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"The Egyptians" Chipco Poker Chips Review

Discussion in 'Poker Chip Reviews' started by tomb1, Jul 14, 2005.

  1. tomb1

    tomb1 Well-Known Member

    Mar 21, 2005
    Likes Received:
    Atlanta again

    Manufacturer: Chipco custom design - http://www.chipco.com/
    Retailer: holdempokerchips.com
    Average Price: About $1.05 per chip.
    Material: Ceramic composite

    Member Review by: Tomb1

    Special Note About This Review
    This is a review of a custom Chipco set -- the Egyptians. This is NOT a review of Chipco chip features: there's already a fine review located at http://www.chiptalk.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=821 for your information, which includes the usual categories of Feel, Sound, Looks and Durability.

    The pros and cons of Chipco chips are all present in this set, and I won't discuss them here. If you like Chipcos, I think you'll like this set. If you hate Chipcos, then this set is probably not for you, except maybe for some samples as a novelty.

    What I want to review is the overall design, theme, and special features of this set -- looking at this set as a whole, independent of their construction. As always, these are my opinions based on what I value in a chip -- your mileage may vary!​
    Overall Design
    This is a beautiful set designed to fit together, and it does. When playing with these chips, they all go together. When stacked, they look very professional. As you explore the detail on each chip, there is an artistic consistency that you'll appreciate but the individual design of each chip is what makes this an outstanding set. This set uses subtle and detailed backgrounds with a stone motif consistently across all chips. The major item featured on each chip (see the descriptions below) is drawn in very fine detail.

    Chipcos are known for their ability to show fine graphics, and this set is the best ad I've seen for the potential quality of Chipcos. These look like museum pieces. Chipco should have paid Greg to produce these chips, though I doubt this happened!

    Like all Chipcos, each of these chips has a small white ring around the top edge, and the outside ring is slightly elevated above the printed surface (to prevent wear). The design of all chips includes a classy gold band around the edge, inside the white ring. These look like a riveted gold or shiny brass frame around the artwork. (The face is designed so there is no mis-alignment with the edge spots, a common problem in many other Chipcos.)

    I could go on and describe the art on each chip, but just look for yourself. I like all of them, although the white $1 chip is my favorite.​
    Chip Set Images
    OK, let's go to the pictures. All these were scanned at the same size for comparison (except front-reverse view of the plaque):

    39mm chips - main denominations

    Octagon chip - $1,000

    Large plaque - $5,000

    Front and reverse of plaque (smaller scan of 2 chips set in the right direction)

    Other Features
    These chips have denominations. I much prefer denominated chips, so that's another thing I like about this set. The denominations are noted in an appropriate hieroglyphic-type font, but are very readable. They are done in brilliant gold with shiny highlights like real metal.

    This set offers a complete range of denominations -- from 25¢ to $5,000. You could create a set for small-stakes cash games, medium stakes, or tournaments. The variety of chips is more than I would purchase (I prefer only 3-4 denoms), but you could create your ideal set(s) from the different chips offered.

    There is no fantasy casino or city named on these chips. I usually like a casino name, but after seeing these chips I wouldn't change them to add a casino name even if I could. The chips have a small "CI" mint mark on them signifying they were made by Chipco International.

    One design note -- all the chips have the same design on front and reverse, except for one. The plaque has a beautiful picture of King Tut's famous funerary mask on the front, and an incredible back view of the mask on the reverse of the chip. (Some of the plaques have the reverse image upside down from the front side, which could be an irritation.) Regardless, they're still a danger to my betting -- I get distracted because I can't stop turning them over and looking at both sides!​
    Unique Chip Sizes
    Most of these chips are the standard U.S. size (39mm in diameter), but there are two chips that are almost never seen in sets -- a 44mm (1¾") eight-sided "octagon" chip, and a gigantic rectangular "plaque" (3½" x 2"). Plaques are often used in high-end casinos outside the U.S., and are usually reserved for high values so they are a very prestigious part of a set.

    We've now heard from Chipco that octagons and plaques will no longer be available for sets sold to consumers, only available to casinos. So the Egyptians could be your last opportunity to get these unique chip sizes.

    The downside to the larger chips is that they may present storage problems for some people, depending on the type of case and/or racks you use. Most commercial chip cases have a space for deck(s) of cards, which makes a perfect place for plaques. Octagons will generally fit somewhere in most cases. I can always find a place for them.

    Playing with 39mm chips, octagons, and plaques is fun to me. Some people want chips of all the same size, but I don't mind this set. Since the larger chip/plaque are the higher denominations, we make a big deal out of using them. Usually there is a big hand going on when we bring out the heavy artillery -- these larger chips. The plaque doesn't really seem like a poker chip, it's almost a different way of betting.​
    Color Scheme
    Each chip features one major color. I particularly like that this set uses the most recognizable standard colors. Although there are some variations in what people consider "standard" colors -- like blue vs. white for $1 -- these are chips that can be used with little confusion by people who play at most casinos (except for those crazy California card rooms).

