Texas Holdem Chips, Equipment, and Shuffling

Poker has always been a popular game. In the beginning
players would use all different forms of currency while playing.
Items such as gems, ore, gold, food, and livestock were used by
players to raise the stakes of the game.

As the games popularity grew the need to have a single
currency to be used in the game became evident and so the poker
chip was born. The first to start using the poker chips were
riverboats and small card rooms. They would exchange the chips
for money for anyone who wanted to play the game. They would
charge a small fee for the exchange and the player was
guaranteed to leave with the amount of money he had in chips at
the end of the game.

The first poker chips were made of clay. These chips were put
into production at the end of the 1800’s. As technology grew so
did the construction of the poker chip. Since their introduction
they’ve been made from such materials as acrylic, plastic, and
even some exotic chips were made from ivory.

The modern day chip found at the Texas holdem tables is made
primarily of clay if it’s to be used while playing at a table
and metal if it’s to be used playing in the slot machines. In
today’s world where gambling is growing and places like Las
Vegas and Atlantic City have so many gambling establishments
it’s important for them to have a set of chips that can only be
used at one place. Each casino usually has a specific design and
some even have microchips made into their chips. That way only
their chips can be used at any game so they are guaranteed their

Poker Chip Denominations

Basic Holdem Chip Colors and Values

  • White = $1.00
  • Red = $5.00
  • Blue = $ 10.00
  • Green = $25.00
  • Black = $100.00

Full Color and Values

  • White, $1
  • Yellow, $2 rarely used
  • Red, $5
  • Blue, $10
  • Grey, $20
  • Green, $25
  • Orange, $50
  • Black, $100
  • Pink, $250
  • Purple, $500
  • Yellow, $1000 sometimes burgundy
  • Light Blue, $2000
  • Brown, $5000

Poker Chip Rules in Casinos

When you buy into a game at a casino, you’re exchanging money
for poker chips. Each game is different so the way the chips are
distributed depends on the game you’re playing. When you buy
into a Texas holdem poker tournament, you might receive $3,500
in poker chips, but the buy-in for the game is only $100. The
$3,500 in chips holds no cash value, so you couldn’t go exchange
the chips for cash.

In poker tournaments, you’re playing for a piece of the prize
pool. The $100 buy-in goes into the pot and the total pot is
distributed to the top finishers. The number of people who share
in the pot and the percentage they earn depends on the

However, if you’re playing in a holdem cash game, the poker
tokens hold a cash value. So if you buy $1,000 in chips, it will
cost you $1,000. The poker chip value will match the cash value.
And you can head to the cashier and swap your casino chips for
cash at any time.

Casinos use different poker chips for cash games and
tournaments, so they don’t risk losing money by handing over
cash for tournament tokens that aren’t worth anything.

Within a casino, poker chips, the ones with cash value, work
just like cash. You can use your poker chips to pay for anything
on the property –such as, a buffet dinner, something from the
gift shop, or tips for the waitress; it just depends on the
casino and their rules.


Hand Shuffling

The objective of a correct card shuffle is to change the
order of cards in the deck. Today we have a large scale of card
shuffles. Some shuffles are common and others are fancy. It also
depends on the country where you’re playing. For example in
Europe the most widely used shuffle is the Overhand shuffle. The
Riffle shuffle is common in the USA but in Europe this shuffle
is considered fancy and many people can’t do it. It also depends
on the quality of cards you can get in certain areas. Some of
the most common shuffles are explained below.

The Overhand Shuffle

This is probably the most common method of card shuffling
today. To successfully use this method here is how it It’s done.
Start with the shuffle cards in your right hand; hold the deck
with your thumb on one short side of the deck, index finger on
the long side and middle and ring fingers on the short side
opposite your thumb.

Then with your right thumb slide the cards from the top of
the deck held by the left hand to the right hand. The right
index finger should be bent to lay on the short side of the
deck. The other three fingers are a bit curled under the deck.
The right hand is moved closer to the left hand and the right
thumb locks by applying pressure on the top car) a few cards
from the top of the deck. Then the right hand moves back and the
locked cards are drawn from the top of the deck to the left
hand. This procedure is repeated until all the cards are in the
left hand.

The Table Riffle Shuffle

Another common shuffle you see in all casinos is known as the
Table Riffle. Here is how it’s done. First thing to do is place
the deck flat on the table with the longer side facing towards
you. Cut about a half of the cards and place them next to the
rest of the cards so the short sides of both stacks touch. Put
your right hand on the stack on the right so that your thumb is
in the left corner of the deck on the side facing towards you,
your index finger should be on top of the stack in the middle of
the short side close to the edge and the rest of the fingers are
on the longer side of the deck opposite to you. The left hand is
placed on the left stack in mirror symmetry with the right hand.

Now raise both thumbs a little and at the same time put
little bit of pressure on the top of the deck with your index
fingers. Release the cards from both stacks with your thumbs
while rotating both your hands so that no cards are held by your
thumbs. Now you have to put both stacks together. Now curl your
little, ring and middle fingers and place them at the short
sides of the stacks, your index fingers on the long sides of the
stacks opposite to you and the thumbs on long sides of the
stacks facing towards you and now insert the stacks together and
square the deck.

When you start practicing you probably won’t be able to make
a perfect riffle but after a few days of practice you’ll be able
to do a decent riffle shuffle.

The In-Air Riffle Shuffle

Many people know how to do the riffle shuffle on the table
but they often don’t know how to make it without it.

Start with the deck in your left hand and hold it with your
little, ring, and middle finger on one short edge of the deck
and with thumb on the other. The index finger is placed on top
of the deck apply pressure with your index finger on the top of
the deck and riffle about half of the deck with your thumb on
your right hand. Now move your left hand up and with the little,
ring and middle finger raise the stack held by the right hand to
the right hand’s thumb. Now you should be holding about half of
the cards in each hand with fingers matching.

