Friends and I play Texas Hold Em once a week. We use various denominations of chips. 10,25,50 and a Dollar. Last week while Chipping Up I gave my Dealer 80 cents in chips. I was expecting a Dollar in return. The dealer gave me 75 cents as he said this was closer to my 80. Is this fair ?


2 Answers 2


In real poker tournaments, when the lowest denomination chip is no longer needed, they chip-up all they can and then have a chip "race" for the odd ones. Cards are dealt in such a way that each odd chip has a 1/N chance of becoming the next larger chip, where N is the ratio of the larger chip to the smaller. That way, the total of chips in play stays the same.

But this assumes that the ratio of larger chip to smaller is a whole number. Your 10-cent and 25-chips violate that principle, and so a standard chip race is not possible. The solution is simple: don't use 10-cent chips. Use 5-cents, 25-cents, 1-dollar, 5-dollar, 25-dollar, etc. All the steps are whole-number multiples.

I also like avoiding multiples of 2 when possible. E.g. many casino tournament chips go 100-dollar, 500, 1000, 5000, 10000,... I personally think tournaments play better with 100, 500, 2000, 10000,... but that's just my personal preference.


It is fair if you are the only one with odd chips at the table - Official Rules

The lowest denomination of chip in play is removed from the table when it is no longer needed in the blind or ante structure. All lower-denomination chips that are of sufficient quantity for a new chip will be changed up directly. The method for removal of odd chips is to deal one card to a player for each odd chip possessed. Cards are dealt clockwise starting with the No. 1 seat, with each player receiving all cards before any cards are dealt to the next player. The player with the highest card by suit gets enough odd chips to exchange for one new chip, the second-highest card gets to exchange for the next chip, and so forth, until all the lower-denomination chips are exchanged. If an odd number of lower-denomination chips are left after this process, the player with the highest card remaining receives a new chip if he has half or more of the quantity of lower-denomination chips needed, otherwise nothing.

Also interesting fact that another source states

A player may not be eliminated from the event by the chip-change process. If a player has no chips after the race has been held, he will be given a chip of the higher denomination before anyone else is awarded a chip

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