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Subject: Poker chip recommendations rss

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J C Lawrence
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I'm looking to build two more poker-chip sets for 18xx games, one nice 300 chip-set, and an economical 1,000 chip-set. My primary criteria are in descending order:

- At least 5 colours (white, red, green, black, blue or other distinct fifth colour)
- Inter-chip friction important (easily-stacking and non-slippy)
- At least 9 grams per chip
- Undenominated (I find them easier to use than denominated)
- No writing or text on the chip (bugs me)

Aside:

- I don't care about "clay", sound, feel, or metal slugs
- I don't care about similarity to "real casino chips"

For the 300 chip-set I'm considering:

1) NexGen PRO Classics


2) NexGen Lucky Bee 8200 Series


3) ProGen 80 Hi-Grade


For the 1,000 chip-set I'm considering:

1) Soprano 10g


2) Super Diamond


I mostly use standard 11.5 gram dice and suited chips today and am looking to step up to something better handling. Do you have direct experience with the above chips? What do you think of them? How slippery are they?

The NexGen Lucky Bees have a lot of good press, but I also read that they are still a bit slippery. The NexGen Pros look like they're sufficiently textured to not be so slippery, but are they actually better than the Lucky Bees? What about the ProGens? Any other chips I should be looking at here?

On the economy side I've used the Super-Diamonds extensively (and like them), and they are wonderfully non-slippery, but I wish they were a bit easier to count by eye when in stacks (ie I wish they had edge-spots). I read good things about the Sopranos, and they do have nice edge-spots, but they also appear to be fairly slippery. Your experience?
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Greg r
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Scott does and awesome job talking about different chips here.
Taught me a lot about poker chips has a bunch of recommendations as well as where he purchased many of them.

Hope this helps!


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Dennis S
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Scott recommended Turf Club chips at the end. It doesn't look like they are made anymore.
 
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Scott Petersen
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I have a set of Nexgens that work well for what you are after. I don't know any better, but are the differences between the types of Nexgens just the spot pattern and the texture? Mine say "Las Vegas," but that is hardly noticeable while playing.

I am perfectly happy with those chips, but that is just a medium upgrade. Are you considering the chips that cost a dollar per chip (or even a little more)?

dshuby wrote:
Scott recommended Turf Club chips at the end. It doesn't look like they are made anymore.

Looks like JC is after something much different than Scott Nicholson, but the video is still very informative. If you're really serious about getting a nice set, I recommend you do as he did and get a sample pack.
 
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J C Lawrence
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pepperhead wrote:
Scott does and awesome job talking about different chips here. Taught me a lot about poker chips has a bunch of recommendations as well as where he purchased many of them.


Unfortunately Scott's video is severely dated. Several of the manufacturers he mentions are out of business and many of the specific chips shown are no longer available. Additionally his criteria are considerably different from mine.

dshuby wrote:
Scott recommended Turf Club chips at the end. It doesn't look like they are made anymore.


Yeah, they're not around any more. They're also stickered and denominated, both things I specifically don't want. The edge striping is also heavier/thicker than I'd like (it can be a little confusing to determine what a chip is mid-stack).
 
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Michael Leuchtenburg
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I have been extremely happy with my "Crown Wheatear" chips. They stack easily and are not slippery, plus they have edge spots. They come in many colors. They're fairly reasonable in price, thought I believe they're a little more expensive than the Super Diamonds.

I'm currently considering buying another small set of them so that I can 1) change the denominations in my large set a little bit, and 2) have a lighter set to carry more often.
 
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J C Lawrence
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scottredracecar wrote:
I have a set of Nexgens that work well for what you are after. I don't know any better, but are the differences between the types of Nexgens just the spot pattern and the texture? Mine say "Las Vegas," but that is hardly noticeable while playing.


AFAICT all the NexGen chips use the same material and only the molds are different. I've looked at the chips you mention, but saw no advantage to them over the Lucky Bees or Pros, including price. Symbolically, I like the bees on the Lucky Bees and dislike the tailed P on the Pros, but that seems a small quibble. The extra texturing that seems to be on the Pros is the big attractant there.

