Poker Chip Values – Guide to Understanding Poker Chip Colors & Denominations

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Playing poker at any establishment requires the use of poker chips. Unless games are being played with cash, which is exceedingly rare these days, you’re going to need to use poker chips as currency.

Players use poker chips in cash games, which represent dollar amounts, and in tournaments, where they represent tournament chip values (or T$). So, to be able to play, you’re going to need to understand poker chip values.

Standard Poker Chip Values in Cash Games

If you’re learning how to play poker, it’s important to know about poker chips and what they’re worth.

These are the standard poker chip values you’ll find at cash games in poker rooms all over the world. While there are some exceptions, few poker rooms deviate from these values.

  • White Chips: $1
  • Red Chips: $5
  • Orange Chips: $10
  • Green Chips: $25
  • Black Chips: $100
  • Purple Chips: $500

Some casinos even use $2 and $3 chips, especially if they are low stakes $1/$3 or $2/$3 games. Many casinos also don’t have $10 chips unless you are playing a $5/$10 game.

When you get to higher stakes, you can expect chips of $1,000, $5,000, $25,000, and $100,000 denominations. The poker chip color values often vary depending on the establishment.

High stakes games may also use rectangular plaques, which are heavier and often quite large in size. If you see plaques on the table, you can be assured that the players at the table are playing for a whole lot of cash.

Unlike tournaments, you are mostly allowed to take cash game chips outside of the casino. When it comes to cashing in the chips, there is usually a time limit involved.

This is because poker rooms switch up their logos and designs, often with state-of-the-art technology involved, in order to prevent people from producing counterfeit and fraudulent chips.

Standard Poker Chip Values in Tournaments

WSOP Poker Chips
Image: Forbes

Poker chips used in tournaments have no cash value and will often distinctly state ‘no cash value’ on the chips themselves.

When you enter a tournament, you pay an entrance fee called a ‘buy in’, which allows you to compete for a shared prize pool.

Each tournament has a starting stack, which everyone will receive in exchange for their buy in.

For example, you may receive 30,000 worth of chips when you buy into a $600 tournament. Your starting stack will vary based on the tournament and usually has little-to-no correlation to the buy-in amount.

Unlike cash games, tournament chip colors are far less standard than cash games and often change based on the venue and/or the tournament operator.

Oftentimes, there could be more than one tournament going on simultaneously in the same room, requiring the poker room to use distinctly different designs and/or colors to separate the two competitions.

Here are some of the more standard tournament poker chip values that I’ve played with recently:

  • Black Chips: 100
  • Pink Chips: 500
  • Yellow Chips: 1,000
  • Blue Chips: 5,000
  • Red/Orange Chips: 25,000
  • White Chips: 100,000

Depending on how large the field is, the tournament operators may have chips worth 500,000, 1,000,000, or even 5,000,000.

Unlike cash games, removing tournament chips from the table is highly illegal and getting caught doing this will almost certainly get you disqualified from the tournament and potentially banned from future events.

This is because players could pocket chips and attempt to use them in a future tournament with the same or similar chip set.

Not to mention, this act will likely be publicized and your reputation as a poker player will be destroyed.

Color-Ups in Tournament Poker

When you play in a poker tournament, you’ll often see tournament officials removing smaller denomination chips and introducing larger denomination chips.

Removing these chips and replacing them with higher-value chips is called a color up.

Color ups are important because, as the blinds go up, the smaller value chips become completely redundant.

When blinds go from 600/1,200 to 1,000/1,500, 1,000/2,000, 1,500/3,000, etc… it’s pretty clear that the 100 value chips aren’t necessary after the 600/1,200 level.

It’s likely that this is when the tournament staff would color up the 100-value chips and remove them from play.

This also helps with the organizational aspect of the tournament. While having large numbers of chip stacks is visibly appealing to players and fans alike, you can’t have too many chips on the table at one time.

Color ups keep the chip stacks to much more manageable sizes for both players and officials.

Although color ups aren’t relevant for players who prefer online poker sites, it’s still worth understanding why they matter.

