When you watch a game of Poker, you’ll notice that the players all have stacks of casino chips with which to bet with. Even in real money online Poker, you’ll more than likely have virtual casino chips to use in betting.

They are one of the most iconic items that you will find in a casino, and it should come as no surprise that casino chips have a rich history. Here, we will take you back through time and tell you how the casino chip was introduced to the game and how it has developed since then.

The early beginnings

The first casino was the Riditto casino and it was opened in Venice back in the 17th century as the first legal gambling venue, although gamblers would use cash for nearly 200 years when playing casino games. The Gold Rush in the American West saw prospectors begin to use odd bits of silver and gold as replacements for cash, but with this came more problems. As Poker became increasingly popular and widespread in gambling halls and saloons, paying out winnings became more confusing. It was at this point that the gambling establishments began to use pieces of bone or ivory as tokens as a more uniform item to bet with, making it easier to calculate winnings.

Unfortunately, due to the use of more common materials like bone and ivory, problems began to arise in the gambling establishments as it was easy for people to create forgeries. In order to prevent people from making replicas, the chips that were used started to become branded, which allowed them to be distinguished from the fakes.

The industrial transformation

It was in the 1880s that a whole new industry was born as manufacturers began to produce the standardised circular casino chip that is similar to today’s version. The early versions were clay composite chips that were compressed with shellac, chalk or sand and were used up until the 1930s. Eventually colours were incorporated into the chips to allow for different values to be easily distinguished from one another, making it easier to understand how much the players are betting on each round.

The introduction of technology

Since then casino chips have become more modern, with the composition being made of many different materials, usually compressed with clay. As casinos have become more prominent and better branded, as have the casino chips, with each casino usually having their logo on their chips. The chips have also become more technologically advanced as they are likely to contain something that allows the casino to identify them as one of theirs. Such identification includes the use of microchips and serial numbers and this has made them far harder to replicate, so much so that they are harder to forge than official currencies.

Although most commonly associated with games of Poker, casino chips can also be used in casinos for games like Blackjack and Roulette. The colour denominations for the different chips helps the croupier to quickly work out how much has been bet and how much needs to be paid out.