Compression Molded ('Real Clay')
Some thoughts on 'Clay'
Let me hear them.
The latest consumer chip from Paulson
continues to maintain the great chips we expect to see from them.
These are hot-stamped in gold, offering both denominational and
non-denominational chips for your selection. Lack of currency is
always a plus. As a whole, there are no surprises here. You're
getting a tried and true casino grade chip with, in general, great color
combos along with a great soft feeling chip. The soft feel comes with
the minor issue of the darker chips can 'mark' the lighter chips if shuffled
together. An FYI for those who may see some marks in the photos.
Sound is fantastic...very muted. Quality is good on chips I received,
with no off-center stamps. The edge spots are really great....with a
nice variety of styles between each chip denom. The spots are possibly the
single best thing about these chips to be honest. Just a very good chip all
around...so make sure you order a sample if you're chip hunting these days!
WEIGHT: 10.1-10.3 grams
Capone's Clay Chip: Stock Blue
Chip Co mold. On these chips, there is only the gold foil print on
the front and they have no edge spots. Good quality chip, just not that
exciting to look at.
Clay Chips: Pokerchips.com made the chips for the movie Rounders. That alone is wicked cool. My sample from them included a few chips each from their top of the line, down to their uber-cheap I-bought-these-at-K-Mart chip. Unfortunately, I wish they had included more of the nicer chips in the sampler. Anyway, Pokerchips.com is on the map for their real clay chips, which I got 3 to play with. The clay chips are very dense with a much slicker surface than BuyPokerChips.com Modern Clay. More along the lines of a Paulson chip. Not saying one is better than the other...just different. Quality appears very good. Pokerchips.com is really about custom poker chips. I don't know of any other Clay chip manufacturer that allows so many choices when designing your own chip. One thing that is strange with my sample was that the edges of all 3 clay chips had gold 'glitter' and a very 'dull' finish to them. I personally found effect to really take away from the edge spots on the chip and didn't like it at all. However, when I contacted Pokerchips.com to ask if all their clay chips had this effect on them, they had no idea what I was talking about. I had several conversations via email and phone, and I still think they believe I'm insane. Insane or not, the pictures are attached. You can decide for yourself.
(9/28/04): I've received a ton of emails on
these explaining to me that the 'gold glitter' are metal shavings put in the
chip to help weigh them down. Also, I need to clarify my statement above
that it was more the 'dull' edge finish and not the 'glitter' that I felt
took away from the chip's overall appearance.
Desparado: The Club Desparado chips hit you with a wide variety
of eye catching colors and and equal variety of edge spot designs.
From a design perspective, these are great chips. Well laid out and
and just good looking in general. You can *almost* use these chips as
non-denominational because the denom values on them are so tiny you almost
miss them. Unfortunately, you do end up with the standard Blue Chip oddities
that plague so many of the manufacturer's for-the-consumer chips. The
center logo is more often than not mis-shaped and off-center. The mold
design is pretty boring and, of course, they are not casino weight.
That said, I would highly recommend you buy yourself a sample of these chips
if you're shopping around. Their great design alone deserves some
Commission: Some new chips
arrived at the office and there is a mix of good and bad news for them.
Let's look at the not-so-greats, first, which deal mostly with their
appearance. First, the graphic on the insert is a great idea....but
falls short due to the light artwork on a white background. I would
love to see these chips having a darker colored background on the insert and
keep the same graphics. Also, the inserts are often off-center, and
for some, this is a real issue. On these chips, I think it adds a
little character, but to each their own on how they feel about this.
The mold is custom to Two Face Poker, and while I initially wasn't
completely impressed, it actually grew on me quite a bit and now, as I sit
looking at them and typing this...I like the mold. Spots on all the
denoms are the same light grey color. OK OK...enough of the picky
stuff...lets get on to what these chips are all about, and that is FEEL.
Manufactured by Blue Chip, these suckers come in fairly hefty (for BC) at
just under 10 grams. The material has a nice chalkiness to it that I
really liked. Speaking of chalky, these chips beg to be handled a lot or
just oiled to bring out their colors. Sound is great...slightly higher
pitched when shuffling than a Paulson. Once broken in they shuffle
great...which is good because you'll be shuffling them like crazy due to
their nice feel. The entire chip face, including the insert, is nicely
textured. Well done here. Denoms have no currency on them, which is
big in my book. All in all...while my first impression of these chips
was not the greatest, they really grew on me the more I handled them and I
must say I'm hoping that Two Face will come out with another line of chips
using their mold with and some improved graphics. Nice job all around.
