Composition of Materials

Even though most people assume that authentic casino poker chips are clay, in reality the bulk of chips made after 1949 are a composition of materials, which includes clay, that have been compressed into a mold. aswell as clay, the poker chips also can contain an earthen material such as sand or chalk.

The actual process of making the chips is kept quiet, but some details are known. The edges of the chips are differently colored, not because they are painted, but because tiny pieces of clay are abstracted and replaced with a different color of clay during the process. This is done before the chips have been cut and are still in one long cylinder.

Compression Molding

After the cylinder is cut into poker chips, the inlays are added. This is done before they begin the process of molding. Inlays are the graphics found on clay chips. They are ordinarily constructed of a thin plastic layer which covers the graphic on paper. The paper and plastic are put on the chip before the molding process begins.

To compress & mold the chip, each chip has its own mold, which is compressed slowly and heats the chip at 250 degrees Fahrenheit. During this time, all the materials are infused, and the inlay is also fused to the chip.

Ceramic and Plastic

Ceramic and plastic chips are also in demand, peculiarly with casual home poker games. Ceramic chips are often called clay chips, but they are really made from a resin formula (another trade secret) that makes a chip feel and sound like clay when you tap it against the poker tables. These chips are made by injecting the resin into closed molds. Other chips are plainly plastic. These are the least expensive type of poker chips and are made by injecting ABS plastic into a mold. After it dries, the mold is removed and excess plastic is trimmed off the edges if needed. The molds commonly have a common design imprinted on them so that when the chips are removed, they have that design imprinted on them.