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How Many Chips Do I Need?

One of our most asked questions when a client is contemplating buying a set of casino chips is "How many of each should I get?". There are many factors that you need to consider when selecting your chip quantities for your set, here are a few of them:

1. What kind of game do you play most frequently? A Tournament style game, or a Cash (Ring style) game?

Considerations: In a tournament game the chip amounts are usually larger denominations and the dollar amount each player has at the beginning of play is usually larger. Many times there are multiple tables in a tournament so many more chips are needed. Also, as the blinds increase and players are eliminated from play you will need to "color up". Coloring up is the process of changing all the chips of the lowest denomination into larger ones. This helps keep the total # of chips in play manageable, and the betting process smoother. Keep this in mind as you will need extra's of the larger denominations to bring into play later in the game.

Playing a "Ring" game you only need enough chips to cover the exact $ amount of the buy-in for each player. There is generally not a "color up" involved in a Ring game

2. How many people usually play in this game?

Considerations: If you use the charts below as a guideline for you chip counts you will have to multiply the # of players by these amounts to obtain the # of chips needed to start a game

3. What is you starting chip amount for a Tournament game, or Buy-in for a cash game?

Considerations: What are your most typical starting amounts or buy-ins? Try to configure you set for more than one limit of game. Doing so will ensure that you will not outgrow your set, and if you play with different groups of friends with different limits you set will always work

4. What is the usual Blind structure of your game?

What is the blind structure you play most frequently? This is most important in a Ring game. Usually in a ring game the big blind amount is the chip you want the most of. They are used the most and bets and raises are usually a multiple of this chip. Do not go overboard on chips that match the small blind. While everyone needs some, they are only used once per round, and if a player is out they can easily make change at the table without slowing the game down.

5. Do you allow re-buy's during the course of the game?

If you allow re-buy's during the course of your tournament or game be sure to have some extra chips to cover these. Most times you can handle the re-buy's with the largest chip in play and the player can make change from a player who has accumulated most of the re-buyer's chips. Ex: In a $50 buy-in game, give the player 10 $5 chips and he can acquire change from another player. This will help keep the # of chips in play to a minimum.

Here are a few other considerations to help keep you game fun, smooth, and competitive.......

Never have more than 3 different denominations of chips in play at one time. In a tourney 3 works well, more than that and it slows down the game when having to count an "all-in" bet. In a ring game you may find that even two denominations will work just fine.

In a ring game, the buy-in should be a minimum of 50 times the amount of the big blind. This will help relieve to pressure of players feeling the need to play solely on the fact they are "short stacked" too early in the game.

In a tournament game the starting stack should be 75-100 times the big blind. This will allow the players to ease into play, and as the blinds increase over time they will become more aggressive, but large blinds in comparison to the starting stacks will force players to be aggressive early and many will leave early. Give everyone a chance to play for more fun and return players.

The charts below can be used a a guide to determine starting chip quantities for your style of game. This is only a guide to get you started. Remember in a tournament style game you will need more of the larger chips towards the end of the game. As an example, in a T2000 chip tournament with 20 players would have 40,000 in chips in play (this is without re-buys). At the end of the game when blinds are $100/$200 or $200/$400 you would need a total of 40,000 in $100 & $500 combined as all the $5's and $25's will have been colored off the table. If you used the starting chip stacks from the table below you will see that you only started the game with 24,000 in $100's (12 per player x 20 players). This would leave you needing an additional 16,000 total in $100's & $500's over what you began the game with. Your expected total chips in play at the games end should always be a factor in building your set, as too many lower denominations on the table will slow the game down.

Ring Game .25 $1 $5 $25 Total per Player
Blinds .25/.50 w/$25 Buy-in 20 20 * ** 40
Blinds .50/$1 w/$50 Buy-in 12 22 5* ** 39
Blinds $1/$2 w/$100 Buy-in ** 25 15 * 40
Blinds $2/$4 w/$200 Buy-in ** 25 10 5* 40
Blinds $3/$6 w/$300 Buy-in ** 25 15 8* 48
Greatest # needed to cover all 5 game structures 20 25 15 8 68
** Red cell denote chips that are not needed for that particular game
* Green cell denote chips that should have a few extra's available for re-buy's

Tournament Style Game $5 $25 $100 $500 $1000 Total per Player
$1000 Stack w/$5 & $10 Blinds 20 28* 2* * ** 50
$2000 Stack w/ $10 & $20 Blinds 20 16* 15* * ** 51
$5000 Stack w/ $25 & $50 Blinds ** 20 20* 5* * 45
$10000 Stack w/ $50 & $100 Blinds ** 12 17 16* * 45
$20000 Stack w/ $100 & $200 Blinds ** ** 20 16* 10* 46
Greatest # needed to cover all 5 game structures 20 28 20 16 10 94
** Red cell denote chips that are not needed for that particular game
* Green cell denote chips that should have a few extra's available for re-buy's and color ups