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The Origins of Poker Chips

Ever wondered what the history of poker chips was like? They may not seem like they hold any grand significance, but they do date back as early as the 19th century; however, games similar to poker go as far back as the ancient era that came up with the “cheque” found from both Mesopotamia and China. As time progressed, gambling lacked the same legality that is commonplace today, but it later had the approval to be more common in the late 1600s. Since the growing interest in gambling, there were very few ways to play, and the only items that were used consisted of coins, golden nuggets, and money; because there was no distinct trait of gambling at the time, it wouldn’t take long to see a new piece be brought into existence.

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While today’s poker chips are made out of ceramic plastic, these earlier incarnations were instead made from ivory for those that could afford them; alternatively, some people created chips by combining paper and shellac as a means of saving money.

On a side note, cheating was done often, but a larger problem arose when other people began to copy them with their own markings and stealing the credit. Eventually, it was time to start making ones made from clay in the late 1800s, and while they weren’t as easy to forge as their predecessors, they were susceptible to crumbling in pieces with rough play. A century later, chips made from chalk, sand, other similar materials; although it was the second to last advancement, it did have some of the new traits found in poker chips today.

The textures, durability, and shape originated from this era of poker chip history, and the methods of making them were also remarkable for their time. From using clay to make the shapes of the chips to adding graphics with a plastic layer, these began to form the standard look of the chips gamblers know them as today. As mentioned, these are the second to last methods of creating the chips players know them for today. Later in the ’80s, ceramic chips were introduced, representing the sturdiest and most professional kinds of casino chips anyone will see in any gambling game. They have the best materials used in them, they consist of proper printings, and they even include a nice sound that comes from shaking or moving the chips around in a hand.

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