BR Pro Ceramics Vs. Nevada Jacks Ceramics: Shootout!
Shootout: BR Pro vs. NJ Ceramics
Manufacturer: BR Pro: AceHighSupply NJ: Nevada Jacks
Retailer(s): BR Pro: AceHighSupply; NJ Ceramics: Nevada Jacks, HoldemPokerChips
Average Price: BR Pro: $.78 to $.82 per chip; NJ Ceramics: $.60 to $.68 per chip
Member Review by: CaptLego
There's a new kid on the block for ceramic chips. AceHighSupply recently introduced a new line of ceramic chips, the BR Pro series. We got sample sets of these to review, and were struck by how similar they are to the Nevada Jacks composite (ceramic) chips. Our BR Pro samples included the Tikis and Costa Palma chips.Price
Most members are already familiar with Nevada Jacks ceramic chips. You can find Jojo's review of the NJ composite chips here. You'll also find lots of information on this board about NJ's Desert Sands, Skulls, the group-buy purchases of the American Beauties, Bounty chips, and others.
For this review, then, we decided to focus primarily on the BR Pros but to add notes on how they compare to the Nevada Jacks ceramics in particular. So how good are the BR Pros, and how do they compare to the NJ's?
The BR Pro chips run from $.78 to $.82 per chip in single quantities. Buying a set of 650 only lowers the price per chip to about $.77. By contrast, sets of NJ ceramics run $.60 to $.68 per chip, and many members snap these up on sale or as poker site promotions. (Chipcos run $.89 to $1+, depending on the design)Feel
Advantage: NJ Ceramics.
The BR Pros have a linen texture over the entire face of the chip. It feels very much like a NJ, perhaps a bit less coarse. Similarly, the rolling edges of both chips are quite smooth. While the BR Pro has an injection mold gate mark on the rolling edge, it is not easily felt, even when running a fingernail across it, since it is more of a dimple than a pimple. The edges are pretty square, with corners generally having a small radius that makes the chips handle and shuffle quite well. However, on a few of the chips, there is a bit of a lip to the rolling edge that results in a sharp corner that is easily felt. That corner detracts somewhat from the feel. We feel the same pimples, corners and shoulders in some of our NJ ceramic samples. So in terms of feel, these two are a dead heat. Jojo had a set of NJ Desert Sands for six months, and had many chips with very bad pimples, some of which could be described as gouges. With the few BR Pros we've seen, this is not a problem. Stacking
The BR Pros weigh 9.1 to 9.3 grams. This is a bit lighter than the NJs, which run 9.6 to 10 grams.
Although we prefer the slightly heavier weight of the NJs, on average they are only 6% heavier, which is not very dramatic. Blindfolded, we think you'd be hard pressed to tell the difference between these two chips.
We like the stacking of the BR Pros. Captlego only bought 28 chips as samples, but a stack of 28 is pretty stable, exhibiting only a slight wobble. He particularly likes their feel while shuffling. They have good friction characteristics --- good static friction or grip, with a gentle breakaway and smooth sliding friction. They aren't the most solid of any chip in stacks, nor the highest friction, but all in all, a very nice feel. We did find a couple of spinners in our samples, though. There's one of the green chips, in particular, that spins. The interesting thing is that it will spin against one side of another chip, but if we turned that other chip over -- it no longer spins. Kinda like the chips are slightly cupped. So if the cups nest -- no spinners, but flip over one of the cups and you get a spinner. You can't spin just any old two chips against each other. But once you find a combination that spins, flipping one of the chips over makes the spinning go away.Sound
We're seeing the same spinner behavior with the Bounty (NJ) chips as we observed with the Tikis. Some combination of particular faces of particular chips produces a spinner, but flipping one of those chips over eliminates the spinner. Again, it's like the chips are slightly cupped, and occasionally enough that the right combination of chips and face direction results in a spinner. Our NJ Desert Sands and Skulls samples are very close to the BR Pros, in terms of stacking stability and spinners. The newer NJ chips (Bounty and American Beauties), however, have many more (and worse) spinners, and stacks are much more wobbly than the BR Pros.
