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BuyPokerChips' Modern Clay Review

Discussion in 'Poker Chip Reviews' started by pager23, Jun 15, 2005.

  1. pager23

    pager23 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2005
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    Location:
    Calgary, Canada
    Manufacturer: Blue Chip Company
    Retailer(s): BuyPokerChips.com (BPC)
    Average Price: $2.50 - $1.04 depending on quantity
    Material: Compression Molded Clay
    Member Review by: pager23
    The Modern Clay poker chip is definitely a quality chip when compared to everything else that's available on the market, but it rarely receives notice on poker chip forums or from chip collectors due to it's somewhat mundane appearance and very high price.​
    Price
    A sample set of 2 chips retails for $5 ($2.50/chip) whereas a set of 1000 sells for $1045 ($1.045/chip). No further bulk discounts are mentioned on BPC's website. This is quite expensive when you consider all other alternatives for authentic clay chips that are available.​
    Feel
    While a little on the light side at about 9g, these chips are very nice to handle. They start out having somewhat sharp edges, but after a couple hours of shuffling/handling much of that sharpness disappears. The inlays are applied with a fine linen finish and the mold itself has a fine cross-hatching texture applied to it. The fine texture of both inlay and mold contribute to make the chip feel a little more worn in than it actually is. In a rather limited comparison of other clay chips, I would say that the Modern Clay is slightly harder and dryer than most other clay chips.​
    Stacking
    The retailer, BPC, contends that the Modern Clay was designed with a "suction-inducing inlay cavity" which improves stacking performance. While this technology may exist in other chips on the market, I would balk at the suggestion that the Modern Clay be added to this group. From my experience with these chips, they start off with a decent amount of texture which induces friction between chips, but that soon wears away. In fact, the Modern Clay becomes somewhat slippery after a few weeks of handling/shuffling - making chip stacks of 20 or 30 precariously unstable from a glancing blow (i.e. your sleeve, other chips, craps dice, etc.).​
    Sound
    As mentioned before, the Modern Clay is a little on the light side. This description would also apply when talking about the sound of the chip. The Modern Clay makes a noticably light sound when you hear it splashing a pot. Now, it's not a horrible sound like a cheap plastic Bicycle chip would make - after all, it's still a quality chip that makes a quality clay chip sound. My only point is that it's got a bit of a higher pitch to it than most (heavier) clay chips. Even while shuffling, there is a noticably higher tone from these chips as they slap together. This may be due in part to a slightly different clay composition, but I wouldn't know. In my opinion the Modern Clay sounds light because it is light.​
    Looks
    When it came to designing the looks of the Modern Clay, I have to think that BPC was looking for something that was understated and colorful without being too loud. If that is truly what they were striving for, than I would have to say that they achieved their goals. The inlay, a laurel wreath with dice and denomination, is simple and effective. Colors and edge spots are somewhat subdued, but give the chips a bit of a broken-in feeling. Where BPC failed with respect to creating the Modern Clay may actually have been in having Blue Chip manufacture it. That's not meant to be a slam against Blue Chip, but both problems I've found with the chip are related to it's construction. First off, there appears to be a problem getting the inlay applied to the mold. On almost every chip I've seen, the inlay has been applied off-center with some of the white color of the inlay appearing outside the limits of the inset area. This leads to every chip looking kind of cheap, as if they've had paper labels applied after-the-fact in a hap-hazard manner. Also a negative is the dryness of the chip. I've never thought it necessary to oil my Modern Clays, but on some of them I actually see some marbling appearing on the clay surface. In my opinion, neither of these problems should be appearing on a chip that costs $1.04+ per unit.​
    Security/Originality
    Given the steep price tag I don't think that someone is going to purchase a few just to cheat at your home poker game, but at the same time, it's not like these chips are difficult to obtain.
    The question of originality is a tough one to answer, however. On one hand, the inlay is not truly unique (there's a similar, though more cluttered example of the laurel wreath on the 2005 Paulson James Bonds), and the chip colors used on the Modern Clay are pretty much standard fare. On the other hand, BPC has exclusive use of the Blue Chip Company's "Courts & Numerals" mold, which tastefully represents the card rankings 2 through A on the rim of the Modern Clay. It's also a refreshing change from the standard dice or suits we see on many chips these days. Dual color edge spots also help this chip stand out from a crowd.​
    Durability
    Due to their hardness, these chips seem to be able to take a lot of abuse. Dropping them on the floor, throwing them together in a pot, seems to have no effect on them. Even doing more deliberate damage with a knife causes scratches that really just rub out with your finger. Closer examination reveals that the scratches are still there, but they truly are not very noticable. Transfer of colors between denominations is almost non-existent even after extensive shuffling.​
    Reviewers Comments
    If I had to guess, I would say that the potential buyer for these chips is someone who has a lot of money, is looking for a conservative, real clay poker chip to use at their home game, and they don't want to spend a lot of time looking around. The Modern Clay mold is very unique and I commend BPC for its design. The chip's understated looks and clay feel make it a good choice for those who don't mind buying off-the-shelf. That said, there is a great selection of more interesting chips available from other vendors. Also, the more creative buyer can get custom clays made elsewhere for a similar (if not cheaper) price. Bottom line: The Modern Clay just isn't much of a bargain to those who have obtained a moderate amount of knowledge and appreciation of poker chips.​
    Chip Pictures

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    Images below are from the retailer's site:

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    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 25, 2006

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