Quote:
I am perfectly happy with those chips, but that is just a medium upgrade. Are you considering the chips that cost a dollar per chip (or even a little more)?


Nahh. The ones I've played with aren't so much better to be worth it. I'd like some improvement over dice/suited, but it doesn't have to be much. I'm particularly unfond of Paulsons.

Quote:
Looks like JC is after something much different than Scott Nicholson, but the video is still very informative. If you're really serious about getting a nice set, I recommend you do as he did and get a sample pack.


Yeah, I'll be getting samples. I may also look into the Crown Wheatears and Tri-Colour Ace-King. I don't have a lot of hope for those last two, but it seems worth checking.

 
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Todd Pytel
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clearclaw wrote:

For the 300 chip-set I'm considering:

1) NexGen PRO Classics

I haven't used these.

Quote:
2) NexGen Lucky Bee 8200 Series

Nice colors, OK handling. They feel like standard hard plastic.

Quote:
3) ProGen 80 Hi-Grade

These have a hockey-pucky feel compared to the Lucky Bees. They're better handlers and slip very little. I don't care for the colors so much though.

Quote:
For the 1,000 chip-set I'm considering:

1) Soprano 10g

These are my favorite cheap, available chips except for one problem - the black, purple, and blue chips are very close in color and difficult to distinguish from one another. If you play under strong light, it shouldn't be an issue. Apart from that, I think these are fantastic chips for the price - they handle nearly as well as the Nexgens, and the edge spots are simple and functional.

Quote:
2) Super Diamond

Definitely cheaper and more slippery than the Sopranos. The only real advantage here is wide color availability.

In all cases, I'd certainly order some samples first - there's subjectivity in all of this. For example, I don't find the lack of edge spots to be any problem counting myself, but tastes differ. If you're patient enough to track down a set of the old Faux Clays, those would also suit your criteria quite well, and they handle (IMO) better than any of the chips you've listed. They're tough to find, though.

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Brad
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Re: The economy chips. I have owned both of these.

Super Diamonds

I purchased a 100 chip set of the super diamonds for use with euro games. I barely had them out of the box before I was disappointed in them. There was an inordinate amount of flash hanging off the chips. For the amount of time I used the SDs, a common distraction during downtime was to scrape flash off the edges of the chips with your thumbnail. After a month or so, they were mostly cleared.

I didn't much care for the feel of these chips. They have a slight tack--an almost rubbery feel to them. You may consider this an advantage, since you have expressed your desire for non-slippage.

The lack of edge spots was a major problem. You couldn't count a stack of money across the table which, with a game like Chicago Express, is a major hassle. I became so frustrated that I drew edge spots on the whole set with a permanent marker. It turns out that the marker was mostly semi-permanent because the spots began to wear off and discolor people's hands. It was with a sense of both anger and relief that I dumped the whole damn set in the garbage.

Sopranos
I then purchased a 200 chip set of Sopranos which could be used for euros as well as some smaller 18xx games. I have been much happier with these. The Sopranos have a smoother finish, and are manufactured in a way that didn't leave any flash. I haven't found them to be overly slippery, but they are certainly moreso than the SDs.

The Sopranos have more heft than the SDs (10g compared to 8.5g), which is a non-factor. Some of us appreciate the heft when handling the chips, but it makes for a heavier game tote.

The edge spots are essential. 'Nuff said about that.

Conclusion
I'd recommend the Sopranos over the Super Diamonds, unless you are placing an extremely high emphasis on non-slip materials. I don't think the Sopranos are really slippery, but they definitely don't grab each other as much as the Super Diamonds do.
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J C Lawrence
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tppytel wrote:
These have a hockey-pucky feel compared to the Lucky Bees.


What does that mean?

Quote:
Quote:
For the 1,000 chip-set I'm considering:

2) Super Diamond

Definitely cheaper and more slippery than the Sopranos.


More slippery than the Sopranos? The Super Diamonds I've used have been very non-slippery.

DarkoBeta wrote:
There was an inordinate amount of flash hanging off the chips. For the amount of time I used the SDs, a common distraction during downtime was to scrape flash off the edges of the chips with your thumbnail. After a month or so, they were mostly cleared. I didn't much care for the feel of these chips.


