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Sidepot Poker Chips
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Poker Chip Manufacturers

ASM (Atlantic Standard Molding)

This company makes some of the finest poker chips available to the home player. The Horsehead mold is my all-time favorite. The A Mold and Roman molds are also very nice but not quite as chiseled as the Horsehead. Both PokerChipsOnline.com and Kardwell sell chips that are manufactured by ASM. Please be aware that there may be a long wait time for custom ordered chips through this manufacturer.

For further information please visit www.pokerchipsonline.com.

Bud Jones

Bud Jones chips are now made by Bourgogne et Grassette. For further information please visit Gaming Products International.

Blue Chip Company

These chips are distinguishable by the peacock/clamshell impressions molded into the rim of the chip. Several molds are available, ranging from the James Bond/Las Vegas Pro Clay mold, to the Fan of Cards mold, to the Sidepot.com Modern Clay mold (no clamshells).

Some molds, such as the Fan of Cards, have full inlay graphics that rival Chipco chips but are less bright. There is usually a very small border that runs around the very edge of the chip and there are no edge spots. The inlay is a little slick and feels like a label stuck on to the chip but is actually molded into the chip, cannot be peeled off, and is difficult to scratch. These chips feel slightly lighter than most other casino weight chips. They stack well but slide a little easier than the molds described below.

The James Bond molds have a 1 1/8" inlay that is molded into the chip. Again, the inlay cannot be peeled off and is even more difficult to scratch than the fan of Cards type molds. You have to dig down about 1mm into the inlay before you reveal the base color of the chip. Some inlays cover only 1" of the center (James Bond) while other inlays (Las Vegas Pro Clay) cover the entire 1 1/8". These molds have some of the most beautiful multi-colored edge spots available to the home poker player. The sound and feel of this mold is slightly more robust than the mold described above. This is the type of mold that will improve with age. Scratches will blend in and add character to the chip. The edges will become rounded and slightly chipped, making it easier to handle the chip. The oils on your fingers will actually penetrate and improve the feel of the chip.

The Sidepot Modern Clay and Nevada Jacks Martini Club are examples of Blue Chip chips made exclusively for a particular seller. The Modern Clays are some of the best home poker chips on the market. They come already 'broke-in' with rounded edges and a 'used' feeling to them. They have beautiful multi-color edge spots.

The Blue Chips are about as close as you can get to the sound of a Paulson casino chip, the standard by which all other chips are compared. The sound is almost identical to the Paulson but the slightly lighter weight gives less of a 'thud' than a Paulson does. They also have a slightly sharper, lighter, more hollow sound to them. But if you can't get genuine Paulson's anywhere else ... this is your best alternative.

The edges on these chips can be a bit sharp (except for the Modern Clay) and there are noticeable edge ridges. There are no discernable injection mold pimples although you can sometimes see a single indentation in the middle on the inlay on the Fan of Cards type molds.

Chipco (Closed)

Chipco are a ceramic chip and are arguably the most beautiful on the market. They have full-chip graphics with vibrant colors.

Every Chipco chip has a pimple on the rolling edge. The pimple is usually surrounded by a rectangular indentation. This pimple is something you may never notice on your own, or it something that may drive you crazy right from the start. The pimple is a leftover of the manufacturing process and some chips had bigger pimples than others. My sample of chips was too small to make any comment about which chips were best and worst in this regard, but some brands of chips did seem to have them worse than others.

Chipco's have a seam at the top and bottom of the rolling edge. You can sometimes feel it with your fingernail but it is evident using a magnifying glass. On some chips you can feel this ridge, if you know that it's there and you intentionally look for it. Again, this is something you may never notice without a magnifying glass.

The pimples and the rolling edge seams are probably not something that should deter you from choosing these chips. The imperfections are very slight and will probably never be noticed by 99% of the players in a poker game. I personally noticed the pimples only after beginning to closely inspect the chips for the purpose of this review. I probably would not have noticed the pimples simply by playing with the chips during a game. I only noticed the rolling edge seams after examining the chips with a magnifying glass.

