Chip Chat

The iconic image of the casino chip exists throughout society. There are various designs and collectors and every chip has a story to tell; some hold significant value by virtue of their face value or collectability. With that in mind, let’s have an impromptu Q&A session of some of the casino and poker chip questions that may be of interest to casino goers.

How can you tell a real casino chip from a fake one?

Being that casino chips are so essential to the running of casinos, it’s of utmost importance that they remain on the premises, are not swiped from other patrons, and  are genuine rather than counterfeit. Casinos have had decades to get a structure in place to ensure that nothing untoward happens. For starters chips vary in weight from casino to casino, so this is one telltale sign of their authenticity. Chips also often have distinctive logos, colours and marking which differentiate them from that of other establishments.

Beyond this there are also often markings on the chips that only show up under UV light. More modern day measures now rely on RFID tags embedded into the chips themselves (a chip within a chip – chipception!). Casinos also have advanced CCTV and facial recognition systems in place. These protect customers (should somebody try to swipe your chips!) but primarily the casino itself. Transactions are also kept track of in a forensic manner and so if something is off it will soon be recognised.

Why Do Casinos Use Chips Instead of Cash?

It’s a valid question to ask, as surely casinos want to remove as many obstacles to gambling as humanly possible.  Gamblers aren’t always known for their patience though; they can be an impulsive bunch. The reasons are actually multi faceted. There is a security aspect to it, in line with the aforementioned measures put in place to ensure the legitimacy of chips. Where chips are stolen they can be cancelled via their RFID data, whereas if cool, hard cash was taken this wouldn’t be the case. The RFID tags also allow for mistakes to be tracked during play. On top of this it’s convenient to use chips in such a fast paced environment. Imagine roulette with endless piles of notes on the table. It would soon become unworkable.

A key factor though, is the psychological component to gambling. You see the same online; mentally it ‘feels’ very different to be handing over your money, in comparison to using casino chips or something that’s taking place in a virtual realm. Inhibitions find themselves on the back burner. The human mind is more familiar with the value of notes,  but not so much with casino or poker chips. It’s mentally far easier to push $100 worth of chips onto red or black, rather than having to count it out first.

What’s the largest ever collection of casino chips?

If you can think of it, somebody in the world is undoubtedly a collector of it. The iconic appearance of, and tales behind casino chips make them prime collector material. Some of us may keep a chip or two from a memorable visit to Vegas for instance, whereas others go the whole hog and make collecting them a passion. To ascertain who has the most casino chips we need look no further than the Guinness Book of World Records. Until 2020 that the Largest collection of $1 casino chips and tokens was 802 individual pieces. The record was fittingly achieved in Las Vegas, Nevada on 22th June 2019, by Paul Schaffer. He’d been amassing his collection since 2004. The record fell on 4th October 2020 to Gregg Fisher with a collection of 818 $1 casino chips. Some casino chips can cost hundreds of dollars and so if you’re planning on taking Gregg’s record, you’ll need deep pockets.

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