How Do Poker Players Play

A chip set for use in a poker game might be regarded simply as a utilitarian thing, but in many people’s eyes it’s a lot more than just a means for placing bets and keeping track of winnings. In addition to the different styles of chips already used in regular games of poker, there’s an entertaining sideline to these objects that involves special sets of chips designed for doing tricks.

These tricks are something like coin tricks done by magicians, except that now and then other poker accessories are used to add dimensions that are particular to poker alone. Many of the tricks even have their own names, such as the “3-Fly,” “Drifter,” or “Grandma’s Shawl,” for example. Some involve twirling a chip around the fingers, the same way magicians make quarters roll over and over around their knuckles. Others are tricks of shuffling and re-shuffling. The “Grandma’s Shawl” uses Chinese-style chips, which involves threading something through the holes in their centers, and then managing to interchange them with chips that don’t have holes.

Some of these tricks are so elaborate that expert players have written books on how to do them, for example the 2006 book, “Chip Tricks: Look Like A Poker Pro” by Ross Watson and Jen Teti. With the help of volumes like these, and with those texts, photos and internet articles more recently augmented by videos posted on the internet on sites like YouTube and Flickr, even the novice player can now begin to learn how to use their special chip set to do entertaining tricks.

Of course, some of the poker chip sets contain “gaffed” chips, or those that are slightly rigged in order to facilitate doing the tricks. But many tricks can be performed with ordinary chips as well. In fact, some instructors advise people to learn the tricks with the heavier clay poker chip sets, because after becoming proficient with those sorts of chips, they’ll be able to do tricks easily with any other type of lighter chip. So whether a player wants to do tricks with chips from a regular set, or would like to add the occasional gaffed chip set to their repertoire, these tricks are an entertaining extra feature that makes poker that much more fun.

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