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Matsui Injection Molded Poker Chips Review

Discussion in 'Poker Chip Reviews' started by tripod22, Mar 6, 2007.

  1. tripod22

    tripod22 Well-Known Member

    Jul 19, 2005
    Likes Received:
    Bethlehem, PA
    <center>[SIZE=+1]Matsui Injection Molded Poker Chips Review[/SIZE]
    by Devilboy </center>
    Manufacturer: Matsui Gaming (matsui.co.jp)
    Retailer(s): Group buys or order from Matsui directly.
    Average Price: $1.10 - Range is about $0.90 - $1.60 depending on order size and chip type.
    Material: High quality molded plastic with printed inlay.
    Matsui chips are my favorite chips ever. Unless you really have your heart set on clay chips, have a look at Matsui Decals. You will not be disappointed!​
    • Looks fantastic
    • Quality is unbeatable - every single chip is perfect.
    • Feels and handles great - super-easy to shuffle unlike Bud Jones
    • Bright colors with a decent sized pallet to pick from
    • Extremely durable - comparable to Bud Jones
    • Wide selection of edgespot configurations (molds)
    • 40mm and 43mm options
    • Fancy stackable chip racks / cases
    • Inlay print quality is top-notch and inlays are aligned with edgespots (a la ASM)
    • Probably the only casino-quality plastic chip sold to the general public
    • Good customer service from their friendly Vegas office
    • Will not pick up a lot of dirt and is easy to clean
    • Minimum order of 10,000 - currently only available through group buys unless you have deep pockets
    • Compared to clay or Bud Jones the chips are more slippery.
    • Fairly expensive per chip - expect to pay $600 for a set of 500 chips
    • Metal slug contains iron and thus is affected by magnets, unlike Bud Jones which uses a non-magnetic brass slug
    The price of these chips depends on the chip size, number of colors used in the mold (2 or 3) and the quantity ordered. When ordering directly from Matsui you'll have 3 types of charges: A manufacturing charge per chip, an artwork and setup fee per denomination, and shipping costs.

    Chip fees:
    - 2 color 40mm: $0.90
    - 3 color 40mm: $0.95
    - 2 color 43mm: $1.10
    - 2 color 43mm: $1.20
    - Gold chips: About $3.50

    This is charged for every chip manufactured. No extra chips will be shipped to you but since the defect rate is extremely low you won't need extras. The minimum total order is 10,000 chips, which pretty much means only Noelsarch and group-buys will be able to work with Matsui.

    Setup fees: (one per denomination - even if you use the same artwork)
    - $250

    The artwork and setup fee is to cover the work involved in selecting a new mold, getting the right colored plastic lined up and getting your artwork changed for each type of chip ordered. Normally Matsui requires at least 1000 chips ordered for each denom, but they are flexible regarding this if your total order is big enough.

    Remember the setup fee is fixed regardless of your order size which means the more chips you order the cheaper they become. As an example: 1000 red chips (assuming 40mm 2 color) will cost 1000 x $0.90 + $250 which is $1.15 per chip, while 5000 chips will cost only $0.95 per chip. And of course if you only order 1 chip of a particular denom you'll pay $251 for it!

    The Zen group buy was for 7 denoms with about 17,000 chips and averaged $1.12 each.

    One of the best features of the Matsui Decal is it's feel. Thanks to a modern production process these chips do not require factory milling to create a perfectly flat surface. The upshot of this is of course a better price (Bud Jones is quite a bit more expensive) and very nice surface.

    Decals have a soft, warm, almost silky feel to them, without feeling cheap or plasticky. The inlay is very slightly recessed but otherwise shares the texture of the rest of the chip. Edges are finely beveled, perhaps 1/4 mm, making them sharper than Bud Jones or ceramics but much easier on the fingertips than brand new clay chips.

    With heavy use I suspect the faces will become smoother which may change the feel of the chip a little but there's no way they will ever become the cold, hard chip that is Bud Jones.

    These chips are great to shuffle - personally I find that no other chip out there is as easy to shuffle as these babies. I'm not big on chip tricks but my brother (who recently mastered the very difficult Esfandiari Anti-Gravity) prefers Matsuis for practicing and performing.

    Several members of ChipTalk have expressed their concern about the stackability of these chips after obtaining a couple of samples. Certainly if you're familiar with ASM clays or casino BJs, these chips will feel like they'd be quite slippery. New clay chips from ASM or Paulson or Blue Chip are exceptionally solid in a stack due to the material and face texture, and Bud Jones chips are so finely milled that most casino chips will stick together in clumps with the help of a little table dirt or finger oil.

    While Matsui Decals are not in that class, they do stack VERY well and is much sturdier than any ceramic chip you'd find in casinos. I'd even go as far as to say they stack better than Blue Chips manufactured using the 'faux used' cigar and snifter mold (e.g. the In Plays or the Protoges).

    Decals will easily stack as high as you need to on your table. As a test, I stacked 200 of them (40mm) on my table. The top of the stack was almost perfectly level. Probing the top of the stack made it sway about 1cm side-to-side after which it returned to it's starting position. I was even able to push the entire tower around on my desk by the base quite easily without fear of tumbling down on my Mr Kitty snoozing on my laptop keyboard nearby.

