The Five Stages of Chip Ownership So as your love of Poker has grown, it has become a goal of yours to have a home game. Naturally, you'll need chips. So you head down to the local Wal-Mart and examine the offerings. Nothing but plastic as far as the eye can see - and cheap plastic, too. You've seen a few chips before, and these are utter crap. So it's off to Costco, or (more likely) to eBay, And suddenly the choices are endless. Chips with sports team logos! Commemorative chips! 12.5 gram chips that are "Real Casino Quality"! Your home game will be sure to be envied when you unveil these babies. Look - clay composite, just like the casinos use! And in the end, you order yourself a themed variation of what are commonly called "Dice" chips. For a time, you are happy. When you pull out your snazzy new chips at the game, everybody comments on how nice they stack. At the same time, they're playing anything bigger than 7/2 off suit (and sometimes that), slow playing aces, and raising 40x the big blind, but they sure do like these new composite clays! Then you begin to try to learn some poker chip tricks. After all, chip flourishes are a part of the game. So naturally you turn to the internet for some advice on how to do shuffles, flips and butterflies. And in three or four clicks, your perception of chips and what constitutes "quality" is forever altered. Innocence lost. Thus, you begin your trip through the five stages of chip ownership. Denial Your chips are fine. Those chips online that everybody seems to be using are overpriced and unnecessary. After all, they only have one job - to represent a value in the game. Any chip can do that. Hell, you could have just used the Walmart ones, for all that it matters. At the same time, you find yourself surfing chip discussion sites, manufacturers sites, and reviews, all the while saying to yourself, "There's no harm in education. I'd never spend so much money on chips." And as you surf, you practice your chip tricks. Of course it's starting to become clear that there is something off about them. Anger Realization dawns. Nobody likes to be played for a sucker. That guy on eBay charged you far too much for the chips you got. He represented these as quality casino chips, when in fact they are near the very bottom of a very deep barrel. In retrospect, the shipping charges were outrageous. You've finally educated yourself right out of complacency, and you damn well know you won't be satisfied to keep playing with these plastic - yes, I said PLASTIC - pieces of crap. So you find out that many chip sales companies will send you sample kits containing one chip from up to 20 different lines and manufacturers. You order one, and when it comes you are immediately struck by how much better a Paulson home chip is. You look up the price... and anger is again the order of the day. "How the hell can they justify that? That's INSANE!" Bargaining Then it begins. You learn about Nexgen chips, and Faux Clays, and you console yourself with the idea that you can be happy with a lower end chip. After all, they are far better than your current chips. Those drunken fishermen at your home game wouldn't know the difference anyway! In the end you order yourself some lower middle class chips, making an agreement with yourself: "This much will be spent, and then by heavens you will be happy! No more!" This stage may be represented by bargaining with a spouse. "I promise honey... this is it. Look - I could spend way more than this, but I'm trying to be responsible! These will do fine." Depression And so you continue for a while, but you occasionally go back to your sample set, flipping your ceramics and real clay chips, intimately familiarizing yourself with the subtleties of chip design and the hallmarks of quality. And every time you look at the stacks of marginal chips you have a sinking feeling inside. Every time you have your home game you wonder if your friends, who are finally showing some poker skills, are aware of what great chips can be had. You no longer enjoy them. Acceptance "You know, a dollar a chip for a really quality product isn't bad at all. And you know what would be really nice? Custom chips tailored exactly to my specification. In fact, even though they might be nearly $1.25 apiece with shipping and artwork fees, I think it'd be totally worth it. A thousand is fine for the home set. Of course I'll only use them once in a while - don't want them getting all damaged. Naturally I'll have to get a good set of Nevada Jacks or some of those terrific Egyptians as my regular workhorses. Hey... nice table these guys are selling. and only $1000! It doubles as a regular table? Well how can I say no? Honey... why are your bags packed?"