I'm not worried about flash. A quick rub with a pot-cleaner will clean that right up. I'm also quite used to their rather chalky feel. I'd prefer it if they were a little heavier, but that's a small whine.

Quote:
The lack of edge spots was a major problem. You couldn't count a stack of money across the table which, with a game like Chicago Express, is a major hassle. I became so frustrated that I drew edge spots on the whole set with a permanent marker.


The sole intended use of the econo-set is to play 18C2C: Manifest Destiny. As such the table will be large, the players tired, and the mental acuity not all it should be. Yeah, the lack of edge-spots is probably a deal-breaker. I doubt I'll ever use this chip set for anything other than 18C2C: Manifest Destiny, that is assuming I don't get a copy of 18NA!

(Sopranos)
Quote:
I haven't found them to be overly slippery, but they are certainly moreso than the SDs.


I'm looking for something a little better than the standard suited/dice chips. The Super Diamonds are great in that regard. I could probably get along with something merely good.

Quote:
I'd recommend the Sopranos over the Super Diamonds, unless you are placing an extremely high emphasis on non-slip materials. I don't think the Sopranos are really slippery, but they definitely don't grab each other as much as the Super Diamonds do.


While not much of a requirement, my current test is to hold a stack of 15 chips between forefinger and thumb and to then knock the middle of the stack. If the stack sprays out, they're not good enough.
 
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Occu Pant
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The poker guys generally think that the "gold standard" for inexpensive chips is the Faux Clay line.


However, they are no longer produced. So you have to dye some chips to get all the colors.

I have not used any equipment or tools to do true testing, so all of my comments are opinions.

I like the Super Diamonds the best for inter-chip friction, color selection, and feel. (I also like them best for the ease with which a denomination can be added which you and I disagree on--so just disregard this advantage).
Be aware that there are at least 2 different kind of SDs.
Hot Stamp-able
and
Non Hot Stamp-able
I think that the HotStampable versions are better quality and look much nicer (even if you do not get them stamped). However, I like the green color of the non-stampable better than the green of the stampable. And I like that there is an orange (rather than brown) in the non-stampable. But I like that there is a light blue in the stampable that is not available in the non-stampable. (So, my cheap set is mostly the stampables with a few colors (orange and purple) from the non-stampable line.

And, of course, you would have to do some work to get the edge stripes (see Edge Spots and More Edge Spots). Edge spots are not that important to me so the SuperDiamonds really are one of my favorite chips .

Of the chips on your list, I find the Lucky Bees and the Sopranos to be the most slick (although I really really really like the looks of the Sopranos) and therefore the least stackable.

I think that the ProGen 80s are not as good as the Super Diamonds for stackability but better than the Lucky Bees and Sopranos.

You might also want to look at the PGI Compression Clays. These are very very similar to the ProGen80s but are better quality (the mold design is much clearer on the chips).

I do not have a set of NexGen PRO Classics so I cannot comment on them.
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J C Lawrence
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RoamDog wrote:
The poker guys generally think that the "gold standard" for inexpensive chips is the Faux Clay line.


Unfortunately only 3-4 colours are available, and I need a minimum of 5 colours and would prefer 6. I'm also not really up for the dye trick.

Quote:
I like the Super Diamonds the best for inter-chip friction, color selection, and feel. (I also like them best for the ease with which a denomination can be added which you and I disagree on--so just disregard this advantage).


I'd be a little (not a lot) happier with denominated chips if they had $2,500 chips. I'd also like $20s instead of $25s. I still find denominated chips harder to use than un-denominated, but I'd likely be willing to let that slide if they actually had the values I want. I'm not prepared to go for custom stickers (I don't like stickers in the first place).

Quote:
Be aware that there are at least 2 different kind of SDs.
Hot Stamp-able
and
Non Hot Stamp-able


Good point. Thanks.

Quote:
I think that the ProGen 80s are not as good as the Super Diamonds for stackability but better than the Lucky Bees and Sopranos.


Ahh, good data.

Quote:
You might also want to look at the PGI Compression Clays. These are very very similar to the ProGen80s but are better quality (the mold design is much clearer on the chips).