Deadwoods: These new TRKing chips showed up last week, and
boy...what a pleasure it has been to review them. While there are some
out there that do not like the slightly smaller diameter chip size of the
TRKings, there is no denying that in the catagories of looks and quality,
these are top-notch chips. Overall, the color combos can only be
described as outstanding. The center graphic is simple, clean and very
'old' Vegas like. With as many requests I get in the email asking for
denoms WITHOUT currency symbols, I have to say my only major dissapointment
on the chips are just that....they are "$" signs. Very limiting and a
little irritating for the international market. That said, once you
begin to handle these chips, it starts good, and they just continue to grow
on you. A little mineral oil on the outside edge of the chips will
help brighten them up...for those conserned. So...overall...another
great design using the TRKing chip and an absolute must have on your short
list for high-end chip shopping.
Palms: Arriving with a both a unique mold and spot design, the
Desert Palms show lots of promise right out of the box. The mold has
the words, "Desert Palms", written around the outside of the chip. The
spots vary greatly between denoms, which is really a nice thing to see these
days. Something that isn't found very often in the consumer market and
adds a lot to the casino look. A straightforward and good-lucking
graphic on the inlay is well done. The inlay is slick. Not my
favorite, but doesn't really take away from the chip to much. The
chips stack very well, as any 'real' clay should. Quality with my
samples was very good, with no spinners or major molding issues. There
is a crazy amount of denoms available with these chips, so check it out.
Look at the pictures!
Fan of Cards: The Fan of Cards
are identical to the Viva Las Vegas chip reviewed above. While I
personally like the graphic on these more, they still have the same slick
graphic on the majority of the face of the chip. However, if you like
the graphic, then don't be afraid to snag a set of these chips. Good
Island: Edge Spot Designs sent me about a dozen of his casino quality
clays. These chips are a custom design by David Fleming, owner of Edge
Spot. Right off the bat you realize that these chips are a direct competitor
to the James Bond chips. Same manufacturer, same mold, same feel,
weight...etc. That's not a bad thing in any way shape or form.
It boils down to personal taste, but these chips look *great*. Bold
colors with even bolder edge spots make these chips some of the best looking
out there. Some slight issues with bleeding and non-centered
logos...but not really enough to detract from the overall effect of the
chips. Every once in a while I get some samples in that make me want
to sell off a kidney to buy full set...and these fall in that category.
Something unique with these new chips is the mold. They live up to
their marketing hype on the vendor's web site by feeling 'used'.
That's not a bad thing. If you know about everyone oiling their clay
chips, and trying to 'soften' the edges to feel like real casino
chips....these InPlays come out of the box like they've been on a casino
floor for a month or so. Minus the dirt and grime, of course.
The edges are not 'round', but they are also not razor sharp like you find
on the current Paulsons. The mold itself has a sort of Hat and Cane-ish
looking design and one feature I REALLY liked was the texture on the insert.
FINALLY!!! Someone out there is listening. Depending on the
chip, the color-combos range from 'great' to '...hummmmm?...'. I'll
let you be the final judge on that from the photos. However, with your
basics....the $1.00, $5.00, $25 and $100, you have a solidly good looking
set of chips. The $1.00 is strikingly similar to my favorite
(affordable) Vegas casino chip....the Mandalay Bay $1.00. The minuses?
Well, these are Blue Chip chips, so they are slightly light in weight and
several of the inserts are off center. That said...I would be VERY
happy if a full set of these were stuffed into my X-Mas stocking.
(Hint to the wife....nudge...nudge....). Overall...these new chips go
on my highly-recommended list. You MUST order a sample set of these if
you're shopping for a new set of chips.
James Bond Clay Chips
(Blue Chip): The 'Casino De Isthmus' chips are stock Blue
Chip mold. A good chip...just not a lot of 'wow' factor with the
design I did like the fact that the entire surface of the chip
wasn't smooth like the Viva Las Vegas chips. Tried scratching the
center graphic and edge spots but didn't do any damage.
Note: See the picture for additional
James Bond Chips. I upped the LOOKS and FEEL slightly on these because of
the new chips sent.
james bonds are on the left
James Bond Clay Chips
(Paulson): I didn't really know what to expect as I opened
up the box containing my set of James Bond samples. The Paulson Home
sample set had been good...but not anything to blow you doors off.