The NJ's are a bit thicker than the Tikis. Captlego made some quick measurements: The Tikis run about 3.2mm thick, and the NJ (Bounty) chips run about 3.3mm
20 Chip Stacks, Left to Right: Chipco, Nevada Jacks, BR Pros, Paulson
The stacks shown in the picture measured:
Chipco = 66.5 mmHowever, when the spinners on the NJs were flipped over until all the chips nested, the stack height shrunk from 67.6 mm to 67.1 mm. Similarly, the BR Pro stack shrunk from 64.7 mm to 64.4 mm.
Nevada Jacks = 67.6 mm
BR Pros = 64.7 mm
Paulson = 66.1 mm
Movie (click picture to download and play)
Advantage: BR Pro. Stacks are much more stable, with fewer spinners, than the new NJ chips.
These chips sound like ceramics, but have a much deeper sound (lower pitch, less ring) than Chipcos. The BR Pros and NJ ceramics sound quite similar, with the Tikis being a bit higher pitched and perhaps with a bit more of a ring to them.Looks
Advantage: Tie (they basically sound the same).
The BR Pros have full-face graphics (without the obligatory white ring around the perimeter that Chipcos have). The colors of the Tikis appear bright and deeply saturated. The texture of the face imparts a bit of a matte finish, and softens the edges somewhat compared to a Chipco. The NJ graphics are quite similar, but overall the graphics on the BR Pros are a bit sharper. On the BR Pros, the images on the reverse side are randomly oriented compared to the face. The NJ's are have both faces aligned. Security/Originality
Our BR Pro samples are of the Tikis design, as well as the Costa Palma Casino design. The Tiki's have always been a favorite of both of us. They were designed by Chiptalk's own PuzzleMonkey, who has made design available to AceHighSupply. The Costa Palma design is cartoonish is a similar way to the Tiki's, but is a little generic looking. The latest from Nevada Jacks is the American Beauties, designed by TenPercenter and done as a group buy on Chiptalk. Both are excellent designs, IMO. In the end, unless you're having customs made, your choice between these chips will probably depend on your preference for the design (e.g. American Beauties vs. Tikis/Costa Palma).
Advantage: BR Pro (but your choice will really depend on which design is your favorite).
All of the chips reviewed here are readily available online, so they won't have the security of a set of full customs. Of the NJ designs, the Skulls and Desert Sands would be a bit less secure, since they've been around for awhile and have been involved in numerous promotions so they're more common.Durability
Captlego's been shuffling 1/2 of the BR Pros for a couple of weeks now, and hasn't really observed any change in them. "I don't know how long they'll last before they show wear, but I'd speculate that they'll last you a lifetime." Both kinds of ceramics lose some of their friction after a few hours of shuffling, but not in a bad way; They're not easy to shuffle at first. Stay tuned to chiptalk as people gain more experience with these chips and put more mileage on them.Reviewers Comments
UPDATE: NEW MOLD BR PRO CHIPS
Lego: I'm really pleased with the BR Pros. They look and feel great, and the price is good. I'd still rate them a notch below Chipcos, but they are a worthy competitor to Nevada Jacks ceramics. Compared to the Nevada Jacks, I think the BR Pros have slightly better graphics and comparable sound, but are a bit thinner and lighter. The BR Pros stack about the same as the classic NJs (Skulls and Desert Sands), but are significantly better than the newer NJs (Bounty and American Beauties). The newer NJs have a lot of spinners and consequently, their stacks are quite wobbly. Both the BR Pros and newer NJs suffer from some square/sharp shoulders.
Jojobinks: The BR Pros have a couple of things that put them behind the NJ ceramics. They cost a little more and they're lighter. Their biggest advantage over NJ that we've noticed are their stacking properties. They stack quite solidly, and have less spinner problems. If I were to do custom ceramics, I guess I'd need to hear more. We don't know yet what the cost of putting together a custom set is or what turnaround time is through BR; That knowledge is pretty widely available from NJ. I guess it's too soon to say; It looks like a dead heat to me.
After the original review (above) was completed, Ace High has responded by changing their mold to make the BR Pros thicker and heaver. SpicyChili has obtained sample chips from the new mold, and provides this update.
Review update by: SpicyChili
I received 25 new kokopellis samples from Ace High supply today so I decided that I would do a little review and compare them to the chipcos that I already have.
The new mold was Ace Highís answer to the previous review that was done by CaptLego and JojoBinks where they said that the chips were thinner and lighter than Nevada Jacks chips. While I donít have any Nevada Jacks chips I do have a lot of Chipco chips so I will compare to the Chipco chips and share my measurements.
