark green chips: 25,000
- Lavenders: 100,000
- Beige chips: 250,000
With tournaments such as the Main Event that last for several days, blinds can often get very high, and the remaining few players will hold heaps of chips.
In these scenarios, WSOP will often produce oversized poker chips with even higher values. Although their colors are sometimes similar to the ones used for smaller poker chips denominations, they’re impossible to mix up due to the sheer size.
Of course, all chips used at the World Series have numeric values on both sides, so it’s easy enough to figure it out even if you forget about what color stands for what denomination.
However, memorizing this information can be very useful, especially if you’re trying to figure out the size of a pot at a glance.
European Poker Tour Chips Values & Colors
Just like the WSOP, the European Poker Tour (EPT) is a major brand in the poker world. With tournament stops all across Europe, it attracts thousands of players.
Organizers put in a lot of effort to make their players feel at home, which includes using the same poker set across all events. Of course, EPT poker chips are of the highest quality and feature a really nice design, so having an opportunity to play with them is an experience on its own.
- Green chips: 25
- Black EPT chips: 100
- Purples: 500
- Red EPT chips: 1,000
- Yellow/orange: 5,000
- Blue chips: 10,000
- Grey: 25,000
- Pink EPT chips: 50,000
If you like the design and feel of EPT chips, you can even get a full poker set for your home game, and if you’re running tournaments, everyone’s guaranteed to love it.
Of course, these chips don’t come cheap, so be prepared to pay handsomely for the pleasure, but if you love poker, you won’t regret it.
The above are standard poker chip values for most EPT events. Of course, organizers can and do introduce higher value chips as required, but if you get to that point, you’ll have much better and more important things to worry about, like winning a European Poker Tour title.
If you get colored up and receive a few new chips with values of 250,000, for example, you’ll probably know exactly where they are at all times.
Poker Chips that Stand Out
In some casinos in Europe and the US, you’ll often encounter a different type of chip altogether, usually representing the highest values in both tournaments and cash games.
These valuable chips are rectangular in shape and are commonly referred to as plaques.
If you’ve been keeping up with some of the high stakes cash game action on YouTube or channels such as Poker Central, you’ve probably seen these types of chips in the hands of the best poker players.
They are a regular feature in Macau games, for example, and when you see a player “unpacking” a stack of plaques, you know they mean business.
Plaques aren’t supper common in poker sets because they take up a lot of space and aren’t as convenient as standard chips.
Still, some casinos love using them in their highest stakes games, and it seems like high rollers do enjoy having these “large chips” in front of them. Throwing out a fistful of oversized plaques is more intimidating if nothing else, just like in a good old James Bond poker movie.
You’ll also encounter special, limited-edition chips you can buy in certain poker rooms and online.
These chips may or may not have a denomination printed on them, but in general, they don’t have a direct monetary value and can’t be used for play.
These poker chips are generally higher-quality memorabilia that aren’t meant to be used for play – although you could use them in a home game if you really wanted to.
Conclusion: Know Your Poker Chip Values
With chips being such a huge factor in any poker cash game or a tournament, having some idea about standard poker chip values and associated colors can be quite helpful.
As you could see in this article, rules regarding this aren’t set in stone, and casinos have a lot of freedom when figuring out their poker chips denominations, but there is at least some uniformity to it.
Knowing this information will also help you if you want to organize a home game as you’ll be able to create a setup where your players will feel more comfortable.
If you use a scheme that they’re likely to be used to from a casino, it’ll be easier for them to adjust.
Even with all this knowledge, you should always double-check things if you find yourself in a new casino or a new poker game. Check out the imprinted poker chips values and feel free to ask the dealer or one of the regular players if there is anything you’re unclear about.
It’s definitely a better option than using $100 chips instead of $1 ones, and can even help you to avoid angle shooting someone by accident.