Palm Imports Compression Molded Poker Chips Review
Manufacturer: Palm Imports http://www.palmimports.com
Retailer(s): Palm Imports
Average Price: OLD mold: .34 blank .54 printed; NEW MOLD: .39 blank .59 printed
Material: Compression Molded “Clay”
This is a review of the Chinese manufactured compression molded chip from Palm Imports, from here on out these will be known as PI Clays. I will be comparing these to various other compression molded chips that I have, ASM HH mold chips and Sidepots Inplay chips by Blue Chip. Price
Unlike other chips produced in China that are sold as “REAL CLAY CHIPS”, but are actually injection molded ABS plastic with a metal slug center. These chips are actual compression molded chips.
There is some discussion as to whether these chips should be categorized as "clays". Even though they are compression molded, we are not sure on the material used, or if it is the same quality as that used by other compression molded chip manufacturers.
In my opinion, and for the purpose of this article, I will treat these chips as the same category as other compression molded chips. You can not compare this chip to any injection molded plastic, as they are not plastic and are not injection molded. So, in order to do a proper comparison I have to put them up to the closest chips I have, ASM, and BC.
The PI Clays come in 2 different mold styles. The original mold (old mold) is an imitation of the Blue Chip flame mold, the new mold is an interlocking L (sort of a medium Greek key that was developed by Roland). The chips edge spots/colors are not customizable, and come in a 4d14 spot design.
The PI Clay’s do not come with a true inlay since that would have to be done during the chip creation process. However they do have a recess approximately 1.08 inches in diameter, this will allow custom labels to be applied.
- Price, Price, Price
- Truly compression molded no injection spots, or slug center, or plastic feel
- Sound and feel good, like other clays
- Stack as well as any clay.
- Can not customize colors/edge spots
- Edge spot colors go all the way into the recess area.
Left to right (PI Clay, Blue Chip, ASM)
The pricing for these chips vary according to which mold you buy, and whether or not you have Palm Imports label the chips.Feel
For blank chips the prices are as follows
For printed chips (chips with a custom printed label applied)
- Flame mold (old mold) - .34/chip
- Key mold (new mold) - .39/chip
The pricing on the blanks is extremely good for a compression molded chip. Blank ASM solids run .50/per chip, more for edge spots. So, I feel the price for a PI Clay blank is very good.
- Flame mold (old mold) - .54/chip
- Key mold (new mold) - .59/chip
However to get the “printed” chips you are looking at over .50/chip and that seems a little high to me considering it is not a true inlay.
The PI Clays are a soft chip. I broke one in half by applying pressure with my thumbs; I was able to do the same with an ASM, although the ASM took a bit more pressure. I was not able to break a Blue Chip, which seems to me to be the hardest of the clays.Stacking
The PI clays do not have the sharp corners of an ASM or Blue Chip, they are a little flatter for lack of a better word. The outside face of the chip, with the edge spots, has a slight texture, while the recess is smooth (this allows for a better for the applied labels).
The texture is slighter than my ASM’s, but much more than the Inplay Blue Chips which seems to have none.
I preformed a friction test by squeezing two chips together between my thumb and forefinger. I am able to slide the PI Clays back and forth, but you can feel the friction. There is not as much resistance when I do this with the Inplay chips, and more resistance with the ASM’s.
The PI Clay feels just slightly heavier than the ASM and Inplay chips when I hold one in my hand. I would say they are right on 10 gm if not very slightly over, but of course they are much lighter than the composite 11.5 gm chips.
A broken PI Clay next to a broken ASM
I stacked 50 of these chips and they were rock solid. They lay flat and I had no spinners. I bumped the table and there was a slight wobble but the stack stood easily. These stack as well as other clays. This was impressive to me as I love stacking chips.Sound
Stack of 50 PI Clays
The PI Clays have the clack of clay chips when shuffled. The clack is a duller pitch than the ASM’s and closer to a Blue Chip.The PI Clays also don’t resonate as much as the ASM or Blue Chip, I believe this is a result of the PI Clay being softer.Looks
I am not a big fan of the 4d14 edge spot pattern, and I feel some of the color combinations are ok, but some of the choices are questionable. However, that is all simply a matter of opinion as there are many people who love the 4d14, I am just not one of them.Security/Originality
Also probably the biggest problem I have with these chips falls into the “looks” category.
The edge spots color goes all the way into the recess area, and that bothers me. I don’t know why it does, it just does. The ASM and Blue Chip chips both have the edge spot color stopping just before the inlay area.
Some of the PI Clays have some stray marks on the face of the chips, often a small dot in the edge spot area or beside it. However this is not totally uncommon among clays as some of my Blue Chips have the same thing.
I am not a fan of the flame mold on this chip or Blue Chips, however I think the new Key mold is spectacular. I love the classic look it gives these chips.
The labels that are printed and applied by Palm Imports are good quality. They are vinyl and very stiff, they seem coated with something to make them stronger. They are strongly adhered, and I had to use the tip of a knife to dig under the corner of one to peel it back. I wouldn't expect these labels to peel from any normal use.
When I broke this PI Clay the label stayed adhered and broke with it.
A PI Clay with the label peeled back
How much security can you have on any chip that is mass produced?Durability
While security isn’t non existent, if someone wanted real bad to sneak some chips into your game, with some effort they could.
A custom label allows you to distinguish your chips from others of the same kind, but someone could replicate your label and sneak them into a game. According to Joe at Palm Imports however, these chips can be hotstamped and a custom die hotstamp would add plenty of security. You would just have to find someone who would be willing to make the die and stamp them for you.
These chips should last a long time through normal play. I have had a stack on my desk that I have been shuffling for the last 3 or 4 months, and they don’t show too much wear. I took one of these chips and dropped it from 7 feet onto my hard wood floor repeatedly. It cracked on the 5th drop.Reviewers Comments
Unless you have players who take a hammer to your chips when they catch a beat, you should have no problem with these chips.
When I first started writing this article I was going to target it to the people who buy clay chips, you know the people who refuse to have anything less than retired casino Paulsons, or gets sets of custom ASM’s made. I was wondering how those people would feel about this chip.Additional Chip Pictures
Then it struck me, that isn’t who this article should be for. This article should be for the people in the middle of the road, the people who are looking to buy Nexgens, or the composite “Pro Clays”. Even the people who have decided they don’t want plastic composite chips, so they are saving to get some NJ Skulls or Desert Sands (both of which are fine chips by the way).
So, for anyone in the above mentioned category here is my opinion for you.
The PI Clays are a great chip for the price. While they don’t land in the Paulson category, they are 10x better than any Nexgen or other plastic composite chip you can find and close to a Blue Chip. If you where looking at getting Skulls or similar, but what you really want is a “clay” (compression molded) chip well then this is for you.
Not only is it a clay chip, but one that you can customize. The only thing that I would say is the difference in cost between the blank and printed version seems high to me. I think I could have some nice vinyl labels made and apply them myself for much less than .20/chip. Paying .59/chip for the labeled key mold just seems too high, although I think .39/chip for the blank Key mold is a great deal.
Flame mold blank
Flame mold with labels (click for larger image)
Key mold blanks (click for larger image)