    On the table stacked in 20 or 40 these chips are very satisfying to handle. They are easy to pick up and pop in a rack without slipping. The stacks will stay stacked when you want them to, and cascade beautifully into the pot when you topple them.

    The bottom line for me here is that there will always be people that claim that these chips are too slippery, but for me a chip surface is more than just 'how solid is my stack'. It's a trade-off between feel, handling (e.g. shuffling), and stackability, and I feel that Matsui Decals come very close to the sweet-spot.

    Since the manufacturing process is very similar, these chips sounds almost exactly like Bud Jones. They have a nice, solid 'clink' when splashed into the pot and they have a nice musical ring when dropped on a solid surface such as a table or tile floor. Being mainly plastic the sound is much lower than that of a ceramic or clay chip, but I couldn't really tell you which I prefer on the table.​
    Matsui has 42 colors to choose from (available on their website) which can be used for either the main body or edgespots. Since it's all just molded plastic any color can go anywhere. The palette is very bright with lots of primary's and pastels. Placed next to my ASMs they are positively glowing.

    The mold pattens available for selection is pretty good. Looking at their chart they list 13 molds for 40mm chips and 3 for the 43mms, but if you want to mix and match for different denominations, you'll notice that one of the molds uses a larger sized inlay, and that the 3 color molds are also in the 2 color list simply with one color taken out. Also some of them features the Matsui crown motif which usually won't work with whatever design you have planned for the decal. Taking all of this into consideration, your selection looks like this:

    - 40mm 2 color only: 5 molds
    - 40mm 2 or 3 color: 2 molds
    - 43mm 2 color only: 1 mold
    - 43mm 2 or 3 color: 1 mold

    The molding on the chips are quite intricate including fancy horizontal lines on the rolling edges. The lines are extremely well defined and never bleeds over each other. If you look closely at the edgespots you'll notice that they're slightly thicker in the middle, almost a diamond shape, which I suspect has to do with the manufacturing process (e.g. getting the chips to pop out of the molding equipment) This is also visible on a Bud Jones chip.

    The actual label ('decal' in Matsui-land) is quite big and very pretty. With a bit of effort and a competent designer it can be color-matched very well with the chip colors. The print quality on these inlays are outstanding - some of the best in the business. Lines are sharp and well-defined and colors are bright and consistent. Matsui is happy to print full-bleed artwork for you and every inlay is aligned in the exact same way - on both sides of the chip. The alignment is so consistent that you could probably have your design take the edgespots into account - extending them or contrasting them - without worry that some chips will end up looking weird because of misalignment. The inlay on the 43mm chips are the same size as the 40mm chips, making the edge bigger and making the difference in size more striking.

    On most molds the edgespots will take up quite a large percentage of the rolling edge surface area, so take this into consideration when selecting molds and colors.

    As a package, the whole decal chips just screams quality. The bright colors makes them look really 'new', like a shiny red Ferrari right off the assembly line. If there's one thing your poker buddies will comment on, then this is it. These chips will take center stage in any poker room.

    If you're Teddy KGB or you're opening a small casino, Matsui has several security measures available including UV printing and chip validation gadgets, but for the rest of us security is simply a function of circulation. The more chips matching yours are out there in the wild, the lower your security.

    For those of us lucky enough to be in the first 2 group buys, security will be reasonably high. Only about 25,000 Zens were made and only 8,000 or so WSOP replicas. Eventually these chips are going to end up on eBay and there are a few samples out there, but these are much better for security than, say, any Blue Chip or Paulson home set out there. Again, the rule is: If you need REAL security, get your own chips made. If you're happy getting 10,000 you can even get them from Matsui.

    Being made from hard plastic, these chips will last forever. In a heavy-use casino environment, they'll probably last 5-7 years. They're not affected by heat (I left a couple in my car on a hot day as a test) and they're perfectly happy with water. If you need to clean them, you can just clean them with soap and water. Hell if you're adventurous you could probably throw them in the washing machine!

    To test the construction quality, I took a big chef's knife to one of my extra chips. Chopping a chunk out of the edge took about 10 minutes - shaving off about 1/4mm at a time. These chips are hard! Eventually I reached the inner core, made from stainless steel. The core has a gear-shape, which makes for a really strong bond to the rest of the chip. The label is stuck to the steel core with lots of glue, and I had to use the knife to peel it off. The label itself is thick and pretty ridgid.

    Not much else you can say about these - obviously these chips will outlast you even in the most crazy games. You don't need to worry about dropping these on a hard floor or getting sticky alcohol or soft-drink spilled on them.

    Reviewers Comments
    As you can probably tell, I think these chips are simply amazing. Do yourself a favour and pick up some samples, or grab on to a group-buy if you get the opportunity.​
    Here's some Matsui Decals in their natural habitat (Thanks to Joshua for the pics)​













  2. Devilboy

    Devilboy Well-Known Member

    Nov 27, 2005
    Likes Received:
    Please note that the prices have increased recently (about 20% iirc)

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