Stacking Chips in Tournament Poker

WSOP Poker Chips
Image: Twitter/blaisebourgeois

Poker chip values matter when stacking chips in tournaments, as it’s much more important for players and opponents to know how much is in each player’s stack.

After all, everybody has a right to know and should adhere to poker etiquette as well.

The most common way to stack your chips is by color in stacks of 20. This makes it easier for both you and your opponents to do the math in order to calculate odds and make better decisions.

Make sure you don’t have dirty stacks (stacks with multiple values in an unorganized manner) and that you keep your highest denomination chips in front and/or clearly visible.

Setting up Chip Values for a Home Game

When you’re running a home game, it’s likely that you don’t have access to a million chips, so you’re going to have to consolidate as best you can while always making sure that the game doesn’t constantly need to make change.

Let’s run through a few examples so that you’re ready to host your next home game.

Example 1: $1/$2 Home Game

For a standard $1/$2 home game, players will start with $200 stacks, good for 100 big blinds. This is the most common approach, though some players will be buying in for more or less, depending on house rules, of course.

This is how you should allocate your chips:

Chip Color Dollar Value Number of Chips
White $1 20 ($20)
Red $5 16 ($80)
Green $25 4 ($100)

Example 2: Deep-Stacked $2/$5 Home Game

Games like this will usually involve some of your regular poker-playing friends and/or some whales (rich, recreational players) with some money to burn.

In this example, we’re going to set everybody up with 250 big blinds, good enough for a $1,250 buy-in.

Keep in mind that we’re virtually only going to use white chips to pay the small blind, so we don’t need to have that many on the table. If you don’t have enough red chips, you can remove 20 red chips from each player and give everyone an extra black chip.

Chip Color Dollar Value Number of Chips
White $1 10 ($10)
Red $5 48 ($240)
Green $25 20 ($500)
Black $100 5 ($500)

Example 3: Small-Field Tournament (1-2 tables)

For small, home-game tournaments that can be completed rather quickly, it’s best to keep a small starting stack and increase the blinds every 15-20 minutes.

In this example, everyone is going to start out with 10,000 chips with Level 1 starting at 25/50.

Chip Color Chip Value Number of Chips
Green 25 20 (500)
Black 100 20 (2,000)
Blue 500 7 (3,500)
Yellow 1,000 4 (4,000)

Types of Poker Chips

There are three main types of poker chips: clay, plastic, and ceramic.

Clay Poker Chips

Modern poker chips are made with mineral clay with certain additives to make them much stronger. These types of chips can survive wear-and-tear for several years and almost never need replacing.

These are your most common chips and are ideal for players as they have a fantastic feel and can be shuffled and stacked extremely easily.

Plastic Poker Chips

Plastic Poker Chips
Image: PixaHive

These are usually very cheap, though there are various levels of these plastic discs. Some of these plastic chips have had some clay or metal inserts added over the years to make them heavier, though they are a little more expensive than their counterparts.

Due to the affordable cost, plastic chips are usually only used for very low-stakes home games.

Ceramic Poker Chips

These chips are referred to as “ceramics”, though they aren’t actually made out of ceramic. Rather, they are made with a highly-durable plastic resin.

These are the highest-quality chips on the market and, predictably, the most expensive.

However, despite their advantages, players generally don’t like ceramics as they don’t have the same feel as their clay counterparts.


What color is a $100 poker chip?

Do all casinos use the same color chips?

What’s the smallest value chip you can find at a poker game?

How many chips do you get in a tournament?

How many chips do you get at the WSOP Main Event?

Blaise Bourgeois
Poker and Gambling Expert
Blaise Bourgeois
Poker and Gambling Expert

Blaise is an Expert Gambling Writer and a professional poker player in Brazil. He has played and traveled throughout Latin America for the last four-and-a-half years and recently won his first WSOP Circuit ring! He received his Master's in Sport Management and Sports Analytics from St. John's University. Blaise also holds a Mathematics and Computer Science degree from SUNY Purchase, where he still holds the school's Men's Soccer record for goals in a season. Blaise has worked for Catena Media, OddsSeeker, WSOP, PokerNews, and Poker.Org in various capacities. He has a passion for extensive research and aims to provide accurate…