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My Customized ASM Horse Head Poker Chips

My customized chips

11-Red / 01-White 33-Green / 41-Yellow 61-Black / 81-Pink 73-Purple / 51-Orange

The colors shown in this image are accurate except the yellow is a bit brighter
than what is shown here and the orange is less red than what is shown

Here is what I wanted in a customized poker chip ... I wanted a traditional 'clay' chip with traditional colors. I wanted the colors to be somewhat bland, I did not want fluorescent colors. I wanted traditional edge spots, multi-colored if possible. I wanted my HPT logo and internet address printed on the label because I will be using these poker chips as business cards. I did not want denominations printed on the label. I was willing to pay $1-$2 per chip. I did not mind if I had to wait a long time for delivery of my chips. These basic requirements left me with about a half dozen options as to where I could purchase my poker chips. See Why I Chose ASM Poker Chips for the reasons why I chose these particular poker chips.

Poker chips Here are the available colors. I wanted to stick to the standard red (5), green (25), black (100), and purple (500) chip colors. I wanted edge spot colors that contrasted with my base color and were not used on any other chip. The red with white edge spots chip is a very common color combination. The black with pink edge spots is also a popular choice. I've always liked the green/yellow color combination and the orange was one of the few remaining colors that matched my purple chip. I did not use Dayglo colors for the edge spots. Dayglo colors are brighter and more fluorescent than the regular colors and therefore contrast better with the base color of the chip. My red/white and black/pink color combinations contrast nicely but the green/yellow and purple/orange might have been a little more pronounced. I intentionally wanted muted colors but I think many other people might prefer using Dayglo colors for some of their edge spots.

Poker chips I placed my order by phone on November 8, 2004. After giving my name and address I was asked how many chips of each color (and edge spot color) I wanted to purchase. I then emailed their graphic artist a gif file of my company logo. My logo and desired text was positioned on the label and I was emailed a website and password where I could see an image of the proof. It took about five emails back and forth with the artist to approve my artwork.  This entire process took only about two days, but my artwork was rather simple.

Poker chips on table I was quoted a delivery date of 12-16 weeks after my artwork had been approved. My chips were shipped to me by USPS Express Mail on January 24, 2005 and I received them by Canada Post on February 15th. Shipping to Canada was USD$70. Duties and taxes were CAD$194 on the USD$1,000 value. The chips came in a plain brown box and included a sheet of paper with basic cleaning instructions.

Poker chip cardboard box The chips were packed in 100-chip cardboard boxes. The cardboard box won't last long so you'll definitely need a more permanent case to hold your chips. I've never been partial to the common aluminum or wood cases that are sold with many chip sets - the handles bend and break and they just feel cheap overall. I prefer using the 100-chip acrylic racks or plastic cases for storing my poker chips. You can buy them for a couple dollars each.

Dusty chips vs. clean chips The chips are covered in a clay dust when first delivered. You can wipe the dust off the top and bottom of the chip with a damp cloth but the dust on the rolling edge does not come off nearly as easy. It will come off naturally as the chips are handled. The oil and sweat from players hands will eventually remove the clay dust and bring out the true colors of the chip. In this image, the stack of red chips on the left is new and the stack on the right has been handled.

Brass flakes chips have brass flakes mixed into the 'clay' to add weight to the chip. The flakes are not visible on the top and bottom of the chip but can be seen on the edges. Some people find that the flakes distract from the appearance of the chip, they look a little cloudy and give the edge an off-white tinge. I like the brass flakes and find that they add a little sparkle to the chip when stacked. Regular colors contain the brass flecks but Dayglo colors do not.

Defective chips It seems to be standard policy to send extra chips to compensate for any defective chips that may be in the shipment. I ordered 1,000 chips but was sent 1,100 chips. I was given an extra 10% of each chip color. I have found 13 defective chips - 11 chips with misaligned labels and 2 chips with discolorations (a blemish of a different color). I might eventually find a couple more defective chips but it is clear that I will have a couple dozen extra of each chip color. The policy of sending extra chips and then not having to worry about replacing defective chips is excellent!

Poker chip closeup The paper label is molded directly into the clay and is covered with PVC vinyl for protection. You can see a cross-hatch pattern stamped into the chip, including the inlay. Notice how there is no seam where the inlay meets the clay, it is flat and continuous. The texture and the recessed grooves and horse heads give the chip a nice feel. The cross-hatch pattern is not present on the rolling edge of the chip.

Blank Horse Head This image is one of my beloved horse heads after I popped the label off. This chip is one of my few defective chips - the label was not centered. You can see the recessed area where the label was pressed into the clay, it is misaligned towards the four o'clock position in this image. You can also see a tiny smudge of glue in the center of the chip although it's the actual insertion into the clay that holds down the label. Once you pry up a perimeter piece of the paper label, the entire label comes off in one piece with little effort. There is almost no chance of the label coming off unintentionally, you have to dig under it with a knife to pry it off.

Inside of a Horse Head chip I couldn't break a chip with my fingers but they are fairly easy to break with a pair of pliers. The color is solid through the chip, even through the edge spots. You can't dig into the chip with your fingernail but the corners will chip over the years. The chip will become scratched and marred but this only adds character to a clay chip. Scratches and chipping are a much bigger problem with ceramic chips where the under color may be exposed.

