We love casino chips! Here’s a hastily slapped-together collection of chip facts to stuff into your Vegas-hungry brain.
1. Chips are also called “checks” or “cheques.”
2. Nevada regulations say casino chips must be 1.55 inches in diameter (for chips used in games other than baccarat). Baccarat chips can be 1.55 inches or 1.6875 inches.
3. Regulations require Las Vegas casino chips to be .130 inch thick.
4. Gaming regulations also specify chips must be “disk-shaped.”
5. Chips are made from sand, chalk and clay, similar to the materials used in kitty litter.
6. One of the reasons casino chips are used is players gamble more with chips than cash. It’s not money, it’s chips!
7. Each casino’s chips have a unique design.
8. Chip colors represent the chip’s value. Common colors are white ($1), red ($5), green ($25) and black ($100).
9. Chip denominations often have nicknames based upon their color. A purple $500 chip is called a “Barney.” Yellow chips, worth $1,000, are “bananas” or “canaries” or “bumblebees” (some casinos use orange, they’re “pumpkins”). A $5,000 chip is a “flag” (red, white and blue). “Melons” are worth $25,000. At Bellagio, they’re “cranberries.”
10. After a casino closes, customers have 120 days to redeem their chips. After that, they’re SOL.
11. Chip collectors grade the quality of chips with these designations: New (N), Slightly Used (SU), Average (A), Well Used (WU), Poor (P), Canceled or Modified (Can/Mod) and Damaged (Dam).
12. Casino chip collecting falls under the category of “numismatics,” the study or collection of currency (coins, tokens, paper money and related objects). To get even more specific, chip collecting is considered “exonumia,” the area of numismatics that focuses on items that are not
13. In the late 1800s, higher value chips were blue. That’s where we get the term “blue chip stocks.”
14. One of the security measures used in casino chips is RFID technology. Embedded RFID tags (most often used in high value chips) broadcast unique identifiers over radio frequencies. RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification. RFID tags allow casinos to keep track of chips, monitor play and even thwart thieves. For example, when an asshat robbed Bellagio, his $1.5 million in chips were rendered worthless when the casino turned off the RFID chips.
15. Adding chips to your bet after an outcome (such as the ball landing in a pocket at roulette) is a method of cheating called “capping.” Removing chips is called “pinching.” It’s also known as “not very smart.”
Bonus chip trivia: A chip made famous by the Game Show Network series “Catch 21” is called the “Power Chip.” We should know. We were on the show and won five grand.
The advent of electronic games has eliminated chips in some games, but there’s still nothing quite like the feel of chips when you’re in the middle of an epic craps roll.
The sound of clicking chips is so intertwined with casinos, it simply wouldn’t be the same without them.
The COVID-19 crisis has inspired casinos to clean their chips much more frequently, a practice that should continue into the future as some had not cleaned their chips since the Carter administration.
When people think of Las Vegas things, casino chips are often at the top of the list. Right after stripper poles.
If you’re into casino paraphernalia, you’ll want to check out 11 Casino Dice Security Measures to Keep Players From Cheating.