Close your hands and riffle the stacks with your thumbs. Now
you can simply put the stacks together and square the deck. You
can also do a flourish to put the stacks back together known as
a wave. If you want to wave the cards, hold the riffled stacks
by your index, middle, ring and little fingers on the free
shorter sides of the stacks. Now curl these fingers and put the
thumbs on top so the cards which will create a shape like a
arch. If you straighten the fingers the cards will start to fall
down. This way the stack will be inserted together with ease and

The Faro Shuffle

To use a Faro Shuffle you need to follow these instructions.
This type of shuffle is not as easy as the others and may take a
while to get down. Start by holding the deck in your left hand
with the tip of your thumb on one of the long edges, your index
finger on the short edge and the rest of your fingers on the
long edge opposite to your thumb. Then you take about a half of
the deck with your right hand. When you take the cards away you
have to hold them with your thumb on the long edge, the index
finger slightly pressing the top of the stack and the other
fingers near the long edge opposite to the thumb.

Now comes the hard part of the shuffle. Now you have to weave
the short edges of the stacks together. This takes some time to
learn. It’s better to bend the stacks a little before you insert
them together. After weaving the stacks you can simply finish
the Faro shuffle by squaring the deck or by using the waterfall

Shuffling Machines

Hand shuffling is becoming a thing of the past in casinos and
poker rooms. Almost all casinos in operation now use mechanical
or computer based shuffling machines. These machines are not
fool proof but they’re more secure for the casino.

They have the ability to lower the rate of card counting,
avoid inside jobs where an employee works with a player to
guarantee wins, and hand shuffling is not as accurate, so these
machines have seen a huge growth over the years.

Shuffling machines come in two main varieties: continuous
shufflers, which shuffle one or more packs continuously, and
batch shufflers, which shuffle an entire single pack in a single
operation. The first ever mechanical shuffling machine was
introduced in 1878 by Henry Ash. His device was a box with an
open top where the operator would place the deck. The operator
would then slightly shake the box to make the cards fall through
a comb at the bottom of the box. About half of the cards would
fall into the lower compartment while the rest was still in the
upper compartment. The operator would take these upper cards,
pack them together and do the same with the lower cards. The two
packs would be placed upon each other to form a new deck and the
operation could be repeated for better shuffling. Since this
first try, the machines have grown with technological advances.

Today’s card shuffling machines are very simple to use. You
just press the button and it shuffles the deck of cards in
seconds. It’s possible to shuffle two decks at the same time as
there are2 slots at each side of this device for them. Many
variations on shuffling machine technology exist today. A huge
number of various card shufflers use one of the next mechanical
approaches: escalators and belts. The oldest shuffle machines
widely used belts and mini elevators.

For the most part these machines were a mechanical unit and
their technology was prone to miss feeds, jams, and occasional
breakdowns. Another technique used is mechanical fingers. The
mechanical finger simulates the process you take to riffle
several stacks together. During these actions those fingers are
very prone to misalignment and cause jams while riffling. Many
decks of cards may be ruined by this technique so it’s no longer
in use.

The third technique is card transport elevators. The
disadvantage of this technique is wear and tear on the cards
because of the gripping and elevating. Another disadvantage of
this type of machine is it size. Although the shuffling machine
has become a common site in most casinos they’re not completely
error free but their pros outweigh the cons so they’re here to
stay. They’ve become so popular they’ve even started finding
their way into homes of diehard players around the world.

Poker Tables

A poker table is a table specifically designed for playing
card games, usually poker. It’s often covered with baize, which
is a type of felt, or speed cloth, a Teflon coated fabric that
helps the cards slide easily across the surface. Some tables
that are used in professional games have many different
editions. From those you can buy and have for your home

Some of the features found on professional tables are pocket
cams which allow for those watching to see the players hole
cards, others have a indented spot for the dealer so that all
the players are sitting in a U around the dealer, the table may
have a rail where there is padding for the players to rest their
arms on, or they may have what is called a race track.

The race track is a section of wood between the rail and the
playing surface where the player can place their chips and
sometimes they even have cup holders made in for their drinks.
The center of a professional table will usually have a logo or
some type of name that is associated with the casino or
tournament it’s being used in.

Three main types of poker tables exist:

  1. Oval shaped tables
  2. Round tables
  3. Table tops

The oval is a full sized table that
seats up to 10 people. The only downside to this table is that
it may be difficult to deal to the players sitting at one end of
the table if you’re sitting at the other end.

The round table is what most people buy to use in their
homes. These tables seat either 6 people or 8. This table is
lighter and shorter and, therefore, more easily movable than a
full sized table. If you’re playing with more than 6 players you
should really switch to an oval table. When people are sitting
at a table for 3 hours to play a game of Texas holdem poker,
they want a little stretch out room.

With a round table the more players you get the less room
each player has which doesn’t give them enough room to handle
their cards, let alone have a drink or keep track of their
chips. Table top tables are placed over a table to turn a
non-poker table into a poker table. These table tops tend to be
flimsy and can still be very much overpriced.

If you’re planning
on having a regular poker night you should just go ahead and
spend the money on an actual table as you will not be saving
much by buying a table top.

One more option to choose from when
looking at poker tables is electronic tables. Electronic tables
are available but they’re not an option for home use. These have
been on the market for close to ten years but have not become
popular and are not used very often.


Texas holdem games use a wide range of equipment including
poker chips, tables, and a way to shuffle the cards. Now you
should be familiar with popular holdem chip denominations,
shuffling techniques, and tables.