Chips, chips, chips

by Lou on December 6, 2006


Bad News: WSOP chips for sale on e-Bay
A friend of mine notified me this morning that World Series of Poker chips were being sold on e-Bay. A $25,000 tournament chips had already been purchased for $305 and a $10,000 chip was still for sale with a reserve price of $300.

How did these chips make it from the tournament room to e-Bay? Someone obviously nicked them. That much is obvious.

This is another example of human error coming into play where control of tournament chips is concerned. Smart chip technology is already available, and it can easily support inventory control and monitor chips in play.

Smart chips may well have prevented the introduction of an additional $2 million in chips during the main event of the 2006 WSOP, and would be a major deterrent to the pilfering of tournament chips, regardless of whether they are being stolen to introduce in a tournament at a later date, or simply to sell as a souvenir to collectors.

Poker’s premier event, the World Series of Poker, needs to take whatever steps are necessary to maintain its integrity, and buying smart chips to use in their events ought to be a priority.

Good News: Customize your own poker chips online
Speaking of chips, TheChipLab.com is an online company that sells customized poker chips to the home market, giving the poker enthusiast an option of owning chips produced by two of the largest casino manufacturers in the US.

Their web site allows customers to use software to custom design their own casino-quality poker chips, which sell for $280 for a set of 300 chips, and $469 for 500.

It’s all the brainchild of 22 year old Chase Schwatka, who enlisted Portland Trailblazer basketball player Dan Dickau, to help him tap into the growing number of poker players looking for unique chip sets to support home games.

The entire venture began as a school project. Schwatka met Eric Pozzo, chief operating officer and finance officer of CSI Digital in Sherwood, Ore at the University of Portland, during Pozzo’s tenure as the college’s entrepreneur in residence. Schwatka took TheChipLab concept from an academic exercise into the real world, and Pozzo jumped in as a major investor.

Buyers can go online and choose one of 17 chip templates and customize it by adding photos, artwork, designs and wording.

Sounds like a terrific product. Good luck to Chase Schwatka, Dan Dickau, and Eric Pozzo in their venture.

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