The edge spots on Chipco chips do not line up from top to bottom. For instance, the edge spot on the top face of the chip will not continue on to the rolling edge and then on to the bottom face of the chip. You may have edge spots on the top and on the bottom, but they will not line up with the edge spots on the rolling edge. This is a rather unfortunate characteristic of all Chipco chips.

It is not easy to scratch a chip with your fingernail or under normal use but once you do scratch it, the white under-layer of the chip is exposed. Think of these chips as a painting on a canvas, scratch the paint and you can see the off-white color of the canvas underneath.

Chipco chips will chip. You will get little nicks in the edges where the white base under-color of the chip will be revealed. If your chips never get dropped on to a hard floor, they will chip less, but over time they will chip.

Chipco's have rounded corners compared to most new clay chips (except for the BPC Modern Clay). The Chipco chips have a bit of a "worn in" feeling to them right out of the box. Although there are ceramic, there is a texture to them that is quite acceptable. There is none of that "slippery" feeling that you get with your typical 11.5g composite chip. Chipco's seem slightly thinner (they are not) but it seems easier to maneuver new Chipco's in your hand than a new clay chip. This feeling is probably as a result of the rounded corners.

Chipco chips have a bit more of a 'porcelain' ring to them than a clay chip's thud. The sound is not unpleasant but when you combine the feel, and then the sound, of these chips you will notice that you are playing with ceramic chips. Having said that, these chips have an excellent weight and balance to them. They stack well.

The ChipCo company and website are closed as of March 2013. Many of the ChipCo molds have been sold to Palm Gaming International (see below).

Merchant Ambassador

Merchant Ambassador is the leading developer and producer of poker chips and poker accessories made in China. They carry a full line of home-use and professional quality gambling products and sell products both 'no-name', OEM production for various other brands, as well as under their own JACKPOT brand. These products include 14, 11.5, 7.5, and 4 gram clay-feel chips as well as ABS chips in up to three colors, Graphic-Inlaid chips using both high resolution printing techniques directly onto the chip or with stickers, Coin-inlaid chips, dozens of cases, complete case sets, tables, table-tops, layouts, card shoes, racks, carousels, etc. Merchant Ambassor has been making poker products in China longer than anyone else and have been steadily closing the gap between Chinese-made chips and American-made chips. They are the largest producer of these products in China with a daily output of several million chips, and have over 20 factories in southern China covering various product types (injection molding, woodworks, etc).

For further information please visit www.merchantambassador.com.

Palm Gaming International

A Florida based poker chip manufacturer, wholesaler,  and retailer. For further information please visit //www.palmimports.com.

Paulson

When you think of a traditional casino chip, a Paulson Top Hat & Cane is probably what you have in mind. They make most of the chips that are used in North American casinos. The sound and feel of Paulson chips far surpass any other home poker chip, riffling a stack of these babies is a thing of beauty. There is just something substantial about a Paulson chip.

The multi-color edge spots vary from chip to chip but are some of the nicest available. Edge spots are irregular in shape, this is natural. There are no edge ridges on these chips. The permanent inlays feel a little slick at first but soften with age. Everything about this chip will get better with age, blemishes and marks will blend in over time.

If you've got the money, these are some of the best poker chips you can buy. They are the real McCoy! After you handle these babies for a while, you'll never go back to anything else!

In general, Paulson does not deal with individual (non-commerical) orders. Both Paulson and Bud Jones chips are now made by Bourgogne et Grassette. For further information please visit Gaming Partners International.

R.T. Plastics

R.T. Plastics chips have some of the most beautiful inlays on the market. They have a slim border that feels to be a high-grade composite of some kind.

On the rolling edge, these chips usually have six pairs of slightly irregular stripes with one diamond between each pair of stripes. The numerous diamonds and stripes makes the rolling edge look somewhat too busy.