And almost 3x the cost as well. Hehn. Thanks. I'll check them out.
 
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clearclaw wrote:
...I'd be a little (not a lot) happier with denominated chips if they had $2,500 chips. I'd also like $20s instead of $25s. I still find denominated chips harder to use than un-denominated, but I'd likely be willing to let that slide if they actually had the values I want. I'm not prepared to go for custom stickers (I don't like stickers in the first place).

If you get Stampable SD's you can specify exactly what denominations you want and on which colors. They will stamp the denoms in with gold (or silver?) foil.

clearclaw wrote:
RoamDog wrote:
You might also want to look at the PGI Compression Clays. These are very very similar to the ProGen80s but are better quality (the mold design is much clearer on the chips).

And almost 3x the cost as well. Hehn. Thanks. I'll check them out.

PGI often does sales and group buys that make these very reasonable. But there is the timing issue of catching one.

I forgot to mention the Crown Wheaters. I do not have a full set of these. So, I have not handled them as much. I would put them above the Sopranos for stackability. But not as good as the SuperDiamonds; however, they do have the edges.
 
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clearclaw wrote:
AFAICT all the NexGen chips use the same material and only the molds are different. I've looked at the chips you mention, but saw no advantage to them over the Lucky Bees or Pros, including price.

Yeah, that's pretty much it. The 'Las Vegas' chips were the original Nexgen mold, but are probably obsolete with the Lucky Bees and Pros now available.

I've used both the 'Las Vegas' style and the Pros, and I have to admit that I'm not a fan of the Pros. It could just be because they were almost brand-new and not nearly as broken in as the other chips, though.

It seemed slightly harder than necessary to tell the reds apart from the greens, but other than that, I think the main selling point between the Bees and the Pros should probably be which set of edge spots you prefer.
 
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J C Lawrence
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RoamDog wrote:
If you get Stampable SD's you can specify exactly what denominations you want and on which colors. They will stamp the denoms in with gold (or silver?) foil.


I should clarify: I don't like denominated chips and would prefer to avoid them. I'm not going to pay for denominated chips when I can get the same chip undenominated (and thus in a form I prefer more). If the only way to get the chips I prefer is in denominated form, then I'd prefer they had the denominations I prefer. I'd much rather get undenominated chips however.

Quote:
PGI often does sales and group buys that make these very reasonable. But there is the timing issue of catching one.


Ahh, I'll investigate. A friend has a set of PGI chips. I wouldn't call them great, but they're at least good. What's a good way of catching when they do a sale?

Quote:
I forgot to mention the Crown Wheaters. I do not have a full set of these. So, I have not handled them as much. I would put them above the Sopranos for stackability. But not as good as the SuperDiamonds; however, they do have the edges.


Nod.
 
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J C Lawrence
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Armadillo Al wrote:
clearclaw wrote:
AFAICT all the NexGen chips use the same material and only the molds are different. I've looked at the chips you mention, but saw no advantage to them over the Lucky Bees or Pros, including price.


Yeah, that's pretty much it. The 'Las Vegas' chips were the original Nexgen mold, but are probably obsolete with the Lucky Bees and Pros now available.


The LasVegas chips still seem to be sold. Given that chips have no technology/maintenance/spare-parts (they're pretty inert), I don't understand how a chip can go obsolete.

Quote:
I've used both the 'Las Vegas' style and the Pros, and I have to admit that I'm not a fan of the Pros. It could just be because they were almost brand-new and not nearly as broken in as the other chips, though.


What advantage would them having been broken in given you? While my chips see frequently play (2-4 times a week), they don't tend to be handled much (chips in 18xx tend to just sit and move about in stacks). I'm leery of the idea that chips have to be worn-in (or worn at all) in order to be usable.

Quote:
It seemed slightly harder than necessary to tell the reds apart from the greens...


The images on DiscountCasinoGear of the red and green chips seem distinct, but are of course well lit. What was the problem? Are those images not representative?

Quote:
...but other than that, I think the main selling point between the Bees and the Pros should probably be which set of edge spots you prefer.


