When you sit at a poker table and glance around at the piles of chips in front of the players, you need to be able to assess the playing field quickly. To be on par with the professionals, you should have the ability to take in the poker chip values of each stack at a glance. You should remember that these can differ from casino to casino and from one poker site to the next.
The Standard: At Home
While these denominations aren’t fixed across casinos and there aren’t any official rules, there are poker chip standards that we can identify across casinos and poker events, so we can better replicate an authentic and accurate poker match in a private setting.
The basic set of poker chips used in private games and across most casinos usually consists of four to five denominations and colors. White chips at 1, red at 5, sometimes blue at 10, green at 25 and black chips for a top value of 100.
These basic values are a great starting point for hosting your own poker games at home, with relatively small stakes on the line meaning that you don’t need a wide range of poker chip values. Indeed, these colors are found in the many home kits available widely, and are unmarked so you can customize the value.
Full Poker Chip Standard Values
We’ve outlined not only the basic four to five color set, but the full range of poker chip values that you can expect to find if you were to step into any higher stakes games:
- White – 1
- Yellow – 2 (sometimes used)
- Red – 5
- Blue – 10
- Grey – 20
- Green – 25
- Orange – 50
- Black – 100
- Pink – 250
- Purple – 500
- Yellow – 1000 (also burgundy or gray)
- Light Blue – 2000
- Brown – 5000
The value of these chips will differ based on the buy in of the game or tournament, and will scale down in their distribution according to the value. For a small stakes home game with a buy-in of $100, the basic set would be the most appropriate, with a white value of as low as 25 cents.
If you’re hosting a tournament with friends from the comfort of your own home, you may be wondering how to distribute the chips in a logical way. The easiest way to break it down your stack sizes for a four-chip tournament is using a ratio of 4:3:2:1, with four times the amount of white chips compared to black, for example.
The Standard: On The Casino Floor
As we mentioned, there is no officially recognized pattern of casino chip coloring across the world, or even across the United States. Many follow the standard above, for the ease of the bettor, but as a way to limit chip forgery, casinos often employ exclusive colorings, markings and values.
Thankfully, with the custom chips, casinos print the value of the chip on the chip itself, aiding to avoid confusion to those who tour around from casino to casino. You don’t want to mistake a $100 chip for a $1! Let’s take a look at the gambling hot spots around the United States.
United States Casinos
Across the United States, the standard coloring is mostly adhered to, with a handful of exceptions. Las Vegas casinos follow the basic poker chip colors, but often include a $20 valued chip, and sometimes $2 brown chips and $3 peach chips, for the lower stakes games.
Atlanta casinos present a chip set that includes a lower-valued pink chip, for $2.50, and also has a $20 chip to round out a lower-stakes game, whereas California presents a whole other color coding system that differs from the standard completely. Bear in mind that in each casino you can find their own poker chip value chart on hand, so you’ll never be at a loss.
European casinos follow the same basic color standard as the States for their poker chip values. This is particularly handy for those intercontinental touring gamblers who shape their holidays around the poker or blackjack tables.
What is more common in the old world, however, is to mark the higher denominations with delicious looking rectangular tokens called ‘plaques’. These weighty chips add a bit of drama to the poker table with their size and design!
The Standard: At Tournaments
Shaping a lot of the aspirations of the professional gamblers and entertainment of the casual, professional tournaments have their own unique standards of poker chip values, colors and distribution that make them stand out, both in America and Europe.
These tournaments, due to their competitive nature, scale-up in blinds and have huge denominations that result in dramatic and exciting tournaments. The chips of low levels are stacked up and taken out of play, once the blinds and stakes get high enough.
The World Series of Poker
The World Series of Poker, or WSOP as it’s well-known by, is an American poker tournament that is arguably the biggest tournament in the world.
There are many tournaments that run during the annual series, with the $10,000 Main Event being the most-watched spectacle in the worldwide poker circuit. Due to this, there are various chip sets employed throughout the series, so as to differentiate between the tournaments and to establish each tournament’s identity and flair.
In general, all the tournaments build up from a standard color coding of a 25 green chip and a 100 black chip. Up from 100 is where the variation starts. Let’s take a look at the the Main Event’s standard chip set employed for the past few years, with the chip base’s accent colors in parentheses:
- Green (forest green/yellow) – 25
- Black (day blue/dark blue) – 100
- Desert flower (maroon/pink) – 500
- Canary yellow (plum/sherbet orange) – 1000
- Blaze orange (dark brown/tan) – 5000
- Forest green (blue/yellow) – 25,000
- Hot pink (lime green/dark green) – 50,000
- Hawaii flower (charcoal/metallic silver) – 100,000
- Almond (bronze/butterscotch) – 250,000
- Red (day blue/white) – 500,000
Bear in mind that these values can change, and that they often do at the final table, to add more dramatic flare and differentiation to this prestigious event.
The European Poker Tour
The European equivalent of the WSOP, the European Poker Tour, is a series of Texas Hold’em poker tournaments differing from WSOP in currency, format and nationality of players, among other things.
Unlike WSOP, the EPT tournaments all employ the same poker chip sets, and the standardisation is welcome for those casual players wishing to emulate EPT tournaments from their own home, a blessing in recent pandemic times, with most tournaments on hold for the near future.
- Green – 25
- Black – 100
- Purple – 500
- Red – 1000
- Yellow/orange – 5000
- Blue – 10,000
- Grey – 25,000
- Pink – 50,000
Across all poker tournaments, and indeed all casino poker sites, it’s essential to recognize that the poker chip values are not the same as money. They may equate exactly to the buy-in amount when you add it all up, but they are not referred to in dollar amount, or euro amounts for the EPT, but in straight numbers.
Frequently Asked Questions
Since poker chip colors and values can differ so greatly from casino to casino and continent to continent, we receive so many questions on them, like the rest of our guides to the casino world. Here we’ve collated the most commonly asked questions and answered them for you.
How much poker chips do you start with?
That depends on a few factors, such as the buy in of the game you’re playing, the casino you’re in, and more. As a rule of thumb, for a home game with a small buy in of $300, players can expect around 30 chips with the value adding up to 300. Check out the best poker casinos out there and see how they do it.
How much are each color poker chips worth?
The value of each chip differs from casino to casino, as there is no officially regulated standard that exists. There is a loose standard, with four to five basic colors that many casinos follow, but for security reasons many casinos employ their own patterns and colors. You can sidestep the confusion by jumping online and checking out the video poker variations on offer.
Are casino chips worth money?
Casino chips are only worth money inside the establishment that you received them. They have no worth outside of those walls. It’s best to exchange them as soon as you finish up a session, so that you can access the real value. You can avoid the hassle all together by taking a look at the best online poker sites.
Can you cash old casino chips?
Yes, generally a casino will honor old casino chips assuming that the casino itself still exists! For higher denominations, there may be an exchange period after which they will no longer be of any value, but for the low denominations, there is no limit. If, on the other hand, you are playing at online casinos, this is not something that you need to worry about.