05-03-2005, 07:50 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Matsui Clay Poker Chips Review
Manufacturer: Matsui Gaming
Retailer(s): No known retailers. Wholesale only from Matsui.
Average Price: 45¢ for no edge spots, 80¢ for two-color edgespots.
Material: Compression Molded Clay
Member Review by: TenPercenter
- Matsui has their main office located in Japan and has offices and manufacturing in Korea as well. The Matsui compression molded clay chip is not their flagship line and they focus mainly on sales of their injection molded plastic decal chips and their injection molded coin inlays. All three lines are top notch quality, on par with the best manufacturers here in the States. Matsui also makes acrylic plaques as well as heavy (25g) coin inlays that are magnificent to feel and look at.
- At the time of this writing I have not yet seen Matsui clay chips in retail sales, at least not in the American market. Minimum order for wholesale is 5000 chips I believe and they will cost .85 each for three colors (two color edge spots and one color for the body). The price goes down to .75 each if you buy 50,000 or more. The price for clay chips with no edge spots is .50/.40 each.
- I have handled all clay chips from modern manufacturers. In my opinion the Matsui clay chips are second only to Paulson in feel, weight, and quality of manufacturing. And that second place is very slight, and not certain because I have yet to see a Matsui sample clay with an inlay.
The Matsui clays weigh exactly the same as a standard 39mm Paulson. I weighed 10 Paulson chips and 10 Matsui clays and both stacks weighed exactly 3.4 ounces, averaging 9.64 grams each. As is true with most other clay chips, there is a small amount of variance in weights among chips of different colors. I measured against real casino chips made by Paulson as well as the new 2005 home chips by Paulson.
The Matsui clay feels wonderful. It has a “coldness” to it, which denotes the solid manufacturing of the compressed clay. It seems to me that the warmer the feel of a clay the less dense it is. If I feel a stack of Blue Chips that are sitting next to a stack of Matsui clays, the Matsui’s are colder. When I feel a stack of Matsui’s I feel zero variance of diameter and I feel no flaws on the edges of the chips. They have a great texture on the faces that is neither too pronounced nor too slick.
- Matsui clay chips (as well as their other standard chips) measure exactly 40mm in diameter. Chips for the European casinos are standard 40mm. The thickness of the Matsui clay chip is 3.272mm. Average for Paulson chips is 3.266, and Chipco ceramics 3.313. This means that stacks of 20 are very similar to American made casino chips making racks and cases in the US very suitable for Matsui clays.
I have a stack of 10 Matsui clays for testing. This isn’t enough for testing the “tip resistance” in a real game on a shaky table. The best method I’ve found is to hold the stack by the bottom chip, and tip it until the stack spills. I do this with all chips types for checking slickness. You can also take two chips and squeeze them together and try sliding them against one another. The Matsui clays, once worn in, are the best stacking chip I have found. They stack better than Paulson, Chipco, and certainly better than all the plastic (called composite) chips on the market.
- Sound is purely objective. The benchmark for sounds of chips splashing a pot is the Paulson clay. The Matsui has a bit higher pitch than a Paulson, but a deeper sound than both a Blue Chip clay and an ASM clay. ASM chips have a slight “ring” to them, a high pitched sound compared to Matsui. Blue Chip chips have a “thinner” sound but similar to the ring of ASM chips. The Paulson “clack” as I like to call it, is deeper and sounds like no other chip. The Matsui is the closest sound to a Paulson, but I still prefer the sound of a Paulson.
- I am not particularly fond of the color choices of Matsui clays, at least for the samples that I have. They are all a bit too pastel for my tastes. I can’t say that there aren’t better choices as Matsui does have a large pallet to choose from. The black clay on Matsui chips could be a bit darker to match Paulson’s black clay. At least on the samples, there could be more choices for edge spot quantity and type. My samples only had two edge spot colors for all chips, dark green and DayGlo pink. The chip colors you see at the bottom of this review are brighter than the actual chips are, and I did not use a flash.
The precision quality of the manufacturing of these chips is second to none. They surpass the common Blue Chip by leaps and bounds. They are even better made than a Paulson (you read that correctly!) by a little bit. The edge spots are pressed into the body with very little bleed or distortion. A little distortion is sometimes desired in chips, and is apparent in even Paulson chips. The consistency of each chip is impressive. The edges are perfectly smooth, unlike Blue Chips and even Paulson, both of which have ridges running around the edges (Blue Chip ridges are MUCH more apparent than Paulson). ASM and TR King clays have smooth edges like Matsui. As far as my samples can show me, the Matsui clays are nearly flawless. Of all other manufacturers (including Paulson) I have always found random flaws in the edge spots, inlays, or flatness of the chips.
There are only two molds available on the Matsui clay, one with “M’s” running around the other edge and one with “M G M G” in the same circle, standing for Matsui Gaming. If you have about $2,500 extra to spend you can ask for your own custom mold and Matsui will show you mockups of it within a day. The standard molds are a bit boring but they look alright, and remind me of the older standard “Hat and Cane” mold from Paulson with two concentric circles.
- If you had Matsui clays you would have nearly 0% security problems with people sneaking chips into your game. If you had them hot stamped, you’d have no security problem at all.
- From my handling of these chips for months they have stood up very well. Like all clays will, they have picked up a little grime from 1000’s of shuffles at my desk. I carried them in my pocket for a few days as well. There have been no chips or nicks to speak of, but the edges have had the sharpness dampened a little which is expected and desired. I have found that the Matsui clays picked up less grime over time than do my 2005 James Bond Paulsons.
- In this reviewer’s opinion, the Matsui clay is the best overall clay chip second only to a Paulson. The sound, feel, and weight are nearly perfect. If I were to see Matsui’s with inlays in place, I might even move them to the top of my “favorite clay chip” list. I’d love to have a full set of them to test out in a real game. I am disappointed in color choices, but this may change as clay becomes a more requested chip from Matsui.
A friend pointed out that Matsui chips may be "too" refined. The quality and manufacturing is top notch. But maybe a clay chip should have a little bit of variance? The mold has a very "soft" embossed feeling at the "M's" and circles, whereas American made clays seems to have sharper edges on the mold indentions (see ASM Horseheads). This should prove to be a longer lasting chip with less wear, but clays grow to have "character" when worn a little.
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Last edited by X-Files; 01-25-2006 at 02:06 PM.