I largely don't care about the edge-spots except for the fact that they have them (or not) and that the edge spots don't interfere with determining the colour of a chip by a glance at its edge. I'm in search of functionality and lack of distraction far more than I am aesthetics. I tend to prefer edge-spots which are small and the same colour across all chips (ie minimally distracting), but that isn't a big deal to me so long as the chips themselves handle well and are clear (non-slippy, stack easily, easily passed across the table, easily counted by quick glance etc). They're just tools.
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Todd Pytel
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clearclaw wrote:
tppytel wrote:
These have a hockey-pucky feel compared to the Lucky Bees.

What does that mean?

You've handled a hockey puck before, yes? The ProGens have a similar, sort of rubbery feel. They definitely grip very well, but it's not exactly what I like my chips to feel like. The Bees, on the other hand, feel much like any other hard plastic chip, like the Super Diamonds.

Quote:
Quote:
Quote:
For the 1,000 chip-set I'm considering:

2) Super Diamond

Definitely cheaper and more slippery than the Sopranos.


More slippery than the Sopranos? The Super Diamonds I've used have been very non-slippery.

Hmm... I pulled out my samples again for the first time in a while. Fair enough, the Sopranos are a bit more slippery, though neither one had any trouble holding together in a stack of 10 between thumb and forefinger. But I much prefer the feel of the Sopranos over the SD's. In fact, I slightly prefer the Sopranos over the higher end chips you listed, especially for the price. If it weren't for that damn black/purple/blue issue...

Quote:
(re: Faux Clays) Unfortunately only 3-4 colours are available, and I need a minimum of 5 colours and would prefer 6. I'm also not really up for the dye trick.

You should really try to get your hands on a sample and see if you change your mind. They're very nice chips. I would take FC's over any of the chips you listed, hands down. I have a sizable stash of Fauxs and might be able to help you get started if you wanted to go that route.

Another consideration for your good set... if you're prepared to spend $0.25-$0.30 per chip on NexGens and don't particularly care about denominations or fancy spots, I would at least consider ordering a set of custom clays from ASM (http://www.pokerchipsonline.com). Solids are $0.50 per chip, simple spot patterns are $0.65 per chip. Yeah, twice as much as Nexgens, but many, many times nicer. If you don't need labels or fancy spots, ASM's aren't a bad deal at all.
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clearclaw wrote:
Ahh, I'll investigate. A friend has a set of PGI chips. I wouldn't call them great, but they're at least good. What's a good way of catching when they do a sale?

Until the end of December, I would have advised to join chiptalk.net and subscribe to the PGI deals thread. However, going forward, I am not sure what the best way would be. Sorry.
 
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RoamDog wrote:
Until the end of December, I would have advised to join chiptalk.net and subscribe to the PGI deals thread. However, going forward, I am not sure what the best way would be. Sorry.


That suggests that there was a watershed event in December. What happened?
 
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tppytel wrote:
You've handled a hockey puck before, yes? The ProGens have a similar, sort of rubbery feel.


Ahh, I think I'd like that.

Quote:
The Bees, on the other hand, feel much like any other hard plastic chip, like the Super Diamonds.


The Super Diamonds feel chalky to me, which while not unpleasant, also isn't plastic in the same way that the standard suited/dice chips feel. My impression was that while the Bees felt plastic, it was a bit of a different feel to the chalkiness of the Super Diamonds, and different again to the hard plastic of the suited/dice chips. Hmm. I'll clearly have to get samples.

Quote:
Fair enough, the Sopranos are a bit more slippery, though neither one had any trouble holding together in a stack of 10 between thumb and forefinger.


Cool. If you get a bigger stack, say 15 or 20 chips, gripped between forefinger and thumb and knock the centre of the stack, does it spray?

Quote:
If it weren't for that damn black/purple/blue issue...


Yeah, that's got my attention too.

Quote:
You should really try to get your hands on a sample and see if you change your mind.


Capiche.

Quote:
Another consideration for your good set... if you're prepared to spend $0.25-$0.30 per chip on NexGens and don't particularly care about denominations or fancy spots, I would at least consider ordering a set of custom clays from ASM (http://www.pokerchipsonline.com). Solids are $0.50 per chip, simple spot patterns are $0.65 per chip. Yeah, twice as much as Nexgens, but many, many times nicer.