These chips have excellent weight. They sound good and have a nice thud but they do slide very easily against each other. They do not stack all that well.

The labels on these chips are easy to peel off. You can slip your fingernail under the label and usually peel it off completely in one try. The labels are slightly recessed within the chip and you definitely have to intentionally and deliberately lift the label for it to come off. I foresee no problems with the labels coming off during normal play. The labels could not be punctured or ripped with a knife. Scratching the clay left almost no noticeable marks. The labels themselves are rather slick.

There are several injection mold marks located under the sticker, none of which can be felt.

Sun-Fly PokerChips

A Chinese poker chip manufacturer. For further information please visit sun-fly-pokerchips.com.

T.R. King & Co., Inc.

I really like these chips. They have a traditional look, sound, feel and weight to them. They feel like quality and have a series of crowns around the border. These is a shininess and a sharp edge to these new chips, they definitely have to be broken in, but will improve with age. The shininess of these chips may throw you off at first because they almost look like composites.

There is no chance of the inlay peeling off this chip which is also very resistant to scratching or chipping. These are tough inlays. The inlay is deep and you must scratch about 1mm into the chip to reveal the base chip color underneath. Scratching the clay left little damage and it would definitely blend in over time. These chips stack beautifully and don't easily slide.

You can custom order T.R. King chips with three-color edge spots and custom inlays that will never peel off. You'll pay a lot for these customized chips but if you're looking for a very traditional chip with multi-color edge spots and a very durable inlay, these chips may be for you.

T.R. King is closed as of the summer of 2006.

Global Poker Chip Manufacturers

First Rate (China)
Global Sources (Directory)
Merchant Ambassador (China)


Quality of Your Poker Chip Samples

Labels

On those chips that have inlays or labels of any kind, try to peel them off. Poke them with a sharp knife, and intentionally leave a couple drops of beer on them overnight. Are the labels centered on the chip? Is the label positioned with the edge spots at 2, 6, and 10 o'clock?

Edges

Some chips have very sharp edges, others have softer edges, and some chips, such as the Modern Clay, come with intentionally pre-rounded edges to give the chips that 'worn in' feeling. Bash the chips against each other a couple times to see how bad the edge gets scored. Is there a big dent?

Edge Ridges

The "rolling edge" is the part of the chip that would come into contact with the table if you were to roll the chip on it's edge. Some poker chips have little ridges (ripples) that run around the rolling edge of the chip (imagine a stack of 10 pancakes). You can sometimes feel these ridges with your fingernail. Some people find this distracting but others never notice it. In my review, when I state that the edge ridges are "noticeable" it means that if you look or feel for them, you will notice them. It does not mean that you will pick up the chip for the first time and notice ridges on the rolling edge.

Stacking, Slipping, & Sliding

Some chips slip and slide more than others. Generally, you don't want your chips to slide, you want them to stick to each other just a bit to make stacking easier. You also don't want the chip to feel slippery in your hand. It is hard to judge stacking qualities with only one, or a few, chips. What you can do is stack one chip on top of another and see how easily it slides off. Some chips will slide rather easily while other chips will stick a little more.

Scratch the clay

Using another chip, then your fingernail, and then a sharp knife, try to scratch and then gouge the clay (composite, abs, plastic, ceramic) on the actual chip. Does it leave a noticeable mark? Is very easy to scratch? Is there a contrasting color underneath? Does the scratch mark blend in over time?

Dig down deep to see how deep the chip color goes. Make sure you dig into at least one edge spot to make sure it's not simply painted on to the chip.

Scratch/puncture/chip/peel off the label

Try to scratch the label with another chip then your fingernail and then with a knife. Try to peel off the chip label using your fingernail and then a knife. Try to puncture the label with the knife. Try to chip the label with a knife.

Scratch the gold foil

Try to scratch the foil using your fingernail and then a knife.

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