For poker players and fans, collecting poker chips might seem like a very natural progression from playing poker. As good as it feels to hold a trophy for winning a poker tournament, having that chip you casually tossed into the middle of the poker table to make the winning hero call arguably means much more on a personal level.
When it comes to starting your poker chip collection, however, where can you collect poker chips from? Casinos are notoriously protective of their poker and table game currency for obvious reasons. Collecting poker chips isn’t perhaps so much about casino poker chips, but the collecting poker chips no matter where they come from. From buying poker chips to acquiring poker chips as casinos, we’re here to help.
As we recently told you, the art of cleaning poker chips is by no means an easy job and takes both time and effort to do. This is all in a day’s work for the thousands of casinos in your state or postcode, but as a home collector, you’ll not need to hire or purchase machines that bulk wash your vast collection. That is unless you’re Paul Schaffer.
Who’s Paul Schaffer? We’ll tell you. Schaffer has the Guinness World Record for the largest collection of casino chips and tokens in the world. If you’re already rolling your eyes and wondering why you should bother to attempt to overtake Schaffer, then fear not. His total is a mightily impressive but in no way insurmountable 802 pieces. This record was only set on 22nd June 2019 last year, with Schaffer hailing from – you’ve guessed it – Las Vegas, Nevada. We’re betting that he has a few from the World Series of Poker.
If you’re going to move past Schaffer and become the first person to collect 1,000 different casino chips or tokens, then you could start anywhere, from a Vintage 1930’s Palace Club Reno maroon roulette chip (upwards of $200) to a single dollar chips from your local casino.
Las Vegas Tip: Visit the Gambler’s General Store and Spinetti’s, both located near Fremont Street. These two spots have a massive collection of both poker chips, memorabilia, books, and even full-sized casino tables.
You can’t very well sign up to a poker game at your local casino or enter the Poker Masters and take home one of the chips. Being the currency in a tournament, that chip has an intrinsic value in the short-term and potentially an even greater value if it was then in a higher buy-in event.
While the same isn’t true for cash games, casinos are usually just as reluctant to let go of their currency. What you can do is ask your casino if they have poker chips for sale. While the $1 chips are likely to be the most common, that’s not always the case, as you can see from the collector’s items that are on sale periodically here.
When it comes to collecting poker chips, you can come at it from any angle. Just as Paul Schaffer had a head start on the local casinos approach, living in Las Vegas, you could build your collection around anything your heart desires.
From colors, locations and values – imagine owning a $100 poker chip from every casino in Europe, for example – you have free reign when it comes to collecting and the enjoyment often comes from fulfilling that niche. The value of each poker chip doesn’t necessarily make it more valuable as an antique, with the most expensive casino chip sold on eBay eventually clicked out at a cost price of $30,000. – it was a casino chip of just a $1 denomination.
Before casino chips, players took on the house with anything from a golden nugget to a promise. eBay and other auction sites are great places to look to start your collection as there is a lot of variety and you can get started relatively easily as this comparatively new hobby is a great one to begin and a fun one to enjoy your whole life.
Even if you’re starting out with just a couple of poker chips, you’re only 800 behind the record, so what’s stopping you?
Make sure that the chip(s) you’re buying are in the state you’re looking for. It’s going to be tough to make your collection in mint condition. Make sure that you keep an eye on upcoming auctions in your area and ask at your local casinos. You could even try starting an online thread on social media or on a poker forum to seek out those rarities that will build your poker chip collection.
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