Introduction In tournament poker the blinds increase at certain intervals, this helps bring the tournament to a timely end. Otherwise, with low fixed blinds, players would simply wait for the best hands drastically extending the length of the game. With increasing blinds as the tournament progresses, low denomination chips become obsolete and they are not needed in play. For example, once the blinds become multiples of 100, the T25 chip is obsolete. Therefore, to eliminate this chip from play, the color up and race process occurs. Color Up The color up is straightforward, players trade in their low denomination chips for a higher denomination chips. For example, a stack of four T25 chips is traded for a single T100 chip. In tournaments with a dealer, they will often begin the color up process by exchanging low denomination chips in the pot as players decide their action. This simply quickens the color up process. Race The question remains, what to do if a player has an odd number of low denomination chips. One method is to simply round up. Most home games use this method as it is fast. For example, a player has five T25 chips, they receive two T100 chips, one for the stack of four T25s and one for rounding up the single T25 chip. A player with eight T25 chips would receive two T100 chips. The caveat with this method is there are now more chips in play than the value of the starting stacks. The casino tournament method of eliminating the odd chips is termed the race. It fairly eliminates the low denomination chips while keeping the same value or amount of chips in play. The mechanics are relatively simple. Once the even stacks of low denomination chips are colored up, the odd chips remain. Beginning with Seat 1, each player receives one card from a shuffled deck for each remaining chip. The cards are dealt sequentially, meaning a player receives all their cards before the next player receives their cards. The chips are then collected by the dealer, exchanged for the higher denomination chip and awarded to the players by card rank, Ace down to Deuce. The player with the highest rank card receives their chip first followed by the player with the second highest rank. Once a chip is awarded to a player the dealer normally collects their cards as well. Please note the following: A player can not be eliminated during the race, if their last chip or chips are involved in the race, they receive a larger denomination chip first. A player may not receive more than one higher denomination chip in the race. Ties are broken by suit rank; spades, hearts, diamonds, clubs (reverse alphabetical order). Confusion can arise in multi-table tournaments where there is an odd number of low denomination chips remaining. This can occur as players are moved around as players bust out and tables are consolidated. After the higher denomination chips are awarded in the normal race procedure, the player with the highest card remaining receives a new chip for the odd low denomination chip if they have half or more of the low denominational chips needed. Otherwise they receive nothing. This is perhaps best addressed with an example. Example: The color up and race is occurring for the T100 chip to replaced with T500 chips. The players have colored up their even stacks and the following 16 odd chips remain: Seat 1 – two T100 Seat 2 – zero Seat 3 – one T100 Seat 4 – one T100 Seat 5 – four T100 Seat 6 – zero Seat 7 – four T100 Seat 8 – three T100 Seat 9 – zero Seat 10 – one T100 Cards are dealt beginning with Seat 1 who receives two cards, followed by Seat 3 who receives one card, Seat 4 receives one card, Seat 5 receives four cards, continuing with Seats 7, 8 and 10, who receive four, three and one card respectively. Seat 1 – Qd 4d Seat 3 – As Seat 4 – 5c Seat 5 – Kc Js 6d 3s Seat 7 – 9c 9h 5h 4c Seat 8 – Td 8s 2h Seat 10 – Ts The sixteen T100 chips are collected and exchanged for three T500 chips, leaving one odd T100. Seat 3 receives the first T500 chip for the As. Seat 5 receives the second T500 chip for the Kc. Seat 1 receives the third T500 chip for the Qd. There is a single T100 chip left, that may be awarded as a T500 chip depending on the player with the next highest card. Seat 5 does have the Js, which is the next highest card, however, that seat already received a new chip and is not eligible to receive another. Looking at Seat 8 and Seat 10 they both have a Ten. Since the Ts outranks the Td, Seat 10 would receive the T500 chip, but since they have less than half of the new denomination, they actually do not receive a chip and the remaining T100 is simply removed. Conversely, had the suits of the tens been reversed Seat 8 wins the race and they would have received a T500 chip since they originally had three T100 chips, more than half of value of the higher denomination T500 chip. Conclusion The color up and race removes the low denomination chips from play as they become obsolete. Simple rounding up for odd chips is acceptable, but to get that true casino tournament feel, try the race component at your next home game.