    These chips are more than just a nice color scheme. They use the basic color for each denomination in a very artistic background rendering, so that each chip is rich and elegant. No solid colors here.​
    All the 39mm chips have the standard Chipco satin texture. I love this silky smooth feel. It has a very fine textured surface that shows off the artwork while still allowing the chips to stick & stack together.

    When you look at the close-ups below of various chips, you'll see that the texture of the larger chips is quite different from the standard chips. The octagon has a very different surface. It is much more textured, with a noticeable cross-hatching, almost like a Nevada Jacks ceramic chip. It still creates a good printing surface for the fine graphics, but is much "rougher" (not in a bad sense).

    Finally, the plaque is a completely different feel from the other chips, or from any Chipco chip I have felt. It has a very smooth surface, without any texture that I can feel. It feels more like a hard plastic chip than a hard ceramic chip (although "ceramic" chips aren't really made from ceramic like tile or pottery). This smooth surfaces makes for extremely good printing, though. It really shows the King Tut in great detail. Some people think the plaque's surface feels cheaper than the other chips. I can understand this, though the unique size and graphics make up for the feel in my opinion.


    Descriptions of the Chip Designs
    Each chip within this set features a specific Epytian symbol. The higher denominations contain more famous or sacred symbols, so this progression does a good job of representing increasing amounts of value.

    25¢ blue chip - Ankh. This is an ancient Egyptian symbol meaning "life," symbolized by the sunrise.

    $1 white chip - Cartouche. This was the insignia of a pharaoh. This $1 chip contains the words "Poker Oasis" in hieroglyphics.

    $5 red chip - Atum. This word means both "All" and "Nothing" and represents the totality of the Universe.

    $25 green chip - Udjat. This is the All-Seeing Eye of Horus, the divine healing power of the gods or the gift of life.

    $100 black chip - Khepera. This is a scarab-beetle form of the sun-god Re. The Egyptians worshiped the Sun over all earthly things.

    $500 yellow chip - Nefertiti. The most famous queen of Egypt.

    $1,000 orange octagon chip - Anubis. This is the original Lord of the Dead, represented by a jackal.

    $5,000 purple plaque - Tutankhamen. In 1922, the tomb of the pharaoh Tutankhamen was discovered, making "King Tut" the most recognizable of Egypt's ancient rulers. Tut died when he was about 18 after ruling for nine years, so he is often called the Boy King.​
    Edge Spots
    In my opinion, edge spots should also progress along with the denomination -- simpler (or no) edge spots for lower value chips, and more/fancier edge spots for the higher value chips. For the round chips, this set meets my expectations on edge spots. However, the octagons and plaques have very plain edge markings, so some people may be a little disappointed in them. See the picture below.

    Close-up of 39mm chip edge spots

    All chips stacked, including plaques and octagons (picture courtesy CaptLego)

    The regular 39mm chips stack like all other Chipcos -- you can create good-sized stacks on any stable playing surface. The octagons seem to stack even better, they are very stable and if I had a few hundred of them I expect I could stack them all up. I only have a few plaques, but I've heard that they are a little wobbly when a lot of them are stacked. I should be so lucky to have $100,000+ in plaques in a game! It's fun and easy to shuffle octagons and plaques.​
    These are custom chips so they are original, and they should be reasonably secure in most circumstances. This is a very exclusive chip, but they are available for purchase online so they are not 100% secure.​
    Most chips are $1.05 each (about a buck apiece in sets). Octagon chips are $2.19 each, and plaques are $6.29 each.​
    Credits for These Chips
    This set was conceived and designed by Greg Cagle of Plano, Texas. Known as TenPercenter (Debaser555 on Stars). Greg is the proprietor of Chiptalk.net, the world's premier poker chip discussion site, and has also tirelessly promoted fine chips and group buys of custom high-end chips. Fortunately for us, Greg's first set of custom chips -- these Egyptians -- is still available in limited supply.

    Greg's creation was produced by Chipco, the premier manufacturer of injection-molded, full-graphic "ceramic" chips. These chips are distributed by Holdempokerchips.com (mspatton on Chiptalk.net).​
    Reviewer's Comments
    I own a small set of these chips, though they're more for collecting and showing off. I don't usually use these chips in regular games. In general, I normally prefer clay chips over ceramic chips. I never owned any ceramic sets (just individual Chipcos collected from casinos), but the overall design of The Egyptians was so compelling I had to buy them.

    On a personal note: I have a short list of people I call the "Chip Gods" -- those who are at the pinnacle of the chip-world hierarchy and give the rest of us good information without regard for their time and expense. I place Greg in this category, though he may be too modest to agree.

    And as some final Eye Candy, here is a neat picture of a large set of Egyptians -- CaptLego's collection:

    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 25, 2006
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