I may have gone a little far but the engineer in me came out tonight and I couldnít stop. I measured the thickness of 20 BR Pro chips and 20 chipco chips with a caliper. Here are the results:
Ranging between 3.3 and 3.4mm
Ranging between 3.28 and 3.33mm
Measuring a stack of 20
BR Pro New Mold - 67.82mm
Chipco - 66.80mm
BR Pro Old Mold - 65.02mm
Measuring the diameter of 20 New Mold BR Pro and 20 Chipco making sure that the dimple is not touching the caliper
Ranging between 39.62 and 39.65mm
Ranging between 39.37 and 39.4 mm
Feeling the chips and looking closely at the shoulder of the chips, you can very easily determine the top and bottom of the chip. The top shoulder will be rounded while the bottom the shoulder will be squared. This is noticeable to the touch if you know what you are looking (feeling) for. This isnít a big deal for me at all. I am sure that no one would ever be able to tell unless they read this review.Sound:
When shuffling, stacking, dropping the chips, and splashing the pot the BR Pro chips have a slightly lower tone to them than the chipco chips. They still very much have the ceramic sound to them while the older mold had more of a low tone clack. The old mold was almost halfway in between clay and ceramic. The new mold is very much ceramic right inline with the chipco chips, just a little lower in tone.Weight:
My scale is broken so I canít tell you for sure the difference between the old and new but the feel test (wife puts 20 chips in each hand and I pick which one is heaver, which is very scientific and accurate and one of the first tests that is taught in engineering school). I was always able to choose the new moldChips in the rack:
I have two different types of racks. One rack has a 67.7 number in the center slot which is the mm size of the slots. I can put 20 of the new mold kokopellies in this rack but it is VERY VERY tight and I can pick up the rack by just grabbing the chips. This is either compressing the chips or expanding the rack.Edge spots:
The other rack is a little larger and has an opening of 68.58mm (no markings, this is a measurement). It is much nicer to put the chips in this rack. You can only fit 20 of the kokopellies in this rack and there is very little wiggle room. In this same rack I could put 21 of the old mold chips (tikis).
These edge spots seem to be very difficult. The edge spot seems to be shifted a couple pixels which in turn leads to the edge spot being cut off a little bit. Below is an image of what I am talking about. It is very pronounced on the 1000 chip on the right size of the image.Spinners:
As you can see from the image the edge spots are not always off by the same amount. From the measuring a stack of 20 table above you can see that the old mold and the new mold across 20 chips is a difference of 2.8mm (or about 0.14mm per chip). I have been told that the edge spots are printed on these chips a stack of 20 at a time. I am guessing that the printing process was not changed to account for the slight shift in the chip width. So the first chip in the stack will have an edge spot off by 0.14 mm. The second chip will have a spot off by 0.28mm, and each chip would get progressively worst down the stack.
Upon word from Steve with Ace High he said there will always be some slight jitter during printing, but the 1000's that were printed (1 stack of 20) were definitely more of a "slip" and the chips are not acceptable as final. Anyone who received a sample set from this 20 may have a 1000 with the edge design somewhat "chopped." This is not the norm and future quality control will catch this if it appeared in the future.
Out of the 25 samples and I think I have 1 or 2 spinner. I haven't really played around with them in terms of spinners. I have stacked the chips many times, thown then into a pot and restacked and sometimes I have a single spinner and sometimes I have none.
I personally am very happy with how the new mold looks and feels. I am also very happy with how the design came out. The graphics are very clear, just as clear as the Chipco chips that I have, very much as clear as the Egyptians samples that I have.
Lynbark did a great design and Steve with Ace High really came through with the new mold in a very short time. I will be getting a lot of these chips and they will become my primary chips for the tournament that I hold.
If there are any questions or other tests or measurements that you all would like done please let me know.
A BR Pro Tiki
The BR Pro Tikis
Stack showing the dimples.
The square shoulder on some Tikis.
Another square shoulder.
A rounded shoulder on the Tikis.
A NJ American Beauty
A square shoulder on NJ Beauty
A rounder shoulder on a NJ Beauty
Last edited by X-Files; 01-25-2006 at 01:57 PM.