<center>Le Paulson Noir Review by ASAM2006</center> Manufacturer: GPI (Gaming Partners International) Retailer(s): BuyPokerChips.com/ Sidepot Gaming Company Average Price: $1.25 - $1.32/ chip Material: Compression-molded clay This is the latest Paulson offering to the home gaming market distributed exclusively by the Sidepot Gaming company on their "Paradise mold" designed by Kevin Finnegan aka "Fins" on Chiptalk. Sidepot calls this mold a "Boutique Paulson Mold" and controls the production and distribution. Le Paulson Noir is the maiden line on their Paradise mold so apparently there are plans to produce other chip lines later using this mold. I PM'd Stephan, a member of the CT community and CEO of Sidepot Gaming and asked him directly if it was true that Sidepot had exclusive rights to the distribution and sales of these new Paulsons and his reply was "That's correct. These are made for us exclusively by Paulson. The mold is ours. -Stephan " The new "Noir" inlay was designed by John Faulhaber aka "Johnny5" on Chiptalk and features color matched design elements with a smooth non textured plastic cover. The inlay was designed as an extension of the Paradise mold to match perfectly together; and they do. These are very classy looking chips. You will recognize the edge spot patterns on chips $25 through $5000 as being borrowed from the existing Paulson National Poker Series (review)chips. The $1 and $10 chips have been borrowed from the Pharaoh's Club line (review) and the $5 from the World Top Hat and Cane (review) line. The Noir $10 chips was based on the Pharaoh's Club 25c chip. The edge spots work well together in both the tournament chips and cash game chips and follow a casino like progression. Despite worries about production quality it was promised that this new Paradise mold would not have the same warping problems that plagued the World Top Hat and Cane Suited mold chips that came out in 2006. That ,for the most part, is true. The red $5 chips still have some stack instability problems but the other denominations stack like champs. Sidepot has promised an easy return or replacement policy for any warped chips. These are all 39mm chips with a hefty average weight of 10 grams. Pros * great original mold and inlay design * an elegant and classy continental look * large numbers and super small $ signs * greater international appeal and versatility * chips handle, stack and sound great * outstanding edge spot especially on the $25, $100 and $500 chips * overall extremely high quality manufacturing * great hefty 10 gram weight Cons * very expensive chips for the home market * no 25 cent chips for cash games * a $10 blue chip with real color transfer problems * stacking instability with the $5 chips * lack of any shaped or texture inlays * a lack luster $5000 chip PriceSidepot offers sliding scale pricing ranging from $1.39/ chip for less than 300 chips to $1.32/ chip for 300-500 chips, $1.25/ chip for 500-1000 chips and $1.18/ chip for orders of 1000 or more. Sidepot also throws in $20 off sets of 300 or more for return customers.FeelThese chips feel smooth, soft and cool to the touch. Chips stacks feel like one unit. The 10 gram weight is ideal and every bit as good as any Casino clays . The great texture surface around the mold insures these chips do not slip or slide. The addition of a concentric circle on the outside of the mold adds to the appearance and feel of these chips. I just wish the inlays were shaped and textured. These chips shuffle well out of the box and get better the more you handle them. Since I had the National Poker Series chips I can tell you that over time these become buttery soft and jump into a stack when shuffled; great for chip tricks.Stacking These chips all form smooth uniform stacks with perfectly matched diameters and thickness within and between denominations for easy counting. There are no spinners. As mentioned $5 chips have stacking issues but even they will stack 100 high and do not spin. The other denominations stack like bricks no problems at 100-200 chips. All chip stacks, even the red $5 chips, stack to the exact same height at 100 chips. They are very uniform in thickness and diameter.SoundThese sound the closest to Casino Paulsons I've found on the home market. The clay is supposed to be identical to casino clay but my belief is that home Paulsons are softer than those made for casinos. They have the identical "clacking" sound of my Ambassador Paulsons. No "clinks" and no "clunks". The sound is slightly higher pitched than the metal flecked PNY Paulsons which I believe are the best sounding chips bar none. Overall, I give them a 9.75/10 in the sound department.Looks The chips themselves are nothing new. Most are the identical spot pattern and clay of the highly under-rated Paulson National Poker Series. NPS chips were great chips but the inlay and mold left much to be desired. Paulson Noirs look classy and elegant. The Paradise mold and black inlay match perfectly and really add a richness to all the chips. The spot progression is a little off but if you consider the cash chips $1, $5, & $10 they fit. The tournament set $25, $100, $500, $1000 fit together but the $5000, my least favorite, seems out of place. The cash set and tournament set don't seem to flow seamlessly into each other but both are still really great looking chips sets and over all the entire set looks terrific. The inlay labels are properly centered without distortions or frayed edges and cannot be removed even with a sharp knife. Security/Originality These are "boutique" chips with an original mold and inlay distributed only by Sidepot. GPI requires minimum orders of 100,000 chips so these could never be as secure as custom made chips or those from a small group buy. Today, they are brand new to the market so a lot of people won't have them yet. Also, a lot of people won't buy them because they're over priced between $1.25 and $1.39 per chip and you can easily get casino chips on eBay or through Chiptalk ,for that matter, for less. Ordering through Sidepot does offer the advantage of getting the set and distribution of chips that you want and the ability to add on later if you desire. Still, even slightly over priced, I had to have them because of their looks and high quality.DurabilityThese are as durable as any home Paulson chips. The softness of the clay means they're easily broken in and will have color transfer problems. With normal home use they will remain new looking for years; maybe a lifetime. These chips clean up like champs with a 6 hour soak in Pipeshield, cloth wiping and poof they look new again.Reviewers CommentsLe Paulson Noir is a big improvement over the NPS Paulsons. The Paradise mold,the concentric outer ring and color matched black inlays are great additions to an already fantastic chip line. If I could have my way I want a 25 cent chip for cash games, a new and improved $5000 chip, a $5 chips without stacking issues, a $10 blue chip that didn't bleed and shaped and textured inlays. Still, all and all, I really like these chips and I'm glad I bought them.Additional Pictures<hr> Earn yourself 25 ChipTalk.net Store Chips! Have you used this product? Do you want to submit a Mini Review? Earn yourself 25 ChipTalk.net Store Chips! Click here for details and the template, then just click the "Add Mini Review" button on this page to submit yours!