RT Plastics Poker Chips Review
Manufacturer: RT Plastics
Retailer(s): Gamblers General Store, Old Vegas Chips, WeDoItAllVegas, PinballSales, PokerTablesExpress
Average Price: $.80 per chip
Material: 9 gram Clay Composite
Member Review by: CaptLego
RT Plastics makes this series of fantasy chips available to the general public. They are available in a wide variety of inlay (sticker) designs (follow the retailer links above to see them). These are very nice mid-level chips, but at premium chip prices. Price
Prices for these chips range from $.79 to $1.00 per chip. This puts them near the high-end of new chip prices. Unfortunately, they are not consistently at the high end of chip performance, so I don't consider these to be a very good value. Feel
I like the feel of these chips. Their 9g weight is pretty good, comparable to super diamonds or Paulsons and other clays but noticeably less than Chipcos or the "standard 11.5g dice". The chip has a distinctly clay feel. The corners are a bit rounded-over like a well broken-in clay chip. The large inlay (actually a sticker) is very smooth, comparable to the Bellagio chips. This makes the graphics sharp, but I'd actually prefer the feel if there were a bit more texture. My first batch of these chips have a very high gloss finish on the inlays -- almost like a clear mylar covering. Later, I purchased some additional chips to supplement the set. Some of the new chips came with a dull finish, like they left off the mylar covering. These newer chips have a texture comparable to chipcos. The last time I visited Gamblers General Store in Las Vegas, their chips were the duller, more textured type. Also, the finish and texture may be different for the various designs. So (as always) get samples to see if you like flavor you'll be getting. Stacking
Overall, I'd have to say that these chips are pretty good for stacking. That said, these chips have different stacking characteristics than the other sets I have available for comparison.
Below is a picture of a 380 chip tall stack of these RT Plastics. We've been able to duplicate that with superdiamond chips, but as far as I know no other chip has been stacked this high. A 200 chip stack of Chipcos is about the limit, and dice chips are even worse. A 200 chip stack of RT Plastics is no challenge at all. (I'll have to wait for the Pharaohs until I have enough Paulsons for a comparison.) The problem with tall stacks of chips is that they start to lean. For these stacks, you want a chip that is uniform in thickness across the chip, makes solid contact around the perimeter, and doesn't compress (if they compress, the stack will be wobbly).
At the table, stability of small stacks (maybe 20 or so chips) is of more value than the ability to make the tallest stack. You don't want the stack to fall over if you bet it, bump it, or bump the table. For this, you need good friction betwen the chips. There are two different kinds of friction; static and dynamic.
Static friction is a measure of the force required to "break loose", or initiate sliding. Take a couple of chips and squeeze them tightly between your fingers. Now gradually increase the force sideways, trying to slide one chip across the other. At some point, the chips will start sliding. If the static friction is low, it will not take much force for them to start sliding. On the other hand, if the static friction is high, you may have to push sideways quite hard before they move, and "break loose" may be a good description of how they abruptly jump sideways. Of my samples, the Matsui Coin Inserts and Paulsons (grand inlay) have virtually no static friction: their breakaway is almost silky smooth. The dice chips and superdiamonds have a wee bit more static friction and the modern clays have slightly more yet. The Chipcos have noticeably more static friction, but nowhere near the amount of the RT Plastics. When you squeeze a stack of RT Plastics together, it's like they are micro-interlocked. The stack almost feels like a single solid thick chip. This effect may be what some call "suction", but in the case of the RT Plastics, at least, lifting one chip has no tendency to lift the chip below it. It's just that they seemed locked together sideways. I think that high static friction is good for stacking, as it makes it less likely that a small bump to the table, for example, will distrupt the stack.
Dynamic or sliding friction is a measure of the force required to keep things sliding. Once the chips squeezed between your fingers are sliding sideways, keep sliding them around and see how they feel. Low sliding friction is "slippery". It helps to get a better feel for this if you apply less pressure on the chips than you would for the static friction test. Another way to get a feel for this is when you're squaring the stack up as you complete a chip shuffle. Or, you can put you hand around a stack of chips as though you were going to pick up the stack, then wiggle the stack from side-to-side and feel how the chips slide across each other. The most slippery chips I have are the superdiamonds. They glide across each other like a car on ice. The dice chips are not much better. Once they break loose, the RT Plastics slide fairly easily. They're significantly better than the dice chips, but I'd rate them just a notch below the modern clays or Matsui coin chips. The Paulsons and Chipcos seem to have the most sliding friction. Sliding friction, besides affecting the feel when you're shuffling, will determine how far the chips will slide once they're bumped. A stack of high-friction chips will be less like to be knocked over when jarred.
