One of the most important elements in the world of poker are the chips. It is thanks to them that we can put, and in the end they are the ones who represent your true value at the table. Without tokens, it would be impossible to follow a tournament, both live and on the Internet. Whether digital or physical, tokens are essential to understanding the game during television broadcasts, even if we don’t realize it. Only those who have ever organized a small game with friends know what it’s like to have to distribute the chips evenly among all players. And it is a very meticulous task, which is of particular importance during official poker tournaments.
How do casinos and large circuits organize themselves to manage this task? It is obviously an extremely sensitive stage, especially in the championships which will see the clashes spread over several days. The tokens must remain maintained throughout the tournament and therefore remain operational in the days following the initial distribution, and this requires the participation of many players. In the first line is the gaming room manager, and in second are the croupiers, although these were always trained and recruited by the director himself. They will be the ones who have the final say regarding the number of chips distributed to each player.
One of the dealer’s most daunting tasks is to tally up the number of chips each player has at the end of each tournament day. Even though now in most face-to-face tournaments, players are given a bag, called the rack, in which they can bury all their chips while writing their name on the bag to avoid any type of confusion. Of course, the possibility of an error or even of a cheat always exists, and some malicious players could take advantage of the relaxation at the end of the day to try to steal a few rolls. But the final decisions in the face of any such controversy will always rest with the dealers.
They are also the ones who can decide on any change of tables. Because the unification of several tables in one is a frequent event in live tournaments. As players are eliminated, it is necessary to group the remaining participants on new tables, to avoid ending up with tables with only 3 or 4 players. But this implies the transfer of all the equipment of a player from one fight to another in the room, and of course his tokens included. This is a situation which has however been thought out upstream and which contains several clear rules, to avoid problems as mentioned above.
The first of these is that players cannot at any time hide their chips with their hands or body, in order to always leave them visible to staff and their opponents. The second is that the higher value chips should always be placed towards the center of the table, so that the rest of the players can allow their opponents’ stacks to play accordingly. The third is that in table changes chips should always be transferred using the rack. If this system is absent, the tokens could be carried by hand, provided they are always visible to others. Tokens slipped into pockets or folds of clothing will generally be removed.
Faced with all these pitfalls, it is clear that online poker has an important advantage here, since the systems for changing tables and transferring chips are done automatically. In cash games, the player will be given the number of tokens corresponding to the amount that the Internet user wished to bet. In Sit & Go tournaments or other similar variants where everyone starts with the same number of tokens, c is even simpler. These are generally throws of four amounts (5€, 25€, 50€ and 100€ for example) and of four different colors (red, blue, yellow and purple for example). You can check our software preferences for more information on this.
Another important thing about poker chip distribution is attached to the concept of chip race. In large tournaments where the amount of blinds increases gradually, there comes a time when smaller tokens must be removed because their use no longer makes sense.
Let’s imagine an example where the level of the blinds is at 10€/20€. In such a case, the use of €5 tokens makes sense, because two are enough to reach the small blind. Of course, if time passes and we get to blinds of €250/€500, the €5 chips will eventually be removed as they will become more of an embarrassment to the players than others have chosen.
When withdrawing the tokens, you obviously have to replace them with other tokens of higher value. But this is not always easy to do, as not all players will have an exact stack that will be easily matched. This is when the principle of chip race comes into play. The chip race is a standard that if a player has chips to withdraw with a value greater than half the value of the lowest new chip, then they will receive a chip of the latter value. This notion will be more understandable with an example.
The €5 chips are removed from a tournament, and the €25 chips are now the lowest value. If a player has three €5 chips left, he will receive a €25 chip in exchange, and will therefore be offered a bonus of €10. But if he only has two €5 chips left, then he will lose them because their sum does not make it possible to reach half of €25.
However, it is normal for the lower value tokens to be more numerous than those higher at the start of a Texas Hold’em tournament, because they are the ones who can split bets with the greatest ease.