The chips weigh a touch over 9 grams each, just slightly lighter than a typical 9.5 gram casino chip. Sample diameters were 39.58, 39.52, and 39.51mm. Three chips stacked together were 10.10mm thick. A stack of 20 horse heads chips measured 66.25mm and a stack of 20 NexGen composites measured 67.50mm.

Here are the cleaning and storage instructions that came with my chips ...

Chips should be stored in a cool dry place away from direct sunlight. When traveling with chips, never leave them in a locked car on a hot day. Extreme heat can damage clay chips.

If your chips ever need cleaning, it should be done one chip at a time. Use a soft brush (eg: toothbrush) and a small amount of mild detergent mixed with water. With the brush, apply a small amount of the solution to the chip; then dry at once with a soft cloth.

Why I Chose Horse Head Chips

I wanted a traditional 'clay' poker chip with traditional colors. I wanted the colors to be somewhat bland, I did not want fluorescent colors. I wanted traditional edge spots, multi-colored if possible. I wanted my HPT logo and internet address printed on the label because I will be using these poker chips as business cards. I did not want denominations printed on the label. I was willing to pay $1-$2 per chip. I did not mind waiting for delivery of my chips. These basic requirements left me with about a half dozen options as to where I could order my chips ... or Kardwell Poker Chips

Both sell ASM Horse Head chips with customized labels but orders placed with Kardwell go through so I saw no benefit in ordering through Kardwell. offers four different molds for their customized label clay chips - the horse head mold, A(merican) mold, Cards & Dice mold, and the Roman mold (the Circle Square mold cannot be customized). I liked the horse head mold the best. It felt the most chiseled and looked the best. It had the best feel to the clay but I think this was an illusion and it was actually the numerous horse head indentations that gave the clay a more 'chalky' feel. The A mold was also nice but the clay seemed a bit slicker to me. I did not like the other two molds.

T.R. King Poker Chips

T.R. King make traditional poker chips and were a strong competitor to the ASM horse head chips. They have beautiful multi-color edge spots that put the horse heads to shame. The labels are impossible to peel off in any way. They have a great feel and sound. I had a tough time deciding whether to buy horse heads or T.R. King poker chips but I finally chose the horse heads because of their cheaper price and better looking mold. I also preferred the feel of the horse heads. The T.R. King Crown mold felt a little smaller and less chiseled than the horse head mold. The higher price of the T.R. King chips also played a small role in my purchase decision. Custom labeled T.R. King chips with multi-colored edge spots can cost $1.50 and higher. TR King is now closed.

The Poker Chip Company

The Poker Chip Company makes nice chips that are cheaper than the ASM chips but I don't think they are quite as nice. The mold is very plain but the chips have a nice rubbery feel to them. The plain chips with edge spots are a good deal for the money but I felt these chips were just slightly below the quality of the ASM or T.R. King chips.

Blue Chip Company

I like Blue Chip Company chips. They are a little light but other than that, they are very nice chips. They have very nice multi-colored edge spots and large,but often un-centered labels. They do have a bit of a hollow sound to them. It is possible to order customized poker chips directly from The Blue Chip Company in Las Vegas.

Chipco Poker Chip

If I did not want a traditional clay poker chip, I probably would have chosen a customized Chipco poker chip from The full-face graphics on these chips can be quite stunning. The cost per chip would have been about 25� more than the 95� I paid for my ASM chips. The wait for chips would have been a month or two.

Nevada Jacks Customizable Ceramic Poker Chip

Nevada Jacks can make a customized ceramic chip, very similar to a Chipco chip ... in 2 weeks! This was an attractive option except for the fact that I wanted a traditional 'clay' chip. The quick turnaround time for these chips is excellent and I like the chips themselves. They are a bit rougher in texture than a Chipco chip but I like the added texture. The cost is 95� per chip plus any artwork fees (if you do not provide your own artwork).

Customized Composite Poker Chip

I could have purchased a customized composite chip with hot stamping from numerous vendors. These chips are your typical 11.5 gram composite resin chip with a metal insert. The feel and sound of these chips does not compare with a 'clay' chip. The cost of these hot stamped chips can be about 50� each.

NexGen Poker Chip with Homemade Labels

I could have purchased blank chips and then printed my own labels to stick on. The most popular blank chip for this type of thing is the NexGen (or River Poker Tour) chips that can be found at 5 Star Deal and many other vendors. Sheets of 1" labels can be printed on a color laser printer and then affixed to the recessed center of each side of each chip. You then have a cheap 11.5 composite chip with a cheap paper label. Not a bad option for those on a budget, but no comparison to a 'clay' quality chip with a more permanent label. The cost of these types of blank chips is about 20� each.

Other Poker Chips

My need for a customized label excluded the following excellent poker chips: Nevada Jacks Clay, Buy Poker Chips Modern Clay, Vineyard Casino or any other Paulson chip. All these chips cost about $1 to $1.75 per chip. The perfect option would have been a Paulson chip with a customized label but that is simply not possible ... unless I order 100,000 chips!.

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