Understanding Poker Chip Values and Colors 

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During a recent visit to the casino, I was playing blackjack when a man approached the table and sat down. He placed a five-dollar chip in the betting circle and waited for his cards. The dealer looked at him and them pointed to the green table limit sign and told him, “Sir, this is not a five dollar table.”

He said, “Oh, I didn’t know.” He then picked up his stack of red chips and walked away. He could have saved himself from an embarrassing situation if he had read the table limit sign before sitting down to play. All table games in the casinos have a placard on the table listing the minimum bet for that game. In most cases you don’t even have to read the sign. All you have to do is look at the color.

Many casinos color-code their table game signs to match the denomination of chip for the minimum bet for that table. So all you have to do is look at the color of the sign. The colors of the chips used in the majority of casinos are the same. The denominations of the colors are:

  • White or Blue chips are one dollar.
  • Red chips are five dollars and are called nickels.
  • Green chips are twenty-five dollars and are called quarters.
  • Black chips are one hundred dollars.
  • Purple Chips are five hundred dollars and are called Barneys.
  • Orange chips are one thousand dollars and are called pumpkins.

About five years ago I read a story about a casino in Las Vegas that issued one dollar chips that were black.

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In color. This created quite a stir amongst the other casinos who have $100 chips that are black. There were concerns that scam artists would mix some of these in with the legitimate chips. The pressure was put on and the casino in question quickly recalled the one dollar black chips.

You may occasionally encounter a different color for the dollar chips but red and green are the standards in most casinos. The reason that the casino uses different color chips is to make it easy for the dealers, pit personnel and surveillance cameras to determine how much a player is betting. It also makes it fun for people who collect casino chips!

By matching the color of the chips with the table signs it makes it easy to tell the minimum bet for a table with just a quick glance. A red sign would denote a five-dollar table and a green sign would tell you that the minimum bet is twenty-five dollars. This makes it convenient for the players. There are some tables that have minimums that don’t correspond to chip colors such as $10 and $15 games. All you have to do is note which color sign the casino you are visiting uses. Then remember it for the next time. The casinos in Connecticut use yellow for ten-dollar tables and orange for fifteen-dollar tables.

Some casinos may have the same color sign for all table minimums. If this is the case you will need to read them before sitting down. But for most of them all you will need to do is look for the color of your choice, have a seat and place your bet.

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