Publish date:
Updated on

How to Count Poker Chips

Learn how to count poker chips from poker champion Nick "Nicky Numbers" Brancato in this Howcast video.

Transcript

Hey, I'm Nicky Numbers, professional poker player and today I'm going to show you how to count your chips and more importantly how not to count your chips. So let's say you've just won a nice pile of chips here.

The first thing you want to do is sort your chips by color. Start with the biggest chips first, because those are the most valuable and the one that you would suffer from losing the most. So we're going to say black chips are the highest, followed by green, followed by red, followed by white. So I'm starting with the biggest chips to protect them. Now every once in a while as you're stacking them you're going to see a dirty stack here. A dirty stack is when a chip is mixed in. After you're done stacking your chips you always want to look them up and down and make sure you don't have any mixed in, because it can result in you betting or calling or raising the wrong amount. So once you have your chips all sorted and stacked, what you want to do is break them off into stacks of five. So I take five chips, and then start sizing them up next to each other. I want to see how many stacks of five I can get. Whenever you get to four stacks of five, that's a stack of 20, and that's one full stack.

Then what you want to do is size the other chips against it. So I can see that I have one full stack of black, one full stack of green, but I don't know how many white I have, I don't know how many red I have, and I don't know how many extra I have. So I'm going to take these green and cut them into stacks of ten. So now I have a stack of ten green, and I can either put that on top or on the side. Then I have one extra green which I'm going to keep in excess. Some people, they don't keep stacks of five or ten.

They just put them all as excess here. I like to keep stacks of ten because it makes me always know how many chips I have in front of me. Now I can see I have a stack of ten white, and I do not have enough red, so I'll throw those on top and do something like this. Now what you don't want to do when you're stacking chips is start counting them one by one. And you often see people do this. And then even when they have all their chips stacked and counted and neatly arranged, you see them do things like flip through them, like they're wondering how many black chips they have and they're like... That takes forever, and it makes you look like you have no idea what you're doing at the poker table, so it makes you a target. Learning to stack your chips in fives, and then sizing up against it is the best technique. Another thing you don't want to do at the table is combine two stacks and mix them. So you do not want to have a stack of some green and some black. This is often called barber poleing or peacocking, and in many situations like tournaments it's absolutely not allowed.

It's also very frowned-upon, even in cash games or any other setting where it might not be heavily regulated, because you're deliberately trying to keep your opponent from knowing how many chips you have. The other thing you want to do is make sure any large denomination chips you have can be clearly seen by everybody at the table. If you get enough chips and you get five stacks of 20, then you'll have a full rack. An entire rack is a hundred chips, and if you have a rack of that denomination, when you're playing poker they have plastic racks in poker rooms where you can just fill all your chips in there. So based on how many chips you have you can know how many racks you'll need, and you'll also know what someone's talking about when they say, "oh, I won a rack".

Follow these techniques and you'll learn to not give yourself away as an amateur at the table, because if you stack your chips poorly everybody is going to know that you're new at the game.

Popular Categories