The History of the Casino Chips

Casino chips are an iconic item when playing poker and other games in casinos. There are many different colours, representing all different monetary values. Whether you have seen them up close and personal whilst being in a live casino, or caught a glimpse of them in movies and TV shows, some casino chips have even transformed into collectable items, with unimaginable priceless values! From humble beginnings into a worldwide icon, the Poker chip has a lot of history connected to it as well.

Where it all began

Poker has been around for a very long time, but chips weren’t added into the game until much later, in fact, they’re still a relatively new item. With our ancestors bringing in pieces of gold and even gold dust, many saloons struggled to bring standardisation to the game. With the idea of having items such as ivory, bones and clay representing gold, the birth of chips began however most of these items were easy to forge, which is when saloons started to brand their chips. Forging these branded items remained a problem until the late 1880s until branded chips came into play which ultimately produced casinos the way we view them today.

Chips, Chips, Chips

These days, there are so many different chips circulating the globe, with each casino having its branding on a chip as well as many unbranded chips you can purchase online for personal use. It is extremely rare to be able to produce and pass off a counterfeit chip these days. With technology advancing at an alarming rate, casinos have used this to their advantage to protect their in-house currency, to the point where it is harder to produce a fake chip than to produce a fake $100 bill! Each chip has a certain weight, texture, and feel – even then, the majority are embedded with a microchip which contains that specific chip’s serial number! Some casinos even go as far to embed that microchip with all sorts of added data, so even if you did manage to get lucky with a long serial number, you wouldn’t be able to get past the random information stored inside.

Some chips are even collectable items, specifically those from prestigious and vintage casinos. Many tourists who visit Las Vegas collect small value chips just as memorabilia. Even though the chips monetary value is 0 outside of the casino, a lot of people view it as purchasing a souvenir from their holiday. Other chips are even more prestigious and certainly not a souvenir. The key era for collectors is those that were used in the glamourous era of Las Vegas and Atlantic City after World War II. At a time where evening gowns and suits were worn to witness the high-rollers place their stakes in the casinos, an exciting time where the gambling industry witnessed a large ‘boom’.

There are many different ways to collect chips, you can collect the same denomination from all different casinos or all the denominations from the same casino. Some people collect chips from casinos that are closed whilst others collect from the most famous. Some chips have individually sold for over $30,000, so if you’re harbouring any chips from a casino you once visited it might be worth getting them valued!

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