I had also seen the artwork for these chips several months ago...so I new
what to expect as far as their appearance went. The minute I pulled
them out of the box and began handling them, one word kept going around in
my head over and over: "fantastic". The new Paulson James Bonds are,
to put it simply, the single best currently manufactured real Clay chip
available to the consumer as I write this (2/25/05). The bar has well
and truly been raised in the consumer chip market. First off...the weight on
these chips is very, very obviously the correct casino weight of roughly 10
grams. My scale gives me between 9.8 to 9.9 grams depending on the
chip. The chips have very sharp edges right out of shoot and are a bit
hard to shuffle at first, but break in nicely. Sound is exactly like a poker
chip is supposed to sound. The mold will continue to cause some controversy,
especially to those die-hard Paulson fans, but I can't find anything wrong
with it myself. The most 'controversial' thing about these chips is that the
mold and center graphic don't really match. In photographs, this looks
a bit odd. However, much to my own surprise, in person it's really not
a factor. The entire chip design goes together very well. I
can't recommend these chips enough.
Old Paulson James Bonds vs Current Paulson James Bonds.
Larry Spinosa was kind enough to loan me some of his old Paulson James Bonds to compare to the new versions out today. Here are the results.
Feel: Both chips are made out of the same stuff, but using a hugely different mold. The out-of-box edges on the new JB's are significantly sharper than their older cousins'. The older JB's have a single, and significant, advantage with feel - the center graphic inlay is textured where as the new JB's center inlay is slick-to-the-touch smooth. Winner: Old JB's
Quality: As far as chip manufacturing goes...the quality is identical between the two chips. You can argue all you want about design and looks...but if you want a TOP END chips, either of these are it. Winner: It's a tie.
Looks: Personally, I find the color combos of the new Paulsons much more appealing than the old versions. The old JB $1000 chip is borderline fugly in my book. If you're a mold-guy, then you're going to pick the old-style hand's down simply because the mold is correct for the center inlay. If you're not picky (like me) and like pretty colors....then you could lean towards the new JB's. This is the most subjective of the ratings, though...so look at the photos and decide for yourself. Winner: New JB because of the better colors.
So who's the overall winner?
Well, I'd have to say that the old JB's handily beats out the new
JB's in the Feel catagory...where as the new JB's just sort of squeak out of
win in the Looks catagory. So...overall winner would be old JB's by
Note: The bottom 3 photos were added in July of 2005. They are all of the original Paulson James Bond chips. Many thanks to Larry Spinosa for loaning the chips to PokerCHIPReviews.com. Also note that the colors are more correct on the previous two Old Paulson JB photos. The $1000 is not a bright yellow, but more of a tan color.
james bond movie 5.5mb .wmv
West: It's been a while
since a new set of ASM manufactured chips crossed my door. These Key
West chips do a great job with color combos and an insert that is simple,
good looking and very much what you expect to see at any top-of-the-line
casino. I have to admit, I'm particularly a fan of the $1.00 and $5000
chips. Additionally, the mold design on these is a classic, having
been used by the majority of Vegas casino's in the 50's. Not a bad
thing. In fact, scary cool in my book. One thing to note is that
if you buy these chips, you're going to want to oil them. The bottom
pic is a comparison of oiled chips (right) vs. non-oiled chips (left).
The difference is actually MUCH bigger in person. Downsides?
There is really only one, and that is the fragility of ASM chips in general.
I did the dreaded 7-foot-drop-to-a-tile-floor experiment again, and the blue
NCV chip shattered on the 3rd drop. If you're a long time reader of
the site, you'll know that BC and Paulson chips simply do not shatter/break
under the same duress. Now...that said, under NORMAL use, these chips
are going to last a LONG LONG time....so take my experiment with a grain of
salt. In the end, you've got great color combos, with a classic mold
and well designed insert. Not a bad combo. Well done.
King's Crown: This is a very nice feeling chip. It has a nicely done design around the edge and good texture when you handle it. My favorite of this vendor's clay chips. No edge spots. Bummer. These would make a good poker set.
1/29/05 - I
received a good sample directly from T.R. King. Great looking and
feeling chips. To see more pictures, click on the T.R. King link
king's crown is the blue chip on the right with a white center
All reviews are the opinions of John Tucker unless
otherwise stated, and can be changed at any time. Content
cannot be used without express written consent of John Tucker.