DO NOT OIL PLASTIC CHIPS! Ė A cautionary tale
When I started this evaluation, I was *very* unhappy with the stacking performance of my RT Plastics. They were extremely slippery. Their static and sliding friction was lower than the superdiamonds. They worked great for tall stacks, but were the worst for practical stacking at the table. Then I remembered that I had oiled these chips. Oiling brightens the colors but lubricates the chips, destroying their friction. Most of my chips have not seen much use since they were oiled. (They've felt neglected ever since the Egyptians invaded.) For this stacking evaluation, I used new (unoiled) RT Plastics chips. I've had a small stack of the oiled RT Plastics at hand for the past week -- wiping them down, shuffling them, and leaving them out on paper towels to dry out. They have gotten a bit better than their oiled partners, but are still nowhere as good as the unoiled chips. I may have to wash or clean them to remove the oil. So if you're planning to oil your chips, be sure to see how slippery they become before you oil the whole set!
These chips have a unique sound. If you absolutely hate the sound of dice chips, you may love the sound of these. The sound is the deepest, least resonant "thump" of any chip in my collection. If you were to compare a Paulson or other clay to a Chipco, for example, you'd hear a lower pitch and less ring. Apply that same difference again to the clays, and you'll be close to the sound of the RT Plastics. Looks
The look of these chips is a bit of a mixed bag. Personally, I love large colorful graphics on a chip, and these chips are about as good as it gets in that respect. The inlays tightly fill a large recess in the chip -- no off-center inlays here. The ones on my Dillinger's Gambling Hall models are large, saturated, generally sharp, and the Derringer is actually a metallic-looking silver. Noticeable on some of my chips, however, is that the black background on the graphics sometimes bleeds over the fine printing. Security/Originality
I also like the sharp edgespots that you get on an injection molded chip, as opposed to traditional clay edgespots which always look to me like a kindergartner painted them on. For these chips, unfortunately, there is only one edgespot design available. All the chips, no matter what their color, have the same color edgespots. The design of the spots is also rather busy.
Some of the red chips I got were comparatively pink. I oiled them as you would clays, and their color brightened right up (but destroyed the friction). Maybe I over-oiled them?
These chips are readily available online, so their security won't be anywhere near as good as custom chips. However, you don't see these very often on ebay. Also, since they are available in so many different designs and are overpriced to begin with, it is unlikely that your random poker player will have the same chips. Durability
I would rate these chips high on durability. The composite clay material is quite hard. When new, they have a broken-in shape. The edges are not sharp, and I don't expect to ever see wear on them. They don't pick up dirt. There is no rub-off of color from one chip onto others. While Paulsons make comparatively good crayons, these write worse than Chipcos. Reviewers Comments
The inlays are recessed from the face of the chip and seal tightly around their perimeter. The inlays (on some; see above) have that mylar-like cover. The inlays, however, appear to be stickers glued in place. In nearly 2000 of these chips that I've seen, two were missing the inlay on one side. That was apparently a manufacturing defect, and those were replaced. In normal use, I don't worry about the inlays wearing, becoming discolored, or coming off.
I bought these chips when I was in Las Vegas, and wanted to get some good poker chips. I shopped all the casino malls, then went to Gamblers General Store. These were the best chips they had. I didn't know any better at the time, so I bought them. I liked them, and later added to the set. Since then, I've learned that there are much better chips available, and for the price of these chips I could have purchased custom clays. The RT Plastics have great graphics (assuming that one of the many inlay designs appeals to your tastes). They have a very good feel and sound, and good stacking (if you don't oil them). Their edgespots are a weakness, and their price is high. In short, they have some nice features, but are overpriced. Chip Pictures
Some of tomb1's RTPlastics samples. Follow the retailers' links to see more flavors of these chips.
Stacks. Note that the edgespots are the same for all chips.
Here you can compare the older style inlay (on the left) with a newer chip that lacks the glossy finish and metalic-looking derringer, but has more texture.
An RTPlastics chip cut in half. No metal insert here!
A stack of 380 RT Plastics. You can sure stack 'em high.
A couple of other chip sculptures using these chips (click on thumbnails to view full-sized picture):
Last edited by X-Files; 01-25-2006 at 02:34 PM.