Nicer specifically how? How slippy?
 
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This is- nudge- starting to make me very hot...
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J C Lawrence
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jimb wrote:
This is- nudge- starting to make me very hot...


That's it. I'm washing the poker chips in bleach after I play 18xx with you.
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Todd Pytel
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clearclaw wrote:
The Super Diamonds feel chalky to me, which while not unpleasant, also isn't plastic in the same way that the standard suited/dice chips feel. My impression was that while the Bees felt plastic, it was a bit of a different feel to the chalkiness of the Super Diamonds, and different again to the hard plastic of the suited/dice chips.

Yeah, there's variation between all the different plastics. But the ProGens have the most rubbery/grippy feel of the cheap chip samples I've got (Sopranos, SD's, Fauxs, Bees, ProGens). But the Fauxs grip the best in practice, due to the texture I guess.

Quote:
Hmm. I'll clearly have to get samples.

Definitely. It's inexpensive. And they're fun to play with and analyze.

Quote:
Cool. If you get a bigger stack, say 15 or 20 chips, gripped between forefinger and thumb and knock the centre of the stack, does it spray?

Couldn't tell you, as I only have 10 each of those samples.

Quote:
Quote:
If it weren't for that damn black/purple/blue issue...


Yeah, that's got my attention too.

It's really annoying. Were it not for that, the Sopranos would be an ideal, functional, budget chip. You might be able to dodge it depending on your color scheme. The contrast between blue vs. black/purple isn't too bad. It's only black vs. purple that's really difficult. If you just don't use purple, they would be fine. Unfortunately, I prefer to use the semi-standard American casino colors of Black=100 and Purple=500. But definitely try a sample - I play under iffy lighting conditions compared to a lot of people. It might be no problem for you.

Quote:
Nicer specifically how? How slippy?

I haven't had the opportunity to play with ASM's myself, but they're "real" clay chips in the same league as Blue Chip Proteges or Paulsons. Individually, real clays don't seem to be grippy like the ProGens are. But if you actually stack them, they somehow hold together. I have 20+ Protege samples and that stack is rock solid using your test. Like I said, I don't have personal experience with ASM's specifically, but I've always heard good things. And, of course, a custom set lets you pick exactly your colors, spot pattern, etc.

Personally, I just can't see buying anything over $0.10/chip unless you're going to go all the way and get real clays. Sopranos or Super Diamonds are reasonably functional chips (much better than dice chips) and Fauxs are even better if you can get them. I don't see the available $0.25 chips being 3-5 times better than those. The only intriguing chip to me in the ~$0.25 price bracket is the relatively new ceramic Venerati, but I haven't gotten samples yet to try them. And they're denominated, so probably not what you want.
 
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Paul M
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You're right. The BGWS piece on poker chips is way outdated. It still has good information about the slickness of certain chips (cheap slugged and coin-in-center).

For your "nice" set of chips, I would recommend solid blank chips from ASM (pokerchipsonline.com). They are 50 cents each, with tons of colors and molds to pick from, and they meet all of your criteria. Email them about samples, which they will happily sell to you. If that doesn't strike your fancy, then the progens are the only chips that meet your criteria. The others are either too light or too slippery. Nexgens are a lot less slick if you lightly sandpaper both sides, so if you are willing to do that, nexgens would work too.
 
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Todd Pytel
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RoamDog wrote:
The poker guys generally think that the "gold standard" for inexpensive chips is the Faux Clay line.

I only just clicked through this link and noticed that whites are back in stock - they were out, presumably permanently, not so long ago. They must have found some more. Given that development, I would definitely go with the Faux over any of those other chips. White 1's and Red 5's, both in stock, will be a good portion of your set. I have some Green 25's (or 20's if you prefer) I could part with for what I paid for them ($0.25/chip). Black 100's are dead easy to dye. That just leaves a couple more colors that you would need to be more creative with, either using the available grays, finding some original Fauxs secondhand, or dyeing. Both yellow and purple dye quite nicely in my experience - I actually prefer my homemade purples to the factory purples.

There's no better handling chip than a Faux at five times their price.
 
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