Currency of gambling houses – what are the chips and the history of their appearance

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The existence of a specific internal currency of all land-based casinos, as well as, in principle, their online counterparts, is known to every person. Even if you are not a gambler at all, most likely you have seen or held a gambling chip in your hands at least once. Today we will tell you the history of its origin, discuss the denomination, color differences and a specific system for their protection. In fact, the cost of playing chips is the unspoken rules of the casino. Note that in the Internet version, for example, in online poker, the denomination may vary and not correspond to the usual colors characteristic of a particular amount. Chips, or as they are also called – chips, have a fairly long biography with various metamorphoses. Recall that the first legal land-based casino was opened in Venice. Today it is called Casino di Venezia and is active, having won the title of not only the oldest gambling house in the world, but also one of the most beautiful. However, during its heyday, there were no chips yet; they appeared almost two centuries later.

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In today’s world, every casino has its own chips that replace cash. As we have already told in the article about the rules of etiquette in a casino, the exchange takes place at the cash desk of a gambling house, at the dealer’s table or at a specialized exchange office. A certain chip is equal to a certain amount of money in the corresponding currency. In most cases, they have value only in their casino. Only a few establishments in Las Vegas accept “foreign” chips. The history of casino chips Let’s start with a short historical digression – in the 18-19 centuries, players used very different valuable items for betting, most often they were coins, small gold bars, nuggets, and even gold dust or valuable items. Later, original analogues of modern chips began to appear: they were made from clay or ivory, from precious woods, and even from cardboard. As for the shapes and colors, they were very diverse. Gambling houses used round, square or rectangular objects of small size, the denomination on them was indicated not by numbers, but by a certain ornament or pattern. The production of chips was not put on stream at that time and did not have strict standards. A bright stage in the biography of chips was the period of increased popularity of gambling among the aristocracy. Then there were made-to-order chips made of precious metals. Gold or silver tokens were decorated with engravings and inlaid with diamonds, pearls, rubies and other precious or semi-precious stones. The prices for them, of course, were very high, which tempted the scammers too much – dishonest players learned how to fake such chips and deftly replaced the originals during the height of the game. At the beginning of the last century, companies appeared that set up the production of playing chips according to certain standards. They were made of clay and additional materials that improve their structure. But there were still too many options – more than a thousand. To protect their products, manufacturers used small metal inserts or complex images. But already during this period, the primary colors began to strengthen their positions – the chips became predominantly red, blue, white and yellow. In the seventies of the 19th century, celluloid appeared – plastic, and after a decade and a half this obedient, convenient and very affordable material was included in the chips. They began to be made from a mixture of certain types of clay and plastic. In such a “composition” the chips have come down to us. Note that until now, manufacturers keep the proportions and special, so to speak, ingredients in strict confidence. In the process, gambling houses began to order chips for themselves, with an exclusive composition, so that it was impossible to fake them. Why do casinos need chips Playing chips in a casino are the equivalent of real, cash money. They can be purchased for any currency. Agree, when meeting guests at the same table, for example, from China, India and Russia at the same table somewhere in the state of Nevada, it would not be very comfortable for everyone to understand the exchange rates of a particular currency in order to place a bet. Chips are also exchanged for money equal to your winnings. They are convenient to use, understandable to everyone, thanks to traditional colors and denominations. There are a number of reasons explaining and confirming the need to use chips in a casino: Chips have long been one of the most important components of the entire atmosphere of a gambling house and are associated with the word casino by almost any person. Chips are more convenient than cash. They do not tear, do not wear out and are a universal, understandable currency. Due to their special composition and protection, they are much more difficult to counterfeit or steal. They are useless outside of their home. The standard size and shape of chips greatly simplifies the process of controlling and counting their number both at the table and in special stacks – a stack of 20 chips. An experienced dealer can count them almost by eye. Due to the fixed weight of each chip, for example, in poker, you can determine the total amount of a large stack by its weight. Basically, special trays for chips are used for this. Another useful feature of gambling chips is the convenience of controlling the required payout amount. It is very convenient for the internal security service of the house, and the dealer, and the player to check and count the chips with the denomination indicated on them. Also, it is believed that a person, especially a gambler, is easier to part not with real cash, but with chips, making large bets during the game. Denomination or value of chips in a casino What is the denomination of chips in a casino is, in simple words, their value or price. Players do not bet one hundred rubles / yuan / euro / tenge – they use the equivalent of conventional monetary units – the playing chips of the casino where they play. The chips have a designation of their value. Usually these are whole numbers – one, five, ten, one hundred and so on. Note that “special” chips with an additional denomination can be used for various games. Almost every game requires chips with a certain denomination. Consider an example – for Russian poker, chips of the following value are used – 10, 20 and 50. In stud poker and in hold’em poker – 1, 5, 25, 100, 500 and 1000. In cash poker, that is, in poker for cash especially expensive chips almost never use money, so chips for 500 or 1000 are quite rare. Now let’s move on to colors. Here, in fact, there is no single standard that is mandatory for all casinos. The gambling house has every right to change its usual designation. But certain traditions still exist, let’s see how it usually looks like: White chip – white chip – face value 1 (one) Red chip – red chip – face value 5 (five) Blue chip – blue chip – face value 10 (ten) Green chip – green chip – denomination 25 (twenty five) Black chip – black chip – denomination 100 (one hundred) Magenta chip – purple or purple chip – denomination 500 (five hundred) Less common and more expensive chips correspond to the following denominations – Orange chip – orange or yellow – 1000 (one thousand), Pink chip – pink – 5,000 (five thousand), Gray chip – light gray or blue – 10,000 (ten thousand). Earlier in the article, we mentioned that there are chips, so to speak, with an additional or intermediate denomination, and so they can be equal to: 0.5 dollars, two, 2.5 and 20 dollars. The most common are four colors and denominations that increase exponentially from one to one hundred – 1, 5, 25, 100. Some gambling houses, taking into account the habits of players for the colors of the chips, decorate the tables for games in the color corresponding to the limit of this table. For your information, in sports poker, betting starts with a chip equal to 25 and colored green. And the most expensive chip in the world was created by a talented jeweler from rose gold and diamonds, the master worked on it for two and a half years by order of one of the casinos and valued his creation at 450 thousand dollars. This masterpiece is included in the Guinness Book of Records. Gaming Houses Protecting Their Chips Let’s discuss how gambling houses protect themselves and their chips today. Let’s start with the fact that each casino has its own original chips with certain differences – strictly defined color combinations on the edges or edging of the chips, ultraviolet marking corresponding to this casino, and even such a modern high-tech way of distinguishing and protecting as a radio frequency marker. Note that chips purchased or won in one casino, say, “Lucky Joe” have value and can be used or cashed out in this same “Lucky Joe”. They will not be quoted in other gambling houses. One of these situations was described in our article about the most high-profile casino robberies, in the section about the Bellagio Hotel and Casino raid. The only exceptions are some casinos in the US state of Nevada. With the modern level of security inside the house, it is unlikely that any of the scammers will be able to replace or steal real chips, but the casino is ready for such potential difficulties – each gambling house has an additional supply of their chips (these are chips with alternative specific markings). And at any moment, the house can completely replace all the chips on the table. The history of gambling is rich and changeable, just like the luck of the players, someone gets huge winnings, others try to outsmart the house and master adventive games, others prefer online gambling … But the chip of a gambling house is in its chips, which add up victories and defeats players, faith in luck and passion for gambling, and